ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The rebuild of the Army Prepositioned Stocks Afloat (APS-3) Army Strategic Flotilla (ASF) is now complete.
The United States Naval Ship Watson was uploaded from Sept. 10-19 at Wharf Alpha, Joint Base Charleston, S.C., and set sail Sept. 22. This means from this point on, the six Large-Medium Speed Roll-on Roll-off (LMSR) ships, will be on-station, returning periodically for their maintenance cycles every 30 to 36 months.
An Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) with motorized augmentation and sustainment supplies consisting of two LMSR ships, a Sustainment Brigade consisting of three LMSRs, a Theater Opening/Port Opening (TO/PO) set aboard one LMSR and two ammunition sustainment vessels make up the APS-3 ASF.
This configuration is consistent with the current APS Strategy 2020 and is strategically located in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
To meet the changing climate of operational and strategic capabilities, as well as the Warfighters' needs, APS-3 has changed significantly since its inception. During Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, APS-3 supported the Army's needs as a "2 x 2 heavy force" -- two armored and two mechanized battalions plus support -- to best tackle the desert terrain.
During the planning phase of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Army realized heavy armor tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles were not going to meet those needs in Afghanistan's mountainous terrain, so they shifted to the modular IBCTs with wheeled augmentation sets.
In 2003, APS-3 was downloaded in its entirety to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and issued three APS brigades and supporting equipment consisting of 218 unit sets to the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. The division is based at Fort Stewart, Ga., and is a direct subordinate unit of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Forces Command.
In 2005, the Department of the Army faced a $70 million funding reduction in APS-3 and decided to reprogram the second planned IBCT to APS-5 (Kuwait) and redistribute the equipment for the second APS-3 Support Brigade to support APS-5 as well.
After partially reconstituting its sets in 2007, the Army again issued APS-3 equipment to quickly equip additional BCTs for the OIF surge. In 2008, the Army Strategic Logistics Activity Charleston (ASLAC) uploaded a TO/PO package of unit equipment onto one LMSR destined for the Korea area of operations.
The first IBCT afloat was completed at ASLAC in November 2010 and was uploaded on two LMSRs.
In June and September 2011 and September 2012, a sustainment brigade with 45 days of initial supplies was completed and uploaded on three LMSRs. Rounding out the package, the two ammunition container ships, holding a combined 30-day package of sustainment ammunition, are stationed in Diego Garcia, located in the central Indian Ocean.
APS-3 is part of the APS Strategy 2020. It continues to be a critical element of Army power projection in support of contingency operations anywhere in the world.
The current APS Strategy 2020 will provide combatant commanders with responsive capabilities for varying contingencies in different types of terrain while reducing lift requirements. These multipurpose capabilities greatly improve the Army's ability to meet and defeat these threats by outfitting our Warfighters with the best equipment available in the least amount of time.
APS-3 capabilities remain a critical component of the Army's strategy for fielding the forces of the future to combatant commanders in support of the Army's Power Projection Logistics Strategy.
(This article was written by the Army Sustainment Command APS-3 Team's Emily Davis-Hoffman, Dawn Hamerlinck and Dan Neumiller)