Routine tows provide logistic support and directly aid fleet support operations and the operational readiness of the Fleet.
Routine tows are addressed in Chapters 2 and 3. This chapter introduces and discusses tows of unusual configuration
Tows of unusual configuration occur infrequently or are of a highly specialized nature. As their recurrence is
unpredictable, they are not treated in depth in this manual. However, they are noted so that planners and operators are
made aware that such operations have been successfully completed in the past. When faced with a recurrence,
reference should be made to the reports of such operations.
This section discusses the special situation of towing in ice, as well as towing targets, submarines and ships in peril
Emphasis has been placed on rigging and procedural differences between these types of tows and towing operations
4-2 TARGET SERVICES.
4-2.1 TYPES OF TOWING SHIPS. The primary functions of noncombatant ships such as the T-ATF, ATS, ATF and ARS
Classes are salvage and ocean towing. These ships routinely conduct ocean tows and, when required, tow disabled
ships; their target towing capability is a secondary function. Despite the secondary nature of the task, these ships
perform most of the target towing, largely by default.
Most combatants have the ability to tow target sleds with their standard shipboard equipment and should be used, when
possible, to provide target services.
4-2.2 TYPES OF TARGETS. Currently, the catamaran-hulled Williams Target Sled is the prevalent target used by the
U.S. Navy for gunnery exercises. See Figure 4-1. Other targets such as sonar buoys, arrays, drones and remotely
operated boats are also utilized. They are carried to the operations area as deck cargo, towed or escorted.
SEPTARS (SEaborne-Propelled TARgets) are remotely-controlled, high speed surface targets that are transported to the
operating area by the tug, then operated from the tug. Similarly, tugs also carry drone type targets for providing services
in anti-aircraft and anti-missile training exercises. They can carry, tow and service transducers and arrays for support of
submarine and anti-submarine training exercises. Each of these services is unique and presents special problems not
encountered with standard target sled towing. Some of the information necessary to support target services is classified.
4-2.3 WILLIAMS TARGET SLED.
4-2.3.1 Towing Equipment. The Williams Target Sled is towed from a synthetic line bridle shackled to the inboard
sides of the catamaran hulls. The two bridle legs are joined by a triangular flounder plate; a 30-foot pendant of synthetic
line is also shackled to the flounder plate. The pendant is shackled to the main synthetic towline.
The towline is a 3-inch circumference, double-braided synthetic line, 4,500 feet long. On occasion, when a longer line is
required, two lines are bent together. It is important that a non-rotating line be used in this application. If a three-strand
line were to be used, the torque generated would list the target and might cause a damaged sled to capsize.