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Named after the brightest star in the constellation Aquila, the ALTAIR is the fifth ALGOL - class fast sealift ship. Originally built in West Germany in 1973 as SS SEA-LAND FINANCE for Sea-Land Services, Inc., Port Elizabeth, N.J., the ship was purchased by the Navy in 1982 and converted. The cargo hold was redesigned into a series of decks connected by ramps so that vehicles can now be driven in and out of storage areas for rapid loading and unloading. Four cranes were installed - twin cranes amidships capable of lifting 35 long tons and twin cranes aft capable of lifting 50 long tons. The ALTAIR was delivered to the Military Sealift Command in 1985.
SS ALTAIR was put to the test during Operation Desert Storm. In August 1990, she was the second fast sealift ship (FSS) to reach Saudi Arabia from Savannah, GA with elements of the 24th Infantry Division, responding to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. From the beginning to the end of the operation, ALTAIR made nine round trips. In December 1993, ALTAIR was activated to carry equipment for Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.
The SS ALTAIR is the second ship in the Navy to bear the name. On October 1, 2007, the ALTAIR was transferred to the MARAD. On October 1, 2008, the ship was transferred to the Ready Reserve Force and lost her USNS designation.
|General Characteristics:||Launched: April 1, 1973|
|Delivered to Sea-Land Services, Inc., Port Elizabeth, N.J.: August 1,1973|
|Purchased by the Navy: January 5, 1982|
|Conversion started: February 1, 1984|
|Delivered: November 13, 1985|
|Builder: Rheinstahl Nordseewerke, Emden, West Germany|
|Conversion yard: Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans, LA|
|Propulsion system: two Foster-Wheeler boilers, 875 psi (61.6kg/cm2); 9500F (5100C) and two GE MST-19 steam turbines; 120,000 hp (89.5 MW)|
|Length: 946.2 feet (288.4 meters)|
|Beam: 105.6 feet (32.2 meters)|
|Draft: 36.4 feet (11.1 meters)|
|Displacement: approx. 55,355 tons full load|
|Speed: 33 knots|
|Aircraft: helicopter landing area only|
|Capacity: more than 700 Army vehicles (including tanks, trucks, and helicopters)|
|Crew: 43 civilians, 12 military technicians (fully operational); 18 civilians (reduced operating status)|
|Homeport: Marrerro, LA|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard SS ALTAIR. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
SS ALTAIR Image Gallery: