SOUTH CHINA SEA -- Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) conducted an underway replenishment (UNREP) with a guided-missile frigate of the Indonesian Navy in Indonesian territorial waters of the South China Sea, May 20.
The Rappahannock, a Henry J. Kaiser-class ship, transferred more than 13,000 gallons of fuel to the KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata (FFG 33), a Martadinata-class guided-missile frigate of the Indonesian Navy.
"Indonesia is an important partner in the region and drills like this help promote interoperability, enhance our partnership and increase theater security cooperation,” said Capt. Robert R. Williams, commodore of MSC Far East. “We have worked with the Indonesian Navy in various exercises, such as Pacific Partnership and Komodo, and those are great opportunities to foster that military-to-military relationship with them. The UNREP is our way of building a navy-to-navy relationship with the Indonesians. In doing so, we are helping their navy increase capacity.”
The UNREP was requested by the Indonesian Navy, after learning of a successful UNREP with the Malaysian Navy last month, according to Cmdr. Dave Cho, operations officer, MSC Far East.
In April, MSC’s dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) conducted an UNREP with a Royal Malaysian Navy ship in order to increase the ship’s range, which will allow it to travel farther east and support this year's Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet-sponsored RIMPAC exercise, the world’s largest international naval exercise, is held biennially in the summer months of even numbered years in waters around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
This four-and-a-half-hour UNREP served as a form of practice prior to the Martadinata’s participation in RIMPAC 2018. The Martadinata also lacks the range to reach its RIMPAC destination and will require an UNREP.
“The Indonesian Navy’s capacity to support other TSC events is no longer limited by distance,” said Williams. “This will be evident this summer during RIMPAC. The ability to UNREP is crucial for ships participating in such events. Through our cooperation now, the Indonesian Navy will have the capacity to support RIMPAC with the Martadinata-class ship."
The USNS Rappahannock is currently operating in the U.S. Navy 7th fleet area of responsibility.
MSC operates approximately 115 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.