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USS San Jose (AFS 7).

USS San Jose (AFS 7).
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: MARS (AFS 1).
Design: SCB Project Nos. 208, 705.65, and 705.66
Displacement (tons): 9,852 light, 17,381 full
Dimensions (feet): 581' oa, 530' pp x 79' e/wl x 27' max nav
Armament: 4-3"/50T; (all but 4: 1979) 2-3"/50T, (4: 1985, 2: 1990) 2-3"/50T, 2-CIWS
Accommodations: 42 officers, 445 enlisted
Speed (kts.): 21
Propulsion (HP): 22,000
Machinery: Steam turbine, 3 boilers (600psi), 1 screw

1MARS9 May 1961GD/Nat. Steel, San Diego5 May 196215 Jun 196321 Dec 1963
2SYLVANIA19 Jan 1962GD/Nat. Steel, San Diego18 Aug 196215 Aug 196311 Jul 1964
3NIAGARA FALLS1 Apr 1964GD/Nat. Steel, San Diego22 May 196526 Mar 196629 Apr 1967
4WHITE PLAINS18 Dec 1964GD/Nat. Steel, San Diego2 Oct 196523 Jul 196623 Nov 1968
5CONCORD18 Dec 1964GD/Nat. Steel, San Diego26 Mar 196617 Dec 196627 Nov 1968
6SAN DIEGO28 Dec 1965GD/Nat. Steel, San Diego11 Mar 196713 Apr 196824 May 1969
7SAN JOSE7 Jul 1967GD/Nat. Steel, San Diego8 Mar 196913 Dec 196923 Oct 1970

AFSNameTDecomm/InactStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
1MARSTr19 Feb 1998/I24 May 200415 Jul 2006Target--
2SYLVANIA26 May 1994/D5 Jan 199528 Jul 2001MA/T17 Oct 2012/D
3NIAGARA FALLSTr30 Sep 2008/I30 Sep 200814 Jul 2012Target--
4WHITE PLAINS17 Apr 1995/D24 Aug 19958 Jul 2002Target--
5CONCORDTr18 Aug 2009/I18 Aug 200917 Jul 2012Target--
6SAN DIEGOTr10 Dec 1997/I8 Sep 200314 Apr 2006Navy sale--
7SAN JOSETr27 Jan 2010/I27 Jan 20102012Navy sale--

Class Notes:
Approved characteristics for a new construction stores issue ship (AKS), SCB Project No. 115, were promulgated on 22 December 1952 with a final change on 25 September 1957 and approved characteristics for a new construction store ship (AF), SCB Project No. 156, were promulgated on 28 November 1955 with a final change on 25 March 1957 (see pages for AE 21, AF 58, and AKS 32). The Project 115 AKS was mentioned as late as 1955 for FY 1956 and a new construction AF was mentioned as late as 1957 for FY 1959, but no additional ships of those types were built and in 1958 they were superseded by the AFS, which absorbed the functions of the AF and AKS along with those of the AVS.

On 20 October 1958 the Chairman of the Ship Characteristics Board requested feasibility and cost studies of two variants of a new construction store ship (AFS) to carry specific volumes of refrigerated and dry provisions, technical (including aviation) spares, and general stores, for operation as a unit of an underway replenishment group. One variant had a 510' waterline length, 16,890 tons full load displacement, and a 575,000 cubic feet total cargo volume capacity while the other measured 530', 17,170 tons, and 625,000 cubic feet. Three helicopters (HR3S type), eight alongside transfer stations, and the usual armament and electronics were to be provided. The ship was to be designed for maximum issue/strike-down rates with minimum personnel, using automation as feasible, and for replenishing ships along both sides simultaneously in the shortest possible time. The BUSHIPS Code 420 preliminary design study started with a Mariner type hull and found that the speed requirements could be met and the smaller cargo capacity could be accommodated, although the larger capacity required the hull lengths and beam to be increased over those of the Mariner hull. To achieve high speed replenishment and internal cargo handling the designs called for palletized dry and refrigerated provision storage, vertical pallet conveyors connecting all levels of holds 2 through 6 to the main deck, and the use of forklift trucks for cargo handling. A continuous centerline route for pallet trucks ran from number 1 hold to the helicopter platform elevator, and a gantry structure provided fixed support for replenishment rigging that allowed flexibility of highline location. The designs had a three boiler, geared turbine, single screw propulsion plant that could drive the ship at about 18.5 knots with one boiler out of service. The Project Naval Architect for this design was Mr. Caesar A. Stuelcken of Code 421. BUSHIPS reported these results to the SCB on 24 March 1959, noting that the larger variant could also accommodate a longer deck house with additional office or berthing space.

On 23 April 1959 the SCB distributed for comment a staff proposal and preliminary characteristics for a new construction Combat Stores Ship (AFS), SCB Project No. 208, noting that the tentative FY 1961 program included one such ship. In these (a) the ship was to be designed for the larger cargo capacity, (b) it was to have five major cargo holds instead of the previous six, and (c) the complement varied from 41 officers and 496 enlisted to 37 officers and 441 enlisted as finally decided on. The SCB also mentioned an overall length of 562' and a sustained speed of operation of 20 knots at replenishment displacement and a replenishment formation speed of 18 knots. The progress of the preliminary design stopped almost completely during the rest of 1959 due to lower priority, but started in again in December 1959. A conference of the interested codes and bureaus was held on 21 December 1959 to review the previous work done and to get new guidelines, espectially in cargo handling and cargo transfer. Approved characteristics for a Combat Store Ship (AFS), SCB Project No. 208, were promulgated on 12 January 1960 and updated on 20 July 1962, for FY 1964 (AFS 3) on 25 March 1963, as SCB Project No. 705.65 (AFS 4-5) on 22 November 1963, and as SCB Project No. 705.66 on 12 Feb 1965 (AFS 6) with a single change on 13 August 1965 (AFS 7?).

The Report of Preliminary Design for SCB 208 was dated 4 March 1960 and the design was transferred on the same date from the Preliminary Design Branch (Code 420) to the Hull Design Branch (Code 440) for preparation of the contract design. The basic measurements of the preliminary design were length 575.3' oa, 530.0' pp, beam 79.0' max, draft 25.2' mean full load, and displacement 17,215 tons full load. Cargo volume, maneuverability during replenishment operations, and stability were governing factors in the determination of the hull form. The AFS was 10' longer and had 3' more beam than the Mariner hull. The increases in length and beam were to provide greater internal cargo volume and additional main deck length to accommodate the helicopter platform and hangar, and the beam was also increased to provide adequate stability. The design included rapid transfer at sea stations port and starboard with the latest transfer at sea rigs, called "M" frames, with counterweights or other tensioning devices. (The "M" frames replaced the gantry structure in the earlier designs.) A helicopter platform with an elevator and a hangar for two helicopters was on the stern. Accommodations were provided for 41 officers, 441 enlisted, and 8 transients. The steam turbine plant was rated at 22,000 SHP which it could reach with two of its three boilers, the third being intended as a standby. At 80% rated SHP the sustained speed was estimated at 20.7 kts instead of the specified 20 kts.

The contract design was completed on 16 January 1961 by the Hull Design Branch and approved on 17 January 1961, and technical control was then transferred to the Ships Division (Code 510) on 2 February 1961 for construction. According to the contract design history dated 16 February 1961 this was the second multiple-product replenishment ship designed by the Navy, the first being the AOE. The basic concept of the AFS was that as a unit of an underway replenishment group it would have the capability of resupplying a task force at sea on a 'one stop' basis with stores, provisions, and spare parts necessary for sustained operations. The AFS carried a combined cargo load of dry and refrigerated provisions normally carried by an AF, bulk and bin and drawer GSM (General Stores Materal) and technical spares material normally carried by an AKS, and aviation bulk and bin and drawer technical spares material including aircraft engines and control surfaces normally carried by an AVS. With very few exceptions commercial standards were invoked in the design and procurement of both hull and machinery components. The replenishment at sea system was similar to that on AOE 1, featuring M-frames with sliding blocks and air-hydraulic ram tensioners for tensioning highlines on each transfer station. Electro-hydraulic winches for operating the replenishment rigs as well as the cargo booms were located on top of the cargo deck house (01 level), as were the winch control platforms. The contract design made no reference to the FAST (Fast Automatic Shuttle Transfer) system, then in the early stages of development, though at least AFS 1 and AFS 2 would have received it. (See the AOE 1 class for a description and history of FAST.) The contract design included six replenishment stations to port and five to starboard, distributed to achieve optimum alignment with carriers to port and smaller ships to starboard. (The sixth port station alongside the after end of the helicopter hangar, the only one without a matching station to starboard, was deleted before construction.) In the contract design all five cargo holds were serviced by two or three mechanically powered, reversible, vertical lifting devices which included heavy duty pallet conveyors and two sizes of package conveyors. These delivered cargo at rapid rates to the main deck within an enclosed cargo deck house that extended along the centerline over the five cargo holds. This cargo deck house provided weather protection for pre-replenishment breakout and staging of cargo. Large garage-type roller doors permitted transfer of the cargo from within the cargo deck house to the replenishment stations. A clear fore and aft enclosed fork lift truck passageway on the starboard side of this deck house and extending through the superstructure and under the helicopter hangar allowed reaching with any type of cargo any replenishment station including the elevator to the helicopter landing area. Pre-packaged pallet loads of reefer and dry provisions were transferred to the pallet conveyors in the holds by battery operated fork lift trucks. Pairs of 10 ton cargo booms serviced holds #1 (forecastle), #3 (forward of the bridge) and #4 (aft of the bridge), the latter two being the reefer and dry provision cargo holds respectively, and a special elevator serviced the upper part of #2 hold which contained the bulky aircraft engines and control surfaces. Otherwise holds #1, #2, and #5 (the latter being under the helicopter hangar) contained mostly general and aviation supplies and spare parts. The design had two twin 3"/50 gun mounts side by side on the bow and another two mounts on the after end of the midships superstructure, the latter being located to permit arcs of fire parallel to the centerline and to outboard clear of interference from the M-frames. The designed displacement of the hull was 17,323 tons full load at a draft of 25.5'. The final full load displacement in the signed contract design was 16,144 tons (9,232 tons light) which made the mean draft 23.95'.

In the early 1960s the Navy became interested in propulsion machinery plant automation, and on 4 June 1965 BUSHIPS selected the single FY 1966 AKA (AKA 117) as a prototype ship for this program. (See the AKA 113 class for details.) The program provided for bridge throttle control, centralized operation, monitoring, and alarming in the machinery space, automatic bell logging, automatic auxiliary machinery plants, and remote control of the steering machinery. By January 1966 the FY 1967 AFS (AFS 7) was also being considered as a candidate for machinery plant automation, and by May 1966 the FY 1965-66 ships (AFS 4-6) were also candidates. A major payoff of automation was decreased manning, estimated at 27 fewer watch standers in each AFS. The automation of AFS 6 (FY 1966) was directed in October and on 4 November 1966 CNO recommended proceeding with the automation of the FY 1965 ships (AFS 4-5). In the meantime the FAST underway transfer system proved to be a maintenance nightmare and in 1970 its simplified successor, STREAM (Standard Tensioned Replenishment Alongside Method), was satisfactorily evaluated in the Mediterranean by SAN DIEGO (AFS 6).

AFS 3 and 5 lacked the shields on their forward 3" gun mounts that the others had. In addition to the armaments shown in the technical section above, AFS 2 and AFS 3 received one MK 25 Sea Sparrow MLS in 1969 (AFS 2) and 1971 (AFS 3) but landed them in 1974. In 1977 the SLQ-32 became the standard USN shipboard ECM system, warning of threat radar signals and able to trigger chaff and weapons firing. The two 3"/50 mounts on the after corners of the main deck house were removed in 1979 in all but AFS 4 and basic SLQ-32 antennas intended for auxiliary ships replaced them in at least AFS 4, 6, and 7. In around 1977 the class was also scheduled to receive the Mk 36 Mod 2 SRBOC (Super Rapid Blooming Off board Countermeasures) chaff and decoy launching system. AFS 6 had a temporary (probably prototype) installation by 1979, AFS 4 got the first permanent SRBOC installation in 1980, and AFS 7 followed in 1981. In 1983 the class was scheduled to receive the Mk 16 Mod 1 CIWS Weapon Group with 2 mounts on each ship. The prototype ship, AFS 4, received two CIWS mounts by 1984 which she retained (losing her after 3"/50 mounts in the process), and AFS 2 also received two mounts by 1989 although they were positioned differently.

Ship Notes:
1MARSFY 1961. To MSC 1 Feb 1993. Out of service 19 Feb 1998. Expended as torpedo target 15 Jul 2006 off Hawaii during RIMPAC 2006.
2SYLVANIAFY 1962. To MA custody 12 Sep 2000. To buyer 17 Oct 2012.
3NIAGARA FALLSFY 1964. To MSC 23 Sep 1994. Expended as target 14 Jul 2012 off Kauai during RIMPAC 2012.
4WHITE PLAINSFY 1965. Expended as target 8 Jul 2002 during RIMPAC 2002.
5CONCORDFY 1965. To MSC 15 Oct 1992. Expended as torpedo target 17 Jul 2012 off Kauai by HMCS VICTORIA during RIMPAC 2012.
6SAN DIEGOFY 1966. To MSC 11 Aug 1993. Out of service 10 Dec 1997. BU completed 4 Apr 2007 at Brownsville.
7SAN JOSEFY 1967. To MSC 2 Nov 1993. Towed from Pearl Harbor to Brownsville Dec 2012, completion of dismantlement reported 9 Oct 2013 by All Star Metals LLC.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 5 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Special sources: NARA: RG 19 Entry P 26 Boxes 4-5, RG 19 Entry P 62 Boxes 98-99; Marvin O. Miller, Designing the U.S. Navy's Underway Replenishment System, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme, Cal., 1996.