Pressed by a brutal operations tempo, evolving strategic challenges, and a shifting Fleet structure, the Navy’s aging oilers can no longer be taken for granted—new oilers are needed now.
They may be unglamorous, but underway replenishment vessels are some of the hardest-worked assets in the U.S. Fleet. Operated by the Military Sealift Command, the 31 replenishment ships of the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force spent 5,036 days at sea during the last fiscal year. On average, every available U.S. Fleet replenishment oiler is active and under way for more than six months each year, making America’s oilers the most fully committed components of the Combat Logistics Force (CLF). 1