Marine Corps to conduct maritime fuel transfer experiments in Coronado

By Justin Katz / August 30, 2018 at 11:13 AM

The Marine Corps will conduct maritime experiments of capabilities to store and transfer bulk fuel off the coast of Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, CA, in October, according to a service official.

The service today is wrapping up its first series of limited technical assessments, which it calls LTA-1, and will conduct LTA-2 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 12, Maj. Joseph Larkin, capabilities officer for the Expeditionary Energy Office (E2O), told Inside Defense in an Aug. 29 written statement.

"The overall goal of these LTAs are to assess and validate, using current programs of record, commercial-off-the-shelf or government-off-the-shelf technologies to effectively store, transfer and deliver bulk fuel to units in a distributed and austere setting," Larkin said.

The tests, which aim to validate parts of the service's Mobile Amphibious Assault Fuel Distribution concept, are being overseen by E2O, Marine Corps Systems Command's Systems Engineering and Acquisition Logistics as well as the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center.

From Aug. 20 to Aug. 30, the Marine Corps conducted experiments focused on transferring a fuel surrogate -- fresh water -- "to and from various bladders, craft, and containers in a controlled pierside environment," Larkin said. Fresh water is being used as a fuel surrogate because it does not have as many environmental considerations, he added.

"As we progress to more realistic environments and gain environmental approval for each capability we will look to switch from water to real fuel," Larkin said.

LTA-2 will validate transferring bulk fuel from maritime platforms and containers to shore-based systems.

The exercises, which involve both Navy and Marine Corps units, will use landing craft utility boats, landing craft air cushions, improved Navy lighterage systems, amphibious bulk liquid transfer systems, dracones, transportable collapsible bags and beach termination units, among other assets, according to Larkin.

Separately, the Marine Corps tested another fuel foraging capability -- Expeditionary Mobile Fuel Additization -- at the Rim of the Pacific exercise in July.

"The system additizes foraged Jet A-1 fuel by injecting appropriate amounts of additives into it to create Military Specific (MILSPEC) fuel for use in ground and air assets," according to Larkin.