“Designing the New National Security Multi-Mission Vessel” for State Maritime Academies

MarineLink reports MARAD is planning a new class of ships to serve as training ships for the five State Maritime Academies (SMA). Additionally these ships are expected to be available to respond to Natural Disasters. The new design is being referred to as the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV).

NSMMV Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response facilities will be concentrated at the sternHerbert Engineering Corp (HEC) prepared a conceptual level design for the NSMV.

DESIGN PARTICULARS
Length o.a.: 159.85 m (524.5 ft.)
Beam: 27 m (88.6 ft.)
Draft: 6.5 m (21.4 ft.)
Design service speed: 8 knots/15% sea margin
Cruising Speed: 12 knots
Propulsion: Diesel Electric
Propulsion engines: 4 x Diesel Generators
Total installed Power: 15,680 kW
Propellers: 1 propeller, fixed pitch
Rudders: 1 flap type rudder on centerline
Fuel: Single fuel – marine gas oil (MGO), max Sulfur content 0.1%
Bow Thruster: retractable combi type – tunnel thruster in up position, azimuthing thruster in down position, “Take Home” source of power, 1450 kW
Stern Thruster: Tunnel type, 890 kW
Fuel Consumption: 60 tons/day @ 18 knots,  26 tons/day at 12 knots
Fresh Water (including sanitary water): 35 gal/day per person for 700 = 93 tons + 5 tons Ship Service FW = 98 tons/day
Fuel range: About 11,000 nm range @ 18 knots design speed with 10% remaining fuel
Food & Stores: 60 days food storage for 700 persons, 297 sq. m. (3,200 sq. ft.) reefer provisions,  240 sq. m. (2,580 sq. ft.) dry provisions
Propulsion motors: 2 x 4,500 kW propulsion motors. Motors in separate watertight compartments.
Electric Power: 6,600 V main power generation, 440 V ship service electric power, 120 V lighting and accommodations
RoRo deck: RoRo space aft with length of about 40 m (130 ft), width inside framing of 24 m (80 ft), clear height of at least 4.7 m (15.3 ft). Usable deck area is about 1,000 sq. m. (10,700 sq. ft.). Suitable for about 10 x 40 ft trailers with 26 autos or about 49 autos/light trucks.
Total container capacity: about 64 TEU for two high.
Crane: 1 x Jib Boom type with 35 MT SWL x 24 m outreach
RoRo ramp: 20 ft. wide watertight wide side ramp with 40 ton capacity

(Image: Herbert Engineering / MARAD)

Navy’s new 40 foot Force Protection Patrol Boat

Navy 40 foot PB(X) to be built by Metal Shark

The Navy has recently awarded Metal Shark a contract for a new “force protection” patrol boat.

The basic information is:

LOA: 43′ 11″app
HULL LENGTH: 40’ 3″
BOA: 11’ 10″
Metal Shark claims the boat is optimized for normal patrol speeds of 10-12 knots while capable of economical operation at higher speeds of 35+ knots.
It appears the expected weapons fit is a .50 caliber in a remote weapons station forward and three crew served .50 calibers aft. Two LRAD (long range audio devices) also appear to planned.

PB-X aft, LRAD and .50 cal.

Undoubtedly there will be comparisons drawn between these and the Coast Guard boats that also do escorting duties. After all, the Coast Guard probably does many more escort missions as part of the Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security mission than the Navy ever will. The Coast Guard escorts passenger vessels, hazardous cargoes, Navy surface ships, and even Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines.
Our closest comparable boat is the Response Boat, Medium. The RB-M may be a bit faster. It appears that this new Navy boat may be better equipped for the escort mission than the RB-M or even most 87 foot WPBs. The LRAD looks like a good idea to warn away the innocent, and if the use of deadly force is necessary, the Navy boat looks like it will have heavier weapons and the remote weapon station means greater accuracy and less chance of collateral damage.
I have quoted the Metal Shark news release below. In addition there is a lot more information about the boat here.

October 2, 2017: Metal Shark Wins U.S. Navy PB(X) Patrol Boat Contract

Jeanerette, LA – October 2, 2017: Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark has been awarded the contract to produce the U.S. Navy’s next-generation patrol boat, the PB(X).

This award is the culmination of a multi-year process by the Navy to select the replacement for the fleet of force protection boats currently in use with Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s Coastal Riverine Forces (CRF). Subject to annual appropriations, the Navy intends to replace approximately 100 to 160 of its existing 25-foot and 34-foot CRF patrol boats with the larger and more modern PB(X) platform over the next fifteen years.

The Navy has placed an initial, immediate order for eleven of the new vessels. Under the terms of the award, potentially worth over $90 million, Metal Shark will build up to 50 PB(X) vessels for the Navy, along with trailers, spares and training packages, and technical support.

“PB(X) was one of the most challenging and most sought-after U.S. military boat procurement opportunities in recent history; the result of a years-long process pitting Metal Shark’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities against multiple leading U.S. naval architect firms and nearly all of our competitors,” said Metal Shark’s CEO Chris Allard. “The award of PB(X) to Metal Shark is the result of a tremendous team effort and I couldn’t be more proud of our people.”

The winning PB(X) design is a 40-foot, welded-aluminum pilothouse patrol boat designed by Metal Shark’s in-house engineering team. Leveraging its extensive experience with military patrol craft of similar size, Metal Shark designed a bespoke craft ideally suited to accommodate all mission parameters.

Immediately identifiable thanks to its chiseled, angular profile and a unique faceted hull, the PB(X) is powered by twin diesel inboards and water jets. Metal Shark designed a moderate aft deadrise, wide-waterplane, sharp-entry hull form that not only achieves 35+ knot sprint speeds while displaying superb dynamic stability in a range of conditions, but also offers enhanced handling and greatly reduced operating cost at the 10-15 knot escort and cruise speeds where the vessel will spend the bulk of its operational life. The PB(X) features ballistic protection and can be armed with a range of crew-served and remotely operated weapons systems.

In order to fully optimize the hull and propose a more mature design, Metal Shark built a PBX running prototype hull, designated PB(X)-P1, which was extensively tested in a wide range of operating conditions. This test platform became the basis for Metal Shark’s resistance, powering, and weight testing, and determined the final configuration proposed to the Navy.

“The testing of PB(X)-P1 validated our design choices, mitigated our areas of concern, and resulted in a design proven to perform exactly as expected under real-world loads and conditions,” explained Mr. Allard. “We made this up-front investment to eliminate any and all potential concerns and to deliver a thoroughly tested and proven, next-generation patrol boat platform to the U.S. Navy.”

The PB(X) will be built at Metal Shark’s Jeanerette, Louisiana production facility, which specializes in the rapid, serialized assembly of military patrol boats. Other significant military fleet builds currently underway at the facility include ongoing production of the Navy’s 32’ Force Protection Boat – Medium (FPB-M) and 26’ High Speed Maneuverable Surface Target (HSMST), and the U.S. Coast Guard’s 29’ Response Boat – Small (RBS).

This is the second major U.S. Navy contract awarded to Metal Shark in 2017. In June, Metal Shark was selected to build up to thirteen Near Coastal Patrol Vessels (NCPVs), for the Navy. These 85’ patrol boats are being produced at Metal Shark’s Franklin, Louisiana waterfront shipyard.

“Winning PB(X) is a crowning achievement for us, but there’s a lot of work ahead,” said Mr. Allard. “The Navy is a long-standing customer we’re extremely familiar with and whose needs we understand intimately. We are eager and ready to commence PB(X) production and to begin supplying the world’s greatest Navy with the world’s most advanced patrol boat.”

 

Metal Shark PBX Prototype

USCGC Maui in Trilateral Exercise Persian Gulf

An exercise that you might not have heard of.

USCGC  Maui (WPB-1304) exercised with USS “Vella Gulf” (CG-72), a cruiser, USS “Squall“ (PC-7) and USS “Thunderbolt“ (PC-12), both U.S. Navy Cyclone-class patrol (coastal) ships, a US Army Logistics Support Vessel, the Iraqi Navy, and the Kuwaiti Navy and Coast Guard.

JPALS landing aid for Coast Guard?

US Navy Photo. JPALS tactical prototype

The Navy has already chose Joint Precision Approach & Landing Systems (JPALS) and BreakingDefense reports Raytheon is offering it to the Air Force and Army. Perhaps the Coast Guard should take a look. Like the Navy, the Coast Guard operates aircraft from moving ships, with perhaps even more  “pitch, roll, surge, sway, heave, yaw, and translation”

JPALS fills the role of a TACAN, giving bearing and range to the landing area, but does it with much greater accuracy, directing the aircraft to a 20 cm (7.8″) square area, using differential GPS. It does it all in any weather and zero visibility with very low probability of intercept and in an encrypted format by data link, minimizing the need for radio communications.

Every time we turn on TACAN we broadcast the position of ship. 

Potentially it can provide a autonomous recovery for aircraft and UAVs.

“What’s more, Raytheon is finishing development of a capability for JPALS to take over the flight controls and bring the aircraft in for an automated landing with no input from the pilot – or potentially with no pilot on board at all. That is why the Navy has contracted with Raytheon to put JPALS on its future MQ-25 carrier-based drone.”

Maybe our over-the-horizon boats could use it too.

The Navy’s Problems and Underway Time as a Measure of Availability

USS John S. McCain

The US Naval Institute reports the Navy is acknowledging that they have too often let training slip, particularly among those ships forward deployed to Japan.

The Navy has been largely unable to say no to missions it’s been tasked to do in the Pacific despite not having dedicated training time or keeping up with required certifications, the chief of naval operations said in a Tuesday Senate Armed Services Committee, highlighting the bad confluence of high-demand, low resources and a “can-do attitude” within the service.


SASC Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in his opening statement that “the McCain (DDG-56) had expired training certifications in six out of the 10 key warfare mission areas. The Fitzgerald (DDG-62) had expired certifications in all 10 mission areas.”

The Coast Guard certainly has suffered its share of “Can-Do-i-tus”

I suspect much of the Navy’s overworking of their personnel is self-inflicted. Why?–Take a look at how much the Navy is underway as I will explain below.

We have all made those reports that apparently served no purpose; well intentioned reports that should have been limited to a specific period to answer a specific question; programs that are well intentioned but relatively unimportant that just crowd out what should be priority work. Even the Navy’s certification program may be unrealistically onerous. They may not have support, facilities, or funding, particularly those based in Japan, but at least I think they have time if they could get rid of the unnecessary.

How much is the Navy underway?

The USNI also provides a weekly update entitled “USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker” (https://news.usni.org/?s=USNI+News+Fleet+and+Marine+Tracker). Having looked at the last eleven weeks, less than a third (31%) of the Navy’s 276 “Battle Force” ships (including 58 MSC ships) are underway at any one time ranging from 81 to 90 ships (average 85.9). They do have a bit over a third of their ships are “deployed” (36.5%, 100.6 on average) but only 65.5% of those are underway. Ships that are not “deployed” are only underway 11.7% of the time.

The Coast Guard has historically used 185 days away from homeport criteria as a reasonable upper bound for scheduling ships, but that of course does not translate into mission days. It may include logistic stops, time in other ports, or even maintenance in a shipyard in a city other than the homeport. Congress has asked us to use another metric to measure availability. Perhaps percent of time underway is a good measure. Undoubtably it would be less than 50%, but I suspect we compare favorably with the Navy in percentage of time actually underway. We probably should make an effort to use the same criteria the Navy does.