New ship for the US Navy

From USNI news:

The first two ships of the class, Expeditionary Transfer Docks (ESDs), can ballast down and submerge the empty middle of the hull, allowing surface connectors such as the landing craft air cushion (LCAC) to come aboard and bring goods from larger supply ships at sea onto the shore or to amphibious ships. The remaining ships in the class, the ESBs, do not ballast down but rather have a large mission bay where unmanned surface and undersea vehicles can be launched into the water, and a flight deck for helicopters, tiltrotor aircraft and drones.

That is how the Ferncarrier/American Comorent and abt a dozen other HLVs were converted, only that they started with existing tankers, not just design drawings.

Since they don’t need all that ballast capacity to just dip one side a little, what is the rest of the below deck space used for, if anything??

You don’t have the need to know. :slightly_smiling_face:

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This is a marvelous war ship. It can carry 3 LCACs on the main deck below the upper, open deck and cargo/helicopters on the upper, open deck…
To load the LCACs you have to submerge the ship, so the main deck is below water. For this plenty ballast is needed.
To load/off load anything on the upper, open deck you have to go to a port with a special ramp on shore or use ship to ship transfer with a special ship. Then the sloping ramp on the upper, open deck is lifted up to connect with the shore ramp/special ship and voilà you can drive on and off the upper, open deck. Fantastic. This is 1960’s US roro concept.
When the USSR collapsed 1991 I had the opportunity to inspect USSR roro war ships that could carry plenty armored tanks/vehicles on two/three decks. The external ramp was fitted on the ship and could drop down on shore or a jetty. There were internal, fixed ramps. Small beam LCACs could also be carried. Reason for my visit was to see, if the ship could be be used for normal trading. Answer was no. It was designed for a USSR attack on W. Europe with NATO sleeping at the switches.

Your statement indicates you have not read the links or information posted above, or you are confused about the two types of ships we are discussing. The black hulled ships are the the ESD, they submerge just enough to allow the LCAC to berth and load cargo and fuel. The whole idea of the MLP/ESD ship is to be able to act as a Mobile Landing Platform(at sea) essentially a floating staging area for The USMC to stage a amphibious assault on a beach WITHOUT a developed port. They were never intended to be used as a cargo vessel, other thank bulk liquids. They are just one element of the USMC Maritime Preposition Force that can put Marines and their equipment ashore in various ways. These ships are Government owned and contract operated by US Shipping Companies and crewed by US mariners from various unions.

The grey hull ships are ESD’s, Government owned, and operated by Military Sealift Command. They do not submerge. The mission of these ships is completely different from the black hull ships. They are NOT a cargo vessel. They have a specific mission and it does not involve ro-ro, lo-lo LCAC or ANY OTHER CARGO to be loaded or discharged in a port. The flight deck is a flight deck, not a cargo deck.


OK, the grey hull ship with a white 5 on the bow is an ESD owned by MSC that does not submerge!?!? It has only a big flight deck for helicopters to land on aft of a secret deck house up front. Brilliant. The specific mission of the ship is secret for national security reasons.

The forward house is where the military live. The civilians live in the aft house. What happens in the forward house stays in the forward house.


There are no windows in the forward house where the military live and work. Don’t they need windows? And no extra LSA for the military is seen. Aha, when the ship sinks they evacuate by helicopters! Fantastic!

Black Ops in more ways than one…

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OK, the USNS Miguel Keith is basically a tanker designed with extra high fore castle and poop, so it can submerge (and float on the fore castle and poop) to carry heavy cargo on the main deck. Old stuff. But USN doesn’t need such capabilities. Instead a fixed, extra deck is installed on the main deck between the forecastle and poop for helicopters to land on, we are told… What the space below this extra, top deck and the main deck below is used for is not known. And then there is a new, two levels deck house aft of the fore castle.for ‘military use’ on the new top deck. For ‘Black Ops’! LOL! Give me a break! The whole ship is nonsense! No use!

No. The Miguel Keith does not submerge.

We are told? How about looking up the Keith’s sister ship, the Puller, and you’ll find pictures of helicopters operating off of that deck.

I guess it’s really too much work for you to use Google? The main deck is for storage of supplies, stores, whatever. There’s a crane on the aft stbd corner of the helo deck for raising stuff up for sling loading ashore. Or they can bring another ship alongside and crane stuff on/off depending on the situation.

Yeah…that’s called a “Hangar.” Helicopter goes in the middle taller part with rotors folded, the outboard rooms are used for supporting helo ops.


Yup, it’s nonsense… just like space exploration…

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Besides the bridge and flight tower there are almost no windows on destroyers, amphibs or carriers.

Liferafts. Warships don’t have lifeboats.


When I was in the JOA the ability to launch and recover boats, conduct helo ops, launch and recover UAV’s, provide medical facilities to SOF, refuel, resupply and act as a staging base was pretty useful for SOCOM. There is other stuff too. If you can remove your political views and personal feelings about the US military and assess the capability of this new vessel you would see it is pretty useful for the Mission it conducts.

I am happy to discuss the merits of these vessels with you, but if you are just going to ignore the information others have posted and ask the same questions over and over again I would rather converse with an Iranian patrol vessel that keeps asking my call sign over and over and over…:slightly_smiling_face:


The USNS Miguel Keith has in fact two lifeboats under davits aft to be used by the civilian, i.e. non military crew of the MSC. It seems that this crew is responsible for navigation of the ship from A to B.
The USNS Miguel Keith carries cargo of a secret nature on the main deck. The cargo is protected from rain by a big helicopter platform above. A little crane is used to move the cargo.
The helicopter platform has also a hangar for the choppers and their pilots.
And that’s it. What a stupid ship!

I’m kind of curious to see how worked up you’d get over the MV Ocean Trader but I’m done spoon feeding you, you’ll have to look that one up on your own.

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As she is still a USNS (non-warship) she needs lifeboats. Once she commissions to USS I’d imagine the lifeboats are optional.

Good bet.

It’s not the tool, it’s how it’s used. (At least that what I tell the old lady.)

It is not my type of cruise ship. Jet skis for the troops. Ridiculous!

This is roro Ocean Trader. It has a 50 P free fall lifeboat aft. If the enemy hits it, the 200 marines have to jump into the water and swim … It can only carry 12 passengers!!!
This roro cargo ship is loaded via an aft ramp dropped on a quay, i.e. it needs a port/quay, when anchors are dropped fwd. I operate similar ships myself.

I was on the Kieth as a cadet over this past winter and it does, in fact, submerge.