Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
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July 13, 2010
USNS Amelia Earhart Supports Target Tasking for CARAT Singapore2010
Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training public affairs press release by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kim McLendon
USNS AMELIA EARHART, At Sea (NNS) -- Like its pioneering namesake, the Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6) is executing a challenging new task the week of July 12.
The combat logistics force ship that typically delivers fuel and supplies to Navy ships at sea is currently serving as the launch platform for surface and air targets in support of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore 2010.
Sailors from the targets detachment from Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa, Japan, are embarked aboard Earhart, launching a variety of drones and surface targets to be destroyed by six ships from the U.S. and Singapore Navy in three live-fire exercises that began July 13.
Though the targets detachment has operated aboard other USNS ships, including rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), this is the first time the detachment has operated aboard a T-AKE.
"The T-AKE is ideal for this type of operation," said Chief Warrant Officer Melinda Chambers, mission commander, targets detachment. "The large platform is very well suited to launch and retrieve our types of equipment."
Earhart is equipped with several cranes and davits used to launch the remotely activated drones that position the surface targets at sea. In addition, Earhart has different radar systems than the average combatant ship used to launch targets, so sailors steering the remotely activated drones experience less disruptive radar interference.
The targets detachment aboard Earhart is launching both surface and air targets.
For surface gunfire exercises, the targets detachment is launching a low cost towable target (LCTT), towed by a remote controlled jet-ski, called a RoboSki, which tows the LCTT to within firing range of U.S. and Singaporean ships.
For air exercises, the targets detachment fires an air-launched BQM-74E drone off Earhart's deck. Resembling a cruise missile in size, appearance and flight characteristics, the targets team flies an aggressive profile toward the CARAT ships. Participating ships then decide upon and execute the most appropriate way to defend themselves using a combination of ship's guns and missiles.
Earhart's crew of 124 civil service mariners working for MSC are instrumental in assisting the targets detachment to launch and recover the LCTT and RoboSki. Earhart's crew also includes 11 sailors who provide supply coordination.
Earhart's crew expressed pride to be on the leading edge of supporting an important mission.
"It is an interesting opportunity for diverse seamanship and small boat operations that we wouldn't normally find ourselves conducting, but certainly not beyond our capabilities to safely innovate," said Capt. John C. Pope, Earhart's civil service master.
In its 16th year, CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance force readiness.
For more news from Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, visit www.navy.mil/local/carat/.
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