Tag Archives: F470

Marines to get upto 904 new CRRCs, which is way more than they ‘should’ need

From DOD: 

Wing Inflatables Inc., Arcata, California, is awarded a $31,921,100 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the purchase of up to a maximum 904 Enhanced – Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Craft. Work will be performed in Arcata, California, and is expected to be complete by August 2026. Fiscal 2019 and 2022 procurement (Marine Corps) contract funds in the amount of $3,126,894 will be obligated on the first delivery order immediately following contract award and funds will expire the end of the fiscal 2022 and 2023, respectively. This contract was competitively procured via the System for Award Management website, with three proposals received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-21-D-1801).

Wing’s five-chamber P4.7 series inflatable runs 15′ 5″-feet long, has a 6′ 5″-foot beam, offers 38.32ft² of usable deck space on a 12×3-foot deck. Empty weight is 180-pounds not counting the 274-pound rollup hard deck insert and can accommodate a 65hp outboard and 10 passengers/2,768-pounds of payload. The whole thing folds up into a 27″x29″x56″ package, or roughly the size of a curbside garbage can.

Each of the 7 Marine Expeditionary Units (a battalion landing team with a bunch of stuff bolted onto it and a harrier/helicopter airwing for support) has a bunch of different ways to get to the beach. These include of course the choppers, navy landing craft (LCU, LCAC, etc), and the Marines own amtrac swimming APCs. However, each one of these MAUs also has 18 of these little rubber zodiac-style boats, designated Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC, or “Crick”).

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2013) Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) depart from the stern gate of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) in a combat rubber raiding craft (CRRC). Boxer is underway as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, comprised of Boxer, the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian P. Biller/Released)

A little larger than a sectional couch and powered by an outboard (or two) these can motor out from a task force still some 20 miles out at sea and approach an enemy-held beach, port, or vessel with very little footprint. They are hard to spot by eyeball, radar, or other means, especially in a light chop state. It’s a wet ride for the Marines aboard and anyone who has ever ridden one through the surf doesn’t look forward to doing it a second time– especially on a contested beach.

For landings, a company of the battalion landing team is designated the “Boat Company” and they spend a couple weeks figuring these boats out. This includes sending as many as 36 of its force before deployment through a four-week coxswains school where they learn basic sea-nav, and what not to do with these temperamental crafts. Meanwhile, other members of the Boat Coy head off to scout swimmer school where they learn the finer points of exiting a rubber raft on fins and doing lite frogman shit.

In the end, Cricks allow a 144-man company to be landed on a strip of beach or empty pier in three, six-boat waves. The former was done under OOTW conditions by Marines in Somalia in 1992.

Air transportable, Cricks can be slid out the rear ramp of MV-22s or parachuted from cargo planes such as the C-130 (and Navy C-2 CODs), can be launched from surface vessels such ranging from Amphibious assault ships (shown) or smaller craft like patrol boats, LCS and frigates. They can also be (and are) carried up from submerged submarines by divers for inflation on the surface.

The thing is, if you do the basic math on 7 MEU boat companies x 18 E-CRRCs, you get just 126 boats. Even if you double that amount to cover training and attrition, then add some for SEAL ops from submarines and for the use of Force Recon/Raider units, you still have like ~500 extra small boats.

That’s an interesting thing to ponder. 

I’d like to mention that a few months back, I theorized that the Marines might use Cricks to displace human assets from anti-ship missile batteries after they have fired their missiles from isolated atolls before the Chinese show up in force. Fire off their NSSMs, drop some WP grenades on their trucks, hop in the inflatables, and meet with a passing SSN or EPF just past the 15-fathom curve. May be easier to accomplish and have less of a footprint than an MV-22 pickup. 

Rig for divers

COMSUBPAC recently released several images of things you don’t usually see: Dry Deck Shelter and submerged diver operations on a Virginia-class hunter-killer submarine.

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 18, 2021) — The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) conducts operations off the coast of Oahu, Hawai’i. U.S. military forces are present and active in and around the Pacific in support of allies and partners and a free and open Indo-Pacific for more than 75 years. (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Perlman/Released)

The Navy only has about a half-dozen of the 38-foot DDSs (2-3 in each of the SDV Teams), which were put into service in the 1980s to replace the capability lost when the Pentagon scrapped the old transport submarines (see USS Perch) of the Vietnam-era. Boats such as Perch could put ashore platoon-sized elements of Marines or UDTs/SEALs via small boats and do so in relatively (for the blue water Navy) shallow water.

While usually older boats operate DDSs– for instance converted Tridents turned into SSGNs– 10 of Virginias are believed equipped to operate DDSs, which can support a SEAL platoon (16 operators) for dive or small boat (CRRC) operations.

Previous to these images, some of the last good quality released images of DDS shelters in use on DVIDS date to earlier this year and, beyond that to 2008, both on converted SSGNs.

Ohio CRRCs

The Navy has recently released a sizzle reel and some additional images of the exercise earlier this month of Force Recon Marines and their combat rubber raiding craft (CRRCs) on the converted boomer USS Ohio (SSGN 726) off Okinawa. 

(U.S. Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Audrey M. C. Rampton)

Notably, there are some rare detailed shots of Ohio’s lockout chamber, converted Trident SLBM tubes, being used to store the CRRCs and their outboards.

 

Sub-Marine ops, Back In style

The Marines have been rubber boating around, a skill they are used to as each Battalion Landing Team for years has typically included a designated “Boat Company,” trained to run about on 15-foot Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC, or “Crick”).

What is interesting about this is that they recently did so in conjunction with a converted boomer in the Philippine Sea, embarking on some expeditionary training. The standard Dry Deck Shelters used by the Navy’s submarines are each able to carry an SDV minisub for use by SEALs– or four CRRCs, enough to carry a platoon-size Marine maritime raid force.

PHILIPPINE SEA (Feb. 2, 2021) The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726), deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, rendezvous with a combat rubber raiding craft, attached to U.S. Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance Company, III Marine Expedition Force (MEF), for an integration exercise off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. The exercise was part of ongoing III MEF-U.S. 7th Fleet efforts to provide flexible, forward-postured, and quick response-options to regional commanders. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Audrey M. C. Rampton)

“This training demonstrates the ability of Force Reconnaissance Marines in III MEF to operate with strategic U.S. Navy assets,” said III MEF Force Reconnaissance Company Commanding Officer Maj. Daniel Romans. “As the stand-in force in the first island chain, it is critical that Force Reconnaissance Marines are capable of being employed across a myriad of U.S. Navy platforms in order to enhance the lethality of the fleet in the littoral environment. Reconnaissance Marines have a proud history of working with submarines and we look forward to sustaining these relationships in the future.”

It is not a dramatically new concept.

On 17 August 1942, just nine months after Pearl Harbor, 211 Marines of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion embarked aboard the submarines USS Argonaut and Nautilus crept ashore at Makin Island and did what the Raiders were meant to do– hit hard in the most unexpected area they could find and jack up a small Japanese garrison.

Then of course, throughout the 1950s and 60s, Marines on submarines were a regular sight…

Reconnaissance scouts of the 1st Provisional Marine Air-Ground Task Force load into a rubber boat from Greenfish, a submarine of the Pacific fleet as they leave on a night mission against “enemy” installations on the island of Maui. The training afforded the Marines of the Task Force, which is based at the Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, is the most versatile offered to Marines anywhere October 7, 1954. Note the classic WWII “duck hunter” camo which had by 1954 been out of use for almost a decade except for special operations units. (Sgt D.E. Reyher DEFENSE DEPT PHOTO (MARINE CORPS) A290040.)

Warship Wednesday Jan 29, 2020: The Lion of Goa

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020: The Lion of Goa


Here we see the Aviso de 1ª Classe NRP Afonso de Albuquerque (F470) of the Marinha Portuguesa in the 1950s. A British-built sloop intended for colonial service, her crew made a heroic, if often forgotten, last stand in 1961.

Looking to refresh their navy to provide some new ships to patrol the Portuese empire, which included Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau in Africa as well as the Goa, Daman, Diu, and Timor enclaves in India and Macau in China, Lisbon contracted for a four-pack of avisos, two first-class and two second-class, from the British shipbuilding firm of Hawthorn Leslie, Tyne.

The second class ships– Goncalaves Zarco and Goncalo Velho— were 1,400-ton vessels mounting a trio of 4.7-inch guns.

The two first-class units, our own Afonso de Albuquerque and her sister Bartolomeu Dias (F471) were larger, at about 2,400-tons full load, and carried a quartet of 4.7-inch Vickers DP guns. Capable of making 21 knots, a speed they surpassed in trails, they could voyage 8,000nm at 10-knots. Ironically, while they would have been third or fourth-tier warships in virtually any other European navy of the day, they were the largest and most formidable Portuesese surface combatants of the 1930s.

Afonso de Albuquerque was named after the famous Duke of Goa, a 16th Century Portuguese admiral and governor of India who grew the country’s empire. Her sister, Bartolomeu Dias, is named after a famous Portuguese explorer surpassed only by the great navigator, Vasco De Gama.

NRP Bartolomeu Dias (F471)

Completed in 1935, Afonso de Albuquerque soon got into trouble as her green crew revolted in 1936 while in Lisbon harbor. The revolt didn’t work out too well for the ship who was damaged by shore batteries and was grounded.

Portuguese warship Afonso de Albuquerque entering Tagus River, in Portugal. via Gazeta dos Caminhos de Ferro magazine No. 1135, of the 1st April 1935

Repaired and sent on her way, she spent her early career in African waters. There, while operating from Mozambique in November 1942, she responded to the sinking British troopship RMS Nova Scotia (6,700t)— packed with Italian internees– off the coast of South Africa, torpedoed by U-177. Alerted by the Kreigsmarine through diplomatic channels in Berlin and Lisbon, the Portuguese sloop sailed to the area but was only able to rescue 194 of the 1,052 people aboard.

N.R.P.Afonso-de-Albuquerque-com-as-assinaturas-dos-óficiais-da-1.º-guarnição-CX.-301

Continuing her neutrality patrol work, Afonso de Albuquerque was part of the convoy to liberate East Timor from Japanese occupation in September 1945.

Fast forward to 1961, and tensions between Nehru’s India and the Portuguese enclave at Goa, Daman, and Diu on the Indian subcontinent were boiling over. Whereas the Indian fleet contained an aircraft carrier, Vikrant (ex-Hercules), and two cruisers– Delhi (ex-Achilles) and Mysore (ex-Nigeria), as well as numerous modern destroyers, submarines, and frigates, the Portuguese only had four aging 1930s-era avisos in the area: Afonso de Albuquerque, Bartholomeu Bias, Gonsalves Zarco, and Joao de Lisbon (1,200t, 2×4.7-inch) along with a handful of even lighter gunboats.

However, in early December, Bartholomeu Bias, Gonsalves Zarco, and Joao de Lisbon withdrew to Africa, leaving Afonso de Albuquerque as the only significant Portuguese naval asset in Goa.

On the morning of 18 December 1961, she spied two brand-new Indian warships, the Leopard/Type 41-class frigates INS Beas (F37) and INS Betwa (F38), rapidly approaching Goa. Each of the Indian frigates carried two twin 4.5-inch Mark 6 rapid-fire guns.

The opening salvos were fired by the Indians at around 1200, who were soon plastering Afonso de Albuquerque with a combination of air-burst and HE rounds at a range of 7,500 yards. The Portuguese sloop, outgunned and in a terrible tactical situation, returned fire and tried to sortie out to engage her twin opponents.

Within 20 minutes, Afonso de Albuquerque was in bad shape and made for the shallows where she could beach and allow her crew to evacuate to shore. By 1410, the ship was a wreck and her crew ceased firing, in all letting some 400 shells fly at the Indian task force.

The Portuguese losses were negligible, with radioman Rosário da Piedade killed, commander CMG Cunha Aragão seriously wounded and 50 others lightly wounded. To this day, the Portuguese Navy contends they made several hits on their Indian opponents and inflicted several casualties, although the New Dehli denies this.

The next day, the Indian military took control of Goa, and CMG Aragão’s crew surrendered ashore to invading forces. In all, by sunset of 19 December, the 45,000-strong Indian force had 4,668 Portuguese soldiers and sailors in custody.

Indian officers inspect Afonso

Portuguese POWs at the Indian Prison camp at Vasco de Gama, Goa, December 1961.

Afonso remained grounded at the beach near Dona Paula for a year when she was towed to Bombay and her hulk subsequently renamed Saravastri by Indians, although she was never put in service. Various items and relics from her fill Indian museums while the bulk of the ship was sold as scrap in 1963.

Afonso de Albuquerque flag in Indian Naval museum

As for her sister, Bartolomeu Dias, she was converted to depot ship and renamed São Cristovão in 1967 then later broken up.

The Bay-class frigate HMS Dalrymple (K427), sold to Portugal in 1966, became NRP Afonso de Albuquerque (A526) and remained in service until 1983.

Specs:


Displacement:
1,811 tons standard,
2,100 tons normal load,
2,435 tons full load
Length: 328 ft 1 in
Beam: 44 ft 3 in
Draught: 12 ft 6 in
Propulsion: 2 Parsons geared turbines; 4 Yarrow 3-drum boilers, 8,000 shp
Oil fuel: 600 tons
Speed: 21 knots as designed, 23 on trials
Range: 8,000 mi at 10 knots
Complement: 189 to 229
Armament:
4 × 1 – 4.7″/50 Vickers-Armstrong Mk G
2 × 3″/50 Mk 2 Vickers-Armstrong guns
8 × 20mm/70 Oerlikon Mk II anti-aircraft guns (installed 1944)
4 × throwers for depth charges
Fitted to carry 40 mines
Aircraft carried: Fitted for one seaplane (Fairey III)

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Got a CRRC in your neck?

140910-N-UD469-180 PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 10, 2014) Marines, assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), depart the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) in combat rubber raiding crafts during amphibious operations. Germantown is part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting joint forces exercises in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray/Released) -Click to big up-

140910-N-UD469-180
PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 10, 2014) Marines, assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), depart the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) in combat rubber raiding crafts during amphibious operations. Germantown is part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting joint forces exercises in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray/Released) -Click to big up-

Each of the 7 Marine Expeditionary Units (a battalion landing team with a bunch of stuff bolted onto it and a harrier/helicopter airwing for support) has a bunch of different ways to get to the beach. These include of course the choppers, navy landing craft (LCU, LCAC, etc), and the Marines own amtrac swimming APCs. However, each one of these MAUs also has 18 of these little rubber zodiac-style boats, designated Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC, or ‘Crick’). Just 15.5-feet long and powered by an outboard (or two) these can motor out from a task force still some 20 miles out at sea and approach an enemy-held beach, port, or vessel with a very little footprint. They are hard to spot by eyeball, radar, or other means, especially in a light chop state. It’s a wet ride for the Marines aboard and anyone who has ever ridden one through the surf doesn’t look forward to doing it a second time– especially on a contested beach.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2013) Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) depart from the stern gate of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) in a combat rubber raiding craft (CRRC). Boxer is underway as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, comprised of Boxer, the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian P. Biller/Released) -click to big up-

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2013) Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) depart from the stern gate of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) in a combat rubber raiding craft (CRRC).U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian P. Biller/Released) -click to big up-

For landings, a company of the battalion landing team is designated the “Boat Company” and they spend a couple weeks figuring these boats out. This includes sending as many as 36 of its force before deployment through a four-week coxswains school where they learn seanav, and what not to do with these temperamental craft and others to scout swimmer school where they learn the finer points of exiting a rubber raft on fins and doing frogman shit.

In the end, Cricks allow a 144-man company to be landed on a strip of beach or empty pier in three, six-boat waves. The former was done under OOTW conditions by Marines in Somalia in 1992.

Air transportable, Cricks can be slid out the rear ramp of larger (think CH-46 and bigger) helicopters or parachuted from cargo planes such as the C-130 (and Navy C-2 CODs), can be launched from surface vessels such ranging from Amphibious assault ships (shown) or smaller craft like patrol boats, LCS and frigates. They can also be (and are) carried up from submerged submarines by divers for inflation on the surface.