The USNS Lewis B. Puller expeditionary sea base has sailed on deployment.

Cmdr. Arlen Rose said:

“We call ourselves ‘Team Puller’. The Puller is a brand new ship, so we had a lot to learn. The military crew has been training with the ship’s civil service mariners for a year to prepare for this deployment.

We are ready to get Puller out there to takes its rightful place in the fleet. Everyone is really excited to get to work and see what the Puller can do.”

USNS Lewis B. Puller was delivered to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command in 2015 and is the US Navy’s first purpose-built expeditionary sea base. The ship has a hybrid-manned crew with a combination of military personnel and civilian mariners.

The US Navy say:

“The 784 foot-long vessel features a 52,000 square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission-planning spaces. Able to accommodate up to 250 personnel, USNS Lewis B. Puller will support multiple missions, such as air mine counter measures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions, and crisis response operations.”

According to McCarthy, the Puller is going to be permanently deployed overseas, which saves a tremendous amount of time in terms of operations. So the ship’s maintenance, repairs and crew swaps will take place in theatre.


  1. The UK could and should have a number of these and the Solid Support ship requirement could act as a base and /or solid store facility allowing the Tides to service the Carrier Group.

    A Karel Doorman Type Aegir design would be excellent for this and would allow the UK to have excellent day to day replenishment assets that can be utilised for sea basing or even amphibious activities with a steal beach and shore to shore connectors.

    Given we just can’t do everything now, how about retiring all amphibious assets and the SS ships and moving them all to a platform similar to this over time.

    Got to be worth a look surely

    • That Karel Doorman is a fascinating vessel.
      Personally I’d swap some of its 2,000 lane metres of vehicle storage for more personnel space though.
      Aside from that, I think it is better and a lot smaller/cheaper than what the Americans have done above.
      I think that a lot of what Damen do is very interesting.
      The Holland Class OPV are the ocean going presence the River Class should have been.

  2. Impressive ship. A Swiss army knife for naval deployments. Great idea, probably is the revolutionary concept it seems to be.
    Although I have to think did we, meaning the UK start this idea off with Atlantic Conveyors Falklands war contribution?
    Atlantic conveyor the proof of concept for this new type of hybrid support ship.
    The RN could easily do something similar just need a 700+ feet, 45-50000 ton ex cargo ship/ car transport to adapt.

  3. Spot on Mr Bell

    I think the K Doorman is an incredible vessel and if we bought 8 of them it would be a major improvement.

    Personally I would do this and get some ship to shore hovercraft as a compromise. We just cant afford separate platforms anymore and I would rather have these being used to service the fleet, being a hospital, a helicopter carrier (6 merlins or 2 chinooks in the hanger), a sea base for the MCM or amphibious support they are very very flexible.

    And we can buy them at £250m each – so that is a big chunk of the RFA/RN fleet sorted for £2bn. With these there is no need to have a specialist asset (like a Bay) standing at readiness – as when not in use in their primary combat role they will become store ships with fit out modules in containers.

  4. Yes, we could do so much with the MARS SSS if it is a good design. Karel Doorman is great but let’s aim high. MARS SSS will be a new design. The QEC did a great job of designing a next gen carrier. Let’s do a next gen Karel Doorman.

    As for swapping vehicle lane metres for personnel space. That’s something that clever design could address. Get the right hotel service points in the right places and containerised bunking and ablutions could give that flexibility. The same with containerised ward beds allowing a core hospital facility to be expanded for disaster relief. We’re an inventive nation with, despite the duress that we seem to put our education system under, lots of well trained engineers and scientists. Let’s create.

    – Julian


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