October 11, 2007

Japanese Fuel Provided to USNS PECOS on February 25, 2003 (Department of Defense; Washington, DC; October 10, 2007)

The specific Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) refueling case about which concerns have been raised, the February 25, 2003, refueling of USS KITTY HAWK and USS COWPENS by USNS PECOS, illustrates the complicated nature of tracking Japanese specific fuel. However, a focused attempt to do so reinforces that these concerns are misplaced.

  • On February 25, 2003, JDS TOKIWA provided approximately 800,000 gallons of fuel to USNS PECOS. USNS PECOS is a Military Sealift Command oiler with a total fuel capacity of approximately 7,560,000 gallons. The amount of fuel provided by JDS TOKIWA represents approximately 10% of the total capacity of USNS PECOS.

  • USNS PECOS in turn provided fuel to a number of vessels, including and most immediately, USS KITTY HAWK. USS KITTY HAWK, which can hold 4,000,000 gallons of fuel, received 675,000 gallons of fuel from USNS PECOS. If we assume that all of the fuel USS KITTY HAWK received from USNS PECOS originally came from JDS TOKIWA, and that half of USS KITTY HAWK's capacity was reserved for aviation fuel, the fuel from JDS TOKIWA would constitute less than 40% of USS KITTY HAWK's capacity.

  • If we also assume that the 675,000 gallons from USNS PECOS was used immediately, then it is necessary to look at USS KITTY HAWK's activities after receiving fuel from USNS PECOS. Based on operations, including transit speed, USS KITTY HAWK could have burned the 675,000 gallons within a three-day time period.

  • During the three days from February 25-28, USS KITTY HAWK conducted the following missions in support of OEF: Surface Search Surveillance and Control (SSSC), Anti-Surface Combat Air Patrol, Maritime Intercept Operations (MIO) Surveillance, Combat Air Patrol, Search and Air Rescue (SAR), Command and Control, airborne tanking, electronic warfare training and readiness, night vision goggle proficiency, precision strike practice, simulated Close Air Support, precision navigation and instrument proficiency, carrier landing proficiency, Forward Air Controller, and Plane Guard.

  • On the night of February 28, USS KITTY HAWK arrived in the North Arabian Gulf to support Operation Southern Watch.

  • On February 25, 2003, after refueling USS KITTY HAWK, USNS PECOS provided 149,000 gallons of fuel to USS COWPENS, which was conducting missions in support of OEF. The 149,000 gallons of fuel could have all been consumed for the purpose of OEF.

In short, USS KITTY HAWK used at least 675,000 gallons of fuel to support OEF.