How the Navy pumps 1.3 million gallons of fuel into an aircraft carrier without ever pulling into port

Navy aircraft carrier Ford replenishment at sea

This month, for the first time in two years, the Navy’s new aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, received fuel during a replenishment at sea.
Replenishment at sea is one of the most dangerous operations sailors can perform, and its what keeps the carrier operating without having to return to port.
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ATLANTIC OCEAN — USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducted a successful replenishment-at-sea (RAS) February 8 marking the ship’s first time receiving fuel from a replenishment ship in more than 24 months.

Ford successfully received more than 1.3 million gallons of fuel, and exercised a solid cargo station, transferring 22 pallets for training from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195), in less than three hours.

The RAS started off with Ford pulling alongside Grumman. A few moments later, a line was shot from Ford to Grumman to establish communications and connect to the fuel lines. Once completed, the fuel lines were pulled to Ford to begin the fueling process.

“A RAS is what drives and enhances our mission capabilities,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Joshua Faulds, from Port Washington, Wisconsin, assigned to Ford’s V-4 division. “The primary mission of an aircraft carrier is to fly aircraft, and we need to be able to replenish the jet fuel without having to pull in port.”

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During a RAS, Ford’s V-4 division, responsible for the safe handling of all jet propulsion (JP-5) fuel aboard, stations more than 60 personnel throughout the ship to monitor and handle the onload of fuel.

“The entire evolution is a well-orchestrated effort,” said Faulds. “If one station or group of Sailors isn’t on top of their game things can go very wrong because the risk is high. The Sailors in our division are mostly new to the ship but they performed very well and the evolution’s success is a testament to the training and qualification process onboard.”

Faulds also attributed the success of the evolution to Ford’s increased automation and systems integration. The ship’s systems help control and monitor events throughout the ship including safety sensors, auxiliary systems, and JP-5 fuel sensing and management.

“The system aboard Ford is wonderful because it helps make things much more efficient,” said Faulds. “The benefits of having one central interface and be able to track everything in such a user friendly way is great for our management and other departments around the ship.”

One group heavily involved in the evolution that doesn’t have a need for the electronic system is Ford’s deck department. The more than 80 personnel on station to uphold the lines connecting the ships and maintaining stability of fueling probes are dependent upon training, teamwork and proficiency to ensure safety.

“The professionalism and flawless execution by the team was incredible,” said Chief Warrant Officer Steven Sturm, Ford’s Ship’s Boatswain. “I think they exceeded expectations and we couldn’t be happier with how the evolution went.”

Planning, execution …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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