Combat stores ship

Combat stores ships, or storeships, were originally a designation given to ships in the Age of Sail and immediately afterward that navies used to stow supplies and other goods for naval purposes. Today, the United States Navy and the Royal Navy operate modern combat store ships. The Sirius and Mars classes (for the US) and the Fort Rosalie and Fort Victoria classes (for the UK) provide supplies, including frozen, chilled and dry provisions, and propulsion and aviation fuel to combatant ships that are at sea for extended periods of time. Storeships should not be confused with fast combat support ships or tenders.

US Navy 040826-N-1205W-002 Military Sealift Command (MSC) combat stores ship USNS Spica (T-AFS 9) conducts a vertical replenishment at sea with the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67)
Sirius class stores ship USNS Spica


Both the United States and the United Kingdom used stores ships in the War of 1812. In both the Mexican–American War and in the American Civil War, captured enemy prizes that were not considered "warlike" enough to be sold for prize money often became stores ships for a naval force operating where no friendly ports are nearby. USS Fredonia took part in the Baja California Campaign in the Mexican–American War. In both the Spanish–American War and the Filipino War the US Navy acquired the stores ship USS Celtic and other similar vessels to serve in its Asiatic Squadron.

Combat stores ship

Six combat stores ships operated by Military Sealift Command provide supplies, including frozen, chilled and dry provisions, and propulsion and aviation fuel to United States Navy combatant ships that are at sea for extended periods of time. Combat stores ships do not carry ammunition for resupply.

Combat stores ships provide underway replenishment of all types of supplies, ranging from repair parts to fresh food, clothing and mail via tensioned cargo rigs and CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or their commercial equivalents. Combat stores ships are being replaced by more capable class such as the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ships in the US Navy.

Former combat stores ships

Three ships were transferred from the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary to MSC in 1981–83: USNS Sirius on January 18, 1981; USNS Spica on November 5, 1981 and USNS Saturn on December 13, 1983. Five Navy Mars-class combat stores ships were transferred to Military Sealift Command in 1992–94: USNS Concord on October 15, 1992; Mars on February 1, 1993; San Diego on August 11, 1993; San Jose on November 2, 1993 and Niagara Falls on September 23, 1994. San Diego was deactivated on December 10, 1997 and Mars was deactivated on February 12, 1998. Sirius was sold in 2005, Spica was used as a target ship and sunk in 2009 and Saturn was used as a target ship and sunk in 2010.

See also

Auxiliary ship

An auxiliary ship is a naval ship designed to operate in support of combatant ships and other naval operations. Auxiliaries are not primary combatants, although they may have some limited combat capacity, usually of a self-defence nature.

Auxiliaries are extremely important for navies of all sizes, as without them, the primary fleet vessels cannot be effective. Thus, nearly every navy maintains an extensive fleet of auxiliaries. However, the composition and size of these auxiliary fleets varies depending on the nature of each navy and its primary mission. Smaller coastal navies tend to have smaller auxiliary vessels focusing primarily on littoral and training support roles. Larger blue-water navies tend to have large auxiliary fleets comprising longer-range fleet support vessels designed to provide support far beyond territorial waters.

List of ship launches in 1963

The list of ship launches in 1963 includes a chronological list of all ships launched in 1963.

List of ship launches in 1966

The list of ship launches in 1966 includes a chronological list of all ships launched in 1966.

Mars-class combat stores ship

The Mars-class combat stores ships were a class of seven auxiliary vessels of the United States Navy. The ships were designed for underway replenishment, in support of carrier task force groups, carrying miscellaneous stores and munitions. Initially they carried no fuel oil or liquid cargo, but by the early 1990s the class was refitted with limited refuel capacities for F-76 fuel. None of the original seven ships originally commissioned by the US Navy remain in service. The Mars class was replaced by the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ships.

Cargo capacity of the each ship was approximately 7,000 tons in five holds, with hangar space for two UH-46 helicopters.


A minehunter is a naval vessel that seeks, detects, and destroys individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines. A vessel that combines both of these roles is known as a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV).

Ness-class combat stores ship

The Ness-class combat stores ship were a class of three Combat stores ships built by Swan Hunter for the Royal Navy's Fleet Auxiliary in the mid 1960s. They were purchased by the United States Navy in the mid 1980s and renamed Sirius-class. They were operated by Military Sealift Command for the US Navy until the late 2000s when they were deactivated.

RFA Stromness (A344)

RFA Stromness (A344) was a fleet stores ship which served the Royal Fleet Auxiliary until sold to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command in 1983. While in the service of British forces, it saw service in the Falklands War. After the sale to the United States, it was renamed USNS Saturn (T-AFS-10) and acted as a combat stores ship until it was deactivated in 2009; it was able to supply two other ships at once. In 2010, it was sunk in an exercise by the U.S. Carrier Strike Group Two off the coast of North Carolina.

USNS Concord (T-AFS-5)

USS Concord (AFS-5), was a Mars-class combat stores ship, in service with the United States Navy from 1968 to 1992. Concord became the first of five ships of its class to be transferred to Military Sealift Command. The transfer was completed in October 1992 and she was redesignated USNS Concord (T-AFS-5). Concord was stricken in August 2009 and sunk as a target in 2012.

USNS Sirius (T-AFS-8)

USNS Sirius (T-AFS 8) was a Sirius-class combat stores ship of the United States Navy, named for Sirius (α Can. Maj.), the brightest visible star.

Sirius was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson for the Royal Navy. Laid down in 1965, she was launched in 1966 from Wallsend as RFA Lyness (A339) in the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary. On 15 November 1980, the ship was acquired by charter by the United States Military Sealift Command. She was transferred to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command in 1981.

Sirius was deactivated and struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 2005 and given to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), then assigned to Texas Maritime Academy under an agreement that it can be activated by MARAD at any time. During the fall of 2005, the Sirius served in New Orleans for Katrina relief, from September 10 until November 29 and at Lake Charles, LA for Rita relief until March 2. Because of its extended relief effort the Sirius was unable to undergo a refit in 2006 to adapt its new role as a training vessel and comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety standards. Because the Sirius had not undergone a refit, it could not be formally commissioned as the USTS Texas Clipper III nor could it be used for summer training cruises. In the winter of 2009 the US Coast Guard ruled that the Sirius was unfit for training and was prepared for decommissioning while the school looked for a new training ship. On June 25, 2009, the Sirius was returned to the U.S. Maritime Administration.Google Earth imagery shows her anchored in Beaumont, TX as along with the Beaumont Reserve Fleet until February, 2013. Updated pictures as of October, 2014 show her no longer there.

The Ex-USNS Sirius, T-AFS-8 was sold for scrap to ESCO Marine, Inc. on May 5, 2014. The vessel departed the Beaumont Reserve Fleet on May 28, 2014 arriving at ESCO Marine, Inc., in Brownsville, TX on June 1, 2014. The vessel was completely dismantled and all materials recycled and properly disposed of by January 22, 2015.

USNS Spica (T-AFS-9)

USNS Spica (T-AFS-9), was a combat stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy from the United Kingdom in 1981. She served as part of the Military Sealift Command until she was deactivated in 2008.

Before her U.S. Navy career, Spica served the United Kingdom's Royal Fleet Auxiliary as RFA Tarbatness (A345).

USS Concord

USS Concord may refer to:

USS Concord (1828), a sloop-of-war launched in 1828, and lost when she ran aground on a sand bar off Mozambique

USS Concord (PG-3), a patrol gunboat in service from 1890 to 1909, and participated in the Battle of Manila Bay

USS Concord (SP-773), a tugboat purchased in 1917, renamed Mendota (YT-3) in 1920, then to Muscotah in 1932, and placed out of service in 1934

USS Concord (CL-10), a light cruiser commissioned in 1923, a participant in World War II, and decommissioned in December 1945

USS Concord (AFS-5), a combat stores ship commissioned in 1968, decommissioned and assigned to Military Sealift Command as USNS Concord (T-AFS-5), and out of service in 2009

USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3)

USS Niagara Falls (AFS–3), a Mars-class combat stores ship, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named after the City of Niagara Falls, New York. Commissioned into the US Navy on 29 April 1967, she served until September 1994, when she was transferred to the US Military Sealift Command to serve as USNS Niagara Falls (T-AFS-3). Assigned to the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, Far East, she served until 30 September 2008, when she was finally deactivated.

Niagara Falls was designed to deliver refrigerated stores, dry provisions, technical spares, and general stores type matériel to the Fleet at sea. Her configuration provided for rapid issue rates using a minimum of men and the latest in transfer-at-sea methods, cargo handling, storage techniques, and automation. She was capable of simultaneous replenishment of one ship on each side as well as transfer of matériel by cargo helicopters, which she carried.

USS San Diego

USS San Diego may refer to:

USS San Diego (CA-6), originally the armored cruiser California (ACR-6)

USS San Diego (CL-53), a light cruiser commissioned in 1942 in service throughout the Pacific War, and decommissioned 1946

USS San Diego (AFS-6), a combat stores ship in service from 1969 to 1997

USS San Diego (LPD-22), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, launched in 2010

USS San Diego (AFS-6)

USS San Diego (AFS-6) was a Mars-class combat stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1968. She served the U.S. Atlantic Fleet until decommissioned in 1993. She then was redesignated as a United States Naval Ship, assigned to the Military Sealift Command, and served in a non-commissioned status with a mostly civilian crew as USNS San Diego (T-AFS-6) until 1997.

USS San Jose (AFS-7)

USS San Jose (AFS-7) was a Mars-class combat stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy (USN) in 1970. She served as a Navy ship until November 1993, and was involved in the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War. The ship was transferred to the Military Sealift Command (MSC), and was redesignated USNS San Jose (T-AFS-7). As an MSC vessel, San Jose was involved in the INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce, the response to the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, as well as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The ship was deactivated in 2010, and is awaiting scrapping.

USS Spica

USS Spica is a name used more than once by the United States Navy:

USS Spica (AK-16), a Sirus-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II.

USNS Spica (T-AFS-9), a Sirius-class combat stores ship laid down, 1 April 1965, at Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend-On-Tyne, United Kingdom for the Royal Navy as RFA Tarbatness (A-345) and launched, 1 February 1967.

USS Sylvania (AFS-2)

USS Sylvania (AFS-2), a Mars-class combat stores ship, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named Sylvania.

Sylvania was laid down on 18 August 1962 at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, California; launched on 10 August 1963; sponsored by Mrs. Cyrus R. Vance; and commissioned on 11 July 1964, with Captain Bernard A. Lienhard in command.

USS White Plains (AFS-4)

USS White Plains (AFS-4) was the fourth Mars-class combat stores ship of the United States Navy. The ship was named after the city of White Plains, New York, scene of the Battle of White Plains during the American Revolutionary War.

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