More Info on the Eastern OPC Proposal

IMG_4134

All photos credit Navy Recognition

Recently found a brochure for Eastern’s OPC reportedly from last year’s Sea, Air, Space Conference. Credit FCNoVA from this discussion group. We have discussed this class before and here, the comments may still be of interest.

Relative to the question does the design meet the “objective” criteria or only the minimums it looks like relatively good news, meeting or exceeding the objectives in terms of endurance, speed, aviation facilities, and accommodations. I presume since this design meets most of the objective criteria, the other two designs will also similarly exceed the minimums. I will provide some of the information provided in the brochure and then provide my comments.

You can read the brochure here: http://www.mnvdet.com/Other/Eastern%20OPC%20Scan.pdf

DIMENSIONS:
Length overall: 328ft
Length between perpendiculars: 297ft
Beam overall: 52ft
Beam waterline: 48.67ft
Depth: 24.5ft
Draft: 16.1ft

Commentary: Compared to the Treasury Class (327 ft) cutters, this is, of course only one foot longer, but the beam and draft are both substantially greater, greater in fact than the beam and draft of the 378s, so we can expect the full load displacement to be considerably greater than the 327s’ approximately 2500 tons, and close to the over 3,000 ton full load displacement of the 378s. Unless the vertical weight distribution is messed up, these are likely to be good riding, very seaworthy ships, a notable improvement on the 270s and 210s.

Accommodations:
126 total
20 commissioned officers
12 CPOs
94 E-6 and below
Also included are a 466 sq ft physical fitness area, a 20 seat training room, and a 48 seat crew’s lounge.

Commentary: Note these are the accommodations, not the expected crew which will be 15 officers, 89 enlisted, and detachments totalling 12 for a total of 116. The Coast Guard is avoiding the mistake made on the Littoral Combat Ship of assuming a small crew, limiting accommodations, and then finding they need a larger crew than the ship was designed for.

Performance:
Range 9,500 nmi @ 14 knots
Sustained speed: 24 knots
Sprint speed: 26 knots.

Commentary: This is an area I was afraid we would see the design compromised. For similar speeds, this range is comparable to the that of the 378s. At speeds above 18 knots, its all diesel power plant will give it greater range than the 378s.

Main Propulsion/Auxiliary Prop and thruster/Electrical:

Main Prop: Two 12,204 HP MAN geared diesels
Ship Service Generators: 4,1044 kW
Auxiliary Prop/thruster: 750 kW, 1005 HP

Commentary: I interpret this to mean four generators of 1044 kW or 4,176kW total. That is a lot of power generation potential. By comparison a 378’s total capacity is 1500 kW, the 270s have 1425 kW. This suggest that the ship will have a hybrid power plant with the generators used for driving electric cruise motors. Running only three generators, one could probably supply routine electrical requirements and the other two could propel the ship. Two generators would supply the equivalent of approximately 2800 HP, this might be enough to drive the ship at 14 knots. Certainly three generators supplying 4200 HP would be more than enough. This will allow the ship to cruise with the Main Diesel Engines shut down.

The combined horsepower of the main diesels, 24,408 HP is more power than the diesel engines of the National Security Cutters which we know provide a high cruising speed, and it is about three and a half times the power of those on the 378s or the 270s.

The thruster is apparently of the drop down trainable type, allowing it to be used as an emergency or loiter propulsion system. The available power is relatively high meaning the ship could probably make seven or eight knots on the thruster alone.

I expect what we will see is two main engine spaces, each with one main diesel and one or two generators. Hopefully the main spaces will be separated by more than a single bulkhead, perhaps by the engineering control room, so that damage at a single point cannot effect both engine rooms. Hopefully also, at least one generator will be outside the two main machinery spaces. If so, these ships will have extraordinary main propulsion redundancy with at least three different spaces and five different systems capable of moving the ship–two MDE, two motors on the main shafts, and the bow thruster.

Construction: Steel Hull with an Aluminum Superstructure. Commentary: No surprise, although I would have liked to see steel superstructure, but it is a reasonable compromise.

IMG_4132

Aviation Facilities:

Hangar: H-65/H-60R+UAS/UAV
Flight Deck: 3725 square feet

Commentary: Good news that the hangar will be large enough to accommodate both a Navy MH-60R and a UAS although I am a bit concerned that since the Navy has moved to a larger airframe for their Firescout, there is a chance that the UAS may not include the latest version of what is likely to become a standard system.

Apparently the Flight Deck is at least as large and probably larger than that of the 378s.

IMG_4129

Weapons:

57mm Mk110 mod X
Electro-Optic Sensor System
25mm Mk38 mod2
two .50 cal. ROSAM (stabilized mount) plus two .50 cal. in soft mounts
ESM system
Mk53 mod X ASCM decoy system

Commentary: No surprise in what was mentioned. The radar fire control system that was included in previous specifications was not mentioned. This may have been simply an omission, but the Electro-Optic System might also serve as a firecontrol system, although it would be decidedly inferior to a radar system against surface targets in low visibility and against air targets in all situations. Consequently I am a bit concerned that this system has been compromised in the interest of simplifying the design.

The excess generator capacity may make these ships suitable for use of energy intensive weapons that may be developed in the future.

34 thoughts on “More Info on the Eastern OPC Proposal

  1. the omission of a fire control radar could be the result of using NTNO equipment instead of shipyard / contractor provided equipment

    • The radar firecontrol would be government furnished equipment and the choice not to include it would be made by the Coast Guard and would apply to all three designs.

    • Their list is not necessarily complete, so there may be others, but of all the bidders, other than HII which did submit, Bath probably has the largest staff and the most experience working with the Navy, so they were best prepared to submit a short fuse proposal quickly.

      • That makes sense, thank you for the response.

        I think the Navy definitely needs 52 small surface combatants, but I’m not sure they need 52 LCS. There are other roles for small surface combatants that littoral combat. What would be appealing about something like the Bath OPV is that it would allow for the economy of scale if the USCG chose that design. The Freedom and Independence are never going to be long endurance ships well suited for arctic waters, a navalized OPC would. An order of 10 or so would seem to make a lot of sense and offer different capabilities than the LCS.

        My concern with a navalized NSC is that it would cost about a billion (not including R&D), at which point I’d say just put the money towards as many Burkes as possible.

  2. Thanks a lot for this post, Chuck, the commentary seems pretty reasonable to me.

    Now if only the other bidders would read this blog and see the benefit of giving we the knuckle-dragging public some numbers to chew over.

    • I would think the shipyards would want to publicly brag on their submissions. Might have some influence on the upcoming Navy Small Surface Combatant selection.

      • I still think the USN will try to avoid a downselect and will keep buying a modified LCS from both shipyards. It is the best way to keep the program from getting killed in Congress because you have twice as many Reps and Senators protecting their district.

        I haven’t read anything that seems to indicate that the USN is interested in building shared platforms with the USCG like the OPC or NSC for reasons I don’t understand. A version of the FRC would seem like the natural replacement for the Cyclones when they retire too.

        It surprises me that Greenert hasn’t show any interest in sharing platforms with the USCG, because in general he really has been open to innovative ideas to lower shipbuilding costs and avenues to building more cost effective platforms. The JHSV, MLP, and AFSB all come to mind.

      • While Greenert may think a little outside the box, the historical momentum is that the Navy looks down on CG designs. The PF 4921 will not fly because it is not built to Level II survivability standards and 12 vls silos are inadequate. Other than those 2 items, HII would have made it a difficult offer to reject. The OPCs, likewise, are not designs optimized for USN missions.

        The lesson of the LCS is that small-and-cheap(?), do not equal capable or worthwhile. The LCS is just an ocean-deployable patrol boat with an expensive pricetag and questionable mission modules to give it some capability to say the Navy replaced the mine warfare vessels. In a real war it will be less than useless, unless one accepts the idea of using them as sacrificial ASM sponges to protect other assets or at least dilute the number of inbound missiles.

        Hopefully, the thinking of a vessel at least capable of defending itself will continue ahead.

    • As far as the LCS and OPC the primary difference would be that the LCS is designed for shallow waters and high speed, the OPC is designed for deeper water, with less speed and more endurance. The OPC is also being speced to have ice strengthening for the hull.

      • So in comparison, would the LCS be considered an OPC from it’s current standpoint. Also would the LCS-1 design make a perfect OPC if they made design changes such as engines, fuel tanks, hull and structural modifications.

      • I think you might be correct.
        It would still have a shallower draft though, and I’m not sure how easy it would be to ice strengthen the hull.

      • LCS’s hull design is optimized for high speed, sacrificing seaworthiness and fuel economy at moderate speed. OPCs are optimized for moderate speed and high sea states. Completely different and conflicting design objectives.

      • It would be an interesting twist if Congressional dissatisfaction with the LCS resulted in the LCSes being turned over to the CG for “suitable” operations like drug and migrant interdiction in the Carribean and the Gulf. They’d be useless in a hurricane, but they may not be half bad for the stated missions…

        The USN could keep 12-20 for places like the HOA, and USCG could get the rest.

  3. Some interesting movement reported by Tim Colton’s Maritime Memos (http://www.coltoncompany.com/) regarding STX Canada, that I believe was involved in the design of Eastern’s contender,

    “STX Canada Marine, undoubtedly one of the best firms of naval architects around, has been sold yet again. (What is it? Eight times in the past 20 years?) This time it’s Vard which has bought it and the name will be changed to Vard Marine Inc. Who, do I hear you cry? Vard is a Norwegian company, although it’s stock is traded on the Singapore exchange. It’s a big player in OSV construction, with ten mid-sized shipyards in Norway, Romania, Brazil and Vietnam – that’s Langsten Verft on the right. Visit them at http://www.vard.com. Until recently, Vard was called STX OSV and was owned by Korea’s STX Corporation, as was STX Marine Canada, but with separate lines of communication to top management in Seoul. It is now 55% owned by Fincantieri, who also, as you know, own Marinette Marine and Bay Shipbuilding. Read Vard’s brace of announcements here and here. The deal is priced at NOK 65 million and includes STX USA Marine, in Houston, and STX Canada Marine’s Ottawa office. So, is this good news or bad? It has to be good news, if only because it leaves the existing management team in place and gives them access to Vard’s portfolio of designs. The negative has to be the involvement of Fincantieri: I used to be favorably disposed to Fincantieri but I’ve been turned off by what they’re doing to Marinette. Let’s hope that’s an aberration and the Vard experience will be positive. July 4, 2014.”

  4. One thing I don’t understand. The NZ OPV was built by Tenix, an Australian BAE owned company. Eastern is teamed with STX. Is there a connection between STX and BAE that I am not aware of?

  5. I just saw that the NZ OPV was designed by STX Canada, just built by Tenix (presumably before BAE bought them). So now I get it.

  6. Pingback: Pacific Fisheries Standoff | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  7. If Eastern shipyard’s guesstimates are correct I really like the range and speed of the Eastern proposal. Good looking ship also.

  8. http://www.wjhg.com/content/news/Eastern-Shipbuilding-in-Panama-City-awarded-largest–393620391.html

    Some updated specifications apparently but not all of them, “The Coast Guard conducted a thorough evaluation of the three proposals based on technical, management, producibility, and price factors. Eastern’s design includes the following features: Length 360 Feet; Width 54 Feet; Speed in excess of 22 knots; Capable of carrying an MH-60R or MH-65 Helicopter; Capable of carrying Three OTH small boats. The vessel also includes a highly sophisticated combat system and C4ISR communication suite which will allow the Coast Guard to continue to support and execute the Coast Guard’s missions.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s