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U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Develop Mobile Sea Transport Platform
As part of an exercise called West African Training Cruise 08, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps over four days in March 2008 built and tested a system for transporting cargo from ship-to-ship and ship-to-land. The Improved Navy Lighterage System
As part of an exercise called West African Training Cruise 08, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps over four days in March 2008 built and tested a system for transporting cargo from ship-to-ship and ship-to-land. The Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS), allows U.S. sea-based forces to bring ashore supplies and equipment to areas without developed port facilities.



The INLS is a redesign of a floating dock system originally used during World War II. Composed of smaller component links, the system pieces can lock together to create ferries, causeway piers, or roll-on, roll-off discharge facilities to transport cargo and equipment from ship to shore while leaving a minimal footprint.



This is the first time the system has been used successfully at sea. Earlier training was conducted in and around ports in the United States. During the rest of the West Africa Training Cruise 08 exercise, the system will be used to help transport humanitarian supplies to Monrovia as part of the Africa Partnership Station.



To construct the system, various Navy commands collaborated to crane links off their ship, the USS Fort McHenry, and combine them into their final structures. The finished product was transported to a military command ship where it was loaded with Marine Corps vehicles and transferred to a dock loading ship. The ILNS gave the crew the capability to move the vehicles from one ship to another, and finally move the vehicles onto shore.



"We got to play a significant role in proving our capability, to take a written concept like ILNS and make it a successful executable operation for moving equipment and personnel from ship to sea base to shore," said Fort McHenry 1st Lieutenant Diane Middleton.



As part of the Navy's new global maritime strategy, Africa Partnership Station is a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-led initiative, executed by a multinational staff embarked on board Fort McHenry to enhance cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in West and Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea on a seven-month deployment.
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