The Indian Navy corvette INS Kiltan (P 30) steams alongside USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) in the South China Sea, Nov. 1. (U.S. Navy/Steven Santos)

SINGAPORE - Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) conducted a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) with the Indian Navy’s anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kiltan (P 30) while underway in the South China Sea, Nov. 1.

The U.S. Navy regularly operates with allies and partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally to promote security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific.

“Having the opportunity to work alongside our Indian Navy partners carries a lot of value,” said civilian mariner Capt. Lee Apsley, ship’s master for USNS Richard E. Byrd. “Opportunities like this allow us to enhance our combined capabilities to effectively sustain operations and to maintain our readiness to respond to any maritime challenges that we might face together.”

USNS Richard E. Byrd is a combat logistics force ship, operated by civilian merchant mariners, that helps the Navy maintain global forward presence. She delivers fuel, ammunition, food and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea and can support multi-mission capabilities.

MSC conducted a similar RAS in April involving the fleet oiler USNS Pecos and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Suzutsuki (DD 117).

MSC operates approximately 125 merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships at sea, conduct specialized missions, and strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.

As U.S. 7th Fleet's executive agent for theater security cooperation in South and Southeast Asia, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 conduct advanced planning, organize resources, and directly support the execution of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and other engagements in the region.