A typical dockside (or pierside) replenishment operation is illustrated in figure 2-58. The major handling equipments and events have already been described. (See figs. 2-55 and 2-56, for example). Any changes or variations to the basic steps in figure 2-58 are minor. For instance, missiles may arrive on the pier in a boxcar instead of on a flatcar. Sometimes a flatbed truck is used,
Quite often during dockside replenishment, the receiving ship is required to supply personnel to assist the pier crew. As a Gunner's Mate, you may get this assignment. You'll actually get the chance to work with the different types of handling equipments we've discussed.
A lighter is a specially constructed barge designed to carry ammunition. A typical lighter replenishment is seen in figure 2-59. The receiving ship in the figure is a combatant. However, lighter replenishment is also performed with AE-type ships.
The handling operations that take place on a lighter are the same as on a pier or AE-type ship. These operations include canning/decanning, dolly loading/unloading, rolling a missile, and so forth.
Figure 2-58.-Dockside replenishment. 2-66
Figure 2-59.-Lighter replenishment.
Lighter replenishment is used for various reasons. Its main advantages are in time and money savings. It is cheaper and quick to load a lighter at an NWS and deliver the missiles/ammunition to a ship. The ship does not have to get under way and that is a huge savings in fuel costs. Another point is that newer AE-type ships are deep draft vessels. They cannot always navigate the rivers and channels leading to an NWS dock Therefore, the lighter replenishment method is gaining in popularity. Many times the lighter and receiving ship will meet halfway and conduct the ammunition transfer while at an anchorage.
This concludes our discussion of missile-handling operations. For the most part, these events occur ashore at an NWS. However, with the exception of assembling and testing, AE-type ships perform the same jobs. Our next subject area deals with the missiles after they are safely stowed aboard a combatant ship.
MISSILES ABOARD SHIP
LEARNING OBJECTIVE Recall information concerning handling, stowing, inspecting, and cleaning and preservation of missiles aboard ship. Guided missiles are delivered to the fleet in an all-up-round (AUR) status. All tests and certification checks are performed before the missile leaves the NWS. Aboard ship, we are not authorized nor equipped to disassemble, test, or repair any critical missile component.
Aboard ship, our current activities with missiles can be summarized as follows:
4. Cleaning and preservation
You will be responsible for the safe and proper handling of missiles at all times. Obviously, this point strongly applies to replenishing and strikedown operations. During these periods, the missile has minimum protection with maximum exposure.
However, do not forget launcher loading, unloading, and intersystem transfer operations. These evolutions are a form of missile handling also. Even though the missile is within the confines of the GMLS, it is still susceptible to damage. Sometimes, due to equipment failure or breakage, missile damage is
unavoidable. Fortunately, such cases are extremely rare. Most missile damage is a result of personnel error.
A common cause of damage can be traced to the experienced control panel operator. Loading and unloading a launcher everyday, especially with a GMTR, becomes second nature to some people. They soon learn the "shortcuts" of a GMLS and can "run the panels blindfolded." In short, bad operating habits are developed. Those bad habits are hard to break when a live missile must be loaded. Quite often, a shortcut that can (but shouldn't) be taken with a training missile just won't work with a live missile. You can guess the outcome.
Safe and proper handling/operating techniques MUST be practiced constantly. There is no room for error or carelessness, especially in routine shipboard tasks. Eliminate distractions and concentrate on what you're doing.