Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC), U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), and the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) successfully demonstrated a joint capability vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology to refuel from a forward-deployed barge as part of the Resilient Expeditionary Agile Littoral Logistics (REALL) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story on 13 July 2020. Funded by OSD Research & Engineering, the JCTD Program addresses Combatant Command (CCMD) and Joint warfighting gaps through prototyping and demonstration of innovative and game-changing technologies.
The REALL JCTD Team completed its first successful technical demonstration, with NAVFAC EXWC at the helm as the demonstration technical lead; USCENTCOM, USTRANSOM and USMC War Fighting Lab (MCWL) serving as the operational leads providing operational and development inputs.
The VTOL demonstration determined whether a VTOL aircraft can land and refuel from a forward-deployed barge. The demonstration also determined if REALL could provide a low-cost logistics solution for the Department of Defense (DOD), as an alternative to placing high-value logistics supply platforms in contested environments. This successful demonstration marks the first of numerous planned technology and operational demonstrations aimed at eventually arriving at an end state where a military utility determination can be established, with the goal of transitioning REALL capability technology sets to the warfighter
“This demonstration is another example of what the great people of NAVFAC EXWC provides for our American warfighters,” said Mr. Kail Macias, NAVFAC EXWC Technical Director. “Speed and agility enable our forces to win the fight. The success of REALL is a tribute to the hard work and collaboration across DOD.”
The VTOL demonstration consisted of one MH-60M Blackhawk helicopter—provided by the U.S. Special Operations Aviation Command, Systems Integration Management Office—which landed on the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS). The INLS is designed to simulate a refueling evolution; INLS systems were provided by Amphibious Construction Battalion Two.
The INLS Roll-on/Roll-off Discharge Facility (RRDF) is a modular system and is traditionally designed to facilitate movement of rolling stock from ship to shore platforms,” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Leftwich, Bravo Company Commander, Amphibious Construction Battalion 2. “It is a robust and highly capable platform suitable for other uses. Incorporating this legacy system into emergent needs enables more resiliency and responsiveness.”
“As the lead Combatant Command sponsor and warfighter representative for the REALL project, USCENTCOM’s goal was to demonstrate a littoral logistics sustainment capability for fuel distribution and logistics nodes in support of emerging operational concepts,” said Thomas Smith, CENTCOM J8-ST Chief Science Advisor for Advanced Concepts.” He added, “This Technical Demonstration was a success and advances the National Defense Strategy's modernization priority on forward force maneuver and posture resilience.”
Looking onward, REALL will be further vetted, with the end goal of providing fuel, water, food and other supplies to vertical take-off and landing aircraft and seaborne vessels for logistics operations required by the Naval Concept of Expeditionary Base Operations.
Media inquiries are encouraged to contact Sarah MacMillan, NAVFAC EXWC Deputy Public Affairs Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 512-6507.