Shipbuilding Trends

For those that might like some illustrations to clarify the the acronyms that are being used to describe various ways ships are being powered now, I found a pdf “Naval Shipbuilding, Current Developmental Trends with Combatants and Combat Support Ships,” that shows layouts for six of them:

• CODAD (Combined Diesel and Diesel)
• CODOG (Combined Diesel or Gas Turbine)
• CODAG (Combined Diesel and Gas Turbine)
• CODAG-WARP (Combined Diesel and Gas
Turbine — Waterjet and Refined Propeller)
• CODELAG (Combined Diesel Electric and
Gas Turbine)
• AE (All Electric).

It goes on to talk about hull forms, alternatives to conventional propellers, construction materials and modularity.

Beginning on the about fourth page (of nine, marked as page 29) it becomes a sales pitch for two concepts that were being promoted by Blohm and Voss. One of them, the MEKO CSL (combat ship, littoral). might be of some interest in that it is not too far from the specs for the Offshore Patrol Cutter, except that it appears too compromised toward higher speed and does not look like it has either the endurance or the seakeeping that would make a good cutter.

Reflections on the CNO’s Navigation Plan CNO has issued a “navigation plan” for for Fiscal Years 2013-2017 that can be accessed here. (It’s only four pages.)

“The Nav Plan provides details on how we will execute this guidance, highlighting our investments through the lens of my three tenets: Warfighting First, Operate Forward, and Be Ready.”

Most of it is, of course, not Coast Guard related, but there are some that might ultimately impact the Coast Guard.

Under “Warfighting First”:

“Improve near-term capability to counter fast attack craft by fielding enhanced gun and surface-to-surface missile systems for Patrol Coastal (PC) ships and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and laser-guided rockets for helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).”

Some of this might ultimately be applicable to CG platforms.

Under “Operate Forward”:

“Sustain the “places” our forward operating forces depend on to rest, repair, refuel, and resupply in Spain, Italy, Greece, Djibouti, Diego Garcia, Bahrain, Japan, Singapore, and Republic of Korea – as well as our forward base on Guam”

“Field improved Firescout UAVs…”

“Forward station additional ships – LCS at Singapore and PCs at Bahrain – to improve our ability to cooperate with regional partners in maritime security operations.”

“Improve our ability to remain forward by studying options for rotational crewing of other classes of ships.”

We already have Patrol Boats at Bahrain. We may see an additional push to put more assets, including perhaps more than one FRC, in Guam, (maybe not a bad thing for SAR and Fisheries enforcement). The increased Navy presence in Guam may also provide opportunities to exploit their units for SAR and LE as well.

Hopefully the CG will benefit from improvements in Firescout, but the Navy is talking about increasing the size of the airframe substantially which may be problematic for CG ships.

Certainly there will the opportunity to share experience in rotational crewing, and perhaps make it work.

Under “Be Ready”:

“Improve the “wholeness” of the Aegis Weapons System through data link and software upgrades while adding the Shipboard Self Defense System to more non-Aegis ships, such as amphibious assault ships.”

“Improve operational energy efficiency by investing in new technologies such as hybrid-electric drive.”

The weapon systems on the NSCs, and presumably the OPCs, are derived from the Aegis system and, I believe, closely related to the Shipboard Self Defense System for non-Aegis ships mentioned above. As the system evolves, ultimately we might see the Rolling Airframe Missile system replace the Phalanx on the NSCs. It is essentially the same weight and is used by the very similar system on the Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ship.

The Navy is already using hybrid-electric drive on the USS Makin Island (LPD-8) and a fully integrated system on the USNS Louis and Clark class T-AKEs. There may be opportunities to ride the coat tales of their experience. Fuel economy is probably even more important to the Coast Guard than to the Navy.

What was not there:

I notice there was no mention of either African Partnership station or Drug Enforcement.

Ship Design Efficiencies

GCaptain has published a nice two part presentation by Wartsila discussing ways to make ship propulsion more efficient. The target audience is merchant ships, but much of it is applicable to Cutters.

Makes me more convinced than ever that, considering life-cycle costs, an integrated propulsion and ship service electrical system, like that already being used successfully on the Lewis and Clark class T-AKEs (and planned for the DDG-1000), combined with Azipod propulsion should be seriously considered for the Offshore Patrol Cutter.