The Navy will decommission two of Military Sealift Command’s youngest refueling and Fleet support ships in a bid to save $251 million as part of the Department of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget, Navy officials told USNI News on Monday.
Supply-class ships USNS Bridge (T-AOE-10) will decommission in 2014 and USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7) and will decommission in 2015 based on the 2012 Navy Force Structure Assessment, Navy officials said. The FSA reduced the number of Fleet oilers from 19 to 17, leaving two Supply-class and 15 Henry J Kaiser class oilers. The move was outlined in a draft version of the U.S. Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan obtained last week by USNI News.
The decision to decommission the Supply-class ships was based on the higher operations and support costs for the class. The Navy estimated maintaing the ships would be $32 million more than the Kaiser-class support ships, according to information from the Navy. The alternative was to cut three ships from the current Combat Logistics Force.
Supply-class ships entered the Fleet in 1994 as fast support ships that can transit at speeds up to 26kts according to U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleet’s of the World.
The two ships will join seven Ticonderoga-class cruisers and two Whidbey Island-class amphibious warships that will decommission by Fiscal Year 2015. All three classes of ships will be leaving the Fleet well ahead of their expected service lives.