May 12 - An innovative ship-to-ship vehicle transfer system developed from combined Cargotec resources successfully completed US Navy sea trials earlier this year.

Designed to transfer military vehicles between ships at sea to support US Army and Marine Corps land forces as part of the US Navy's 'Sea Base' strategy, Cargotec's innovative 'test article vehicle transfer system' (TAVTS) has now successfully completed sea trials. 

These were carried out by the US Navy's Strategic and Theatre Sealift Program Office (PMS 385) which is part of Program Executive Office Ships (PEO Ships). "This landmark capability will be a significant enhancement for future sea-basing logistics operations," says Captain George M Sutton, program manager for PMS 385.

TAVTS is part of a risk-reduction effort by the US Department of Defence Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future) when transferring military vehicles between ships at sea. The aim of the tests and the programme is to provide the US military with the capability for large-scale logistics movements from sea to shore without dependency on foreign ports.

"We have a long history of deliveries to PEO Ships, and this latest system is a good example of the innovative technological solutions that Cargotec can offer by drawing on the diverse range of expertise within the company," says Jeffrey Siegel, regional sales manager. "TAVTS resulted from close co-operation between our ramp technology experts and our offshore specialists, who contributed in-depth knowledge of heave-compensation technologies."

During the trials, the US Navy demonstrated the transfer of vehicles between the surrogate 'mobile landing platform' (MLP) Mighty Servant 3 and the 'large medium-speed ro-ro' (LMSR) ship, USNS Soderman. The test demonstrated a self-deploying ramp system installed on the MLP and a new self-deploying sideport platform installed on the LMSR vessel. Deployment and retrieval of the ramp is controllable by one person. In case of failure, the system can safely continue to support vertical and horizontal design loads and allow emergency ship separation while carrying a vehicle weighing up to 72.5 tonnes anywhere along the length of the ramp.

Cargotec conducted rigorous harbour trials in Norway in November 2009, and PEO Ships' full-scale testing conducted was successfully completed in February this year. All test procedures were performed using the graduated 'crawl, walk, run' approach: starting with demonstrations alongside and at anchor, progressing to low sea state conditions in open water, and finishing with increasing sea states in open water.

Personnel and vehicles were successfully transferred between the ships in high Sea State 3 and low Sea State 4 during several days of testing in the Gulf of Mexico. Vehicles transferred included high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs), HMMWVs with trailers, medium tactical vehicle replacements, logistics vehicle system wreckers, amphibious assault vehicles, M88 tank recovery vehicles, and M1A1 main battle tanks.