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The Multi-Role Support Ship for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations

Authored by Derek Buxton

Summary: The paper examines the contemporary multi-role platform as an increasingly sought-after national capability and discusses how this ship-type, if designed and outfitted appropriately, can provide a range of capabilities to address the constantly evolving nature of naval doctrine and maritime operations. The motivations that drive acquisition decision makers to consider this type of capability are examined, namely: operational flexibility, doctrinal relevance and affordability. An examination of the pitfalls of acquiring a multi-role platform is also presented and discussed. An overview of how modern design techniques can be applied to ensure the ship owner is provided a range of options that are easily tailored to their unique combination of requirements follows. The paper concludes by presenting a typical modern multi-role vessel within the context of a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief scenario to illustrate the utility of these vessels as an effective response capability in a non-combatant role.