Mars-class combat stores ship

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USS Mars (AFS-1).jpg
USS Mars (AFS-1), lead ship of the class
Class overview
Builders: National Steel and Shipbuilding Company
Operators:  United States Navy
Succeeded by: Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship
Completed: 7
Retired: 7
General characteristics
Type: Combat stores ship
  • 9,200 long tons (9,348 t) light
  • 15,900–18,663 long tons (16,155–18,962 t) full load
Length: 581 ft (177.1 m)
Beam: 79 ft (24.1 m)
Draft: 28 ft (8.5 m)
  • 3 × Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 580 psi (3.7 MPa); 825 °F (440 °C)
  • 1 × De Laval turbine
  • 22,000 shp (16.4 MW) sustained
  • 1 shaft
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)
Complement: 486 officers and enlisted men (in Navy commission); 26 Navy personnel, 118 civilians (Military Sealift Command)
  • 4 × 3"/50 caliber guns (2×2) (originally 8 (4x2))
  • Chaff Launchers
  • 4 × M240G 7.62×51mm medium machine guns or M249 5.56×45mm light MG
  • 1 M2 12.7×99mm heavy machine gun when security detachment is embarked
Aircraft carried: 2 × MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters

The Mars-class combat stores ships were a class of seven auxiliary vessels of the United States Navy. The ships were designed for underway replenishment, in support of carrier task force groups, carrying miscellaneous stores and munitions. Initially they carried no fuel oil or liquid cargo, but by the early 1990s the class was refitted with limited refuel capacities for F-76 fuel. None of the original seven ships originally commissioned by the US Navy remain in service; the Mars class was replaced by the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ships.

Cargo capacity of the each ship was approximately 7,000 tons in five holds, with hangar space for two UH-46 helicopters.

Brief history[edit]

1981 line drawing of a Mars-class combat stores ship

Vessels in the class were constructed in mid-1960s, while early units commissioned in the late 1960s served in the Vietnam War; the vessels supported combat operations off the coast.

These ships continued to support naval units during their time in service in US Navy until the mid-1990s. Mars-class ships were present and supported operations in Red Sea and the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. By the mid-1990s, five of the seven ships were transferred to the Military Sealift Command.


The ships of the class are named for American resort and significant historical towns/cities.