Here is something that has come at me from multiple sources – you can blame George Talbot for this post.
All of a sudden – everyone wants to talk about fuel and LCS – so let’s talk about fuel. I was going to do this on my home blog – but decided this was a better venue.
Join me in the LCS pain, because all of this discussion is based on a ship and CONOPS that still is in its changing infancy as emerging realities about the program manifest themselves. All we have to work with are vignettes, computer models, and the low-impact test drive going on in the Caribbean right now – none show a clear picture.
Estimates on line missions – MIW, ASUW, ASW – are even fuzzier as the Mission Modules are not ready for prime-time, and even after they “are,” there won’t be enough to swap-out to any meaningful extent during a deployment, much less the infrastructure and equipment to do so forward deployed to any meaningful extent. It will be years until you get a data sample worth anything – if then.
In that light – I request that everyone keep an open mind with this post – especially you engineers. Don’t fall in love with details – have a wide standard deviation when it comes to the numbers. Any numbers others, or I use are in very large pixels. That shouldn’t stop the conversation. Be flexible, and let’s dive in.
Note the bolded section below,
“But there are troubling indications that Austal’s bid could get scuttled by politics, potentially dealing Mobile a second devastating blow while the city is still recovering from the tanker tragedy.
One of the key advantages of Austal’s LCS is that it is far more fuel-efficient than Lockheed’s heavier ship, particularly at high speeds. The cost savings over a 30-year life cycle could exceed $2 billion per vessel, according to internal Navy documents.
That’s significant at a time when Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former Mississippi governor, is trying to cut back on the Navy’s skyrocketing fuel costs.
It’s Austal’s contention, however, that the Navy’s Request for Proposals does not include life-cycle costs as a factor in the LCS contest.
While Mabus and other top Navy officials have disagreed, a top Pentagon acquisitions executive confirmed Austal’s assessment. “
SECNAV is not bluff’n about being Green. The RFP may not have included life-cycle costs, but that was then and this is now.
Take the SECNAV’s push towards Green – and then fold in the CNO’s Guidance for 2010;
We increased our focus on Total Ownership Costs (TOC) and are integrating that into every step of the Two-Pass Six-Gate acquisition review process.
We will inject discussion of TOC into all stages of program review stages ….
Total ownership and manpower costs will be key components of all programatic discussions and decisions.
Therefore – everyone needs to pivot, ponder, and discuss. LCS is going to happen – we can mitigate the pain (especially during the Terrible ’20s) by ensuring that we have the best value Tiffany; I would bet a P-3 JO’s per diem that this concern was a major driver in the CNO’s statement.
Go back to the bolded paragraph above. $2 bil per ship savings of one design over another if that ship is rode hard and left up wet through crew swapping and max time deployed. That would be with a 25kts+ avg – but let’s run with it to make a point. A lower estimate I have seen has a delta of $400 mil based on 3-months per year deployed on average.
Let’s cut the high estimate in half and call it $1 bil (no one knows what the price of fuel will be over the next 20 years, much less the effect of an overweight LCS and/or partial MMs installed) and let’s round down the platform costs (I am feeling nice today and won’t include the higher estimates over the run and the costs of MMs) and say that at the end of the production run, each ship costs $500mil. You could replace or build the ship twice with the dollars saved.
Harumph? OK, move the decimal place over one. $40 million. Enough to think about? Well, $40milx55= $2.2 billion.
We also have this from Defense Daily,
GD’S LCS BURNS LESS FUEL AT HIGHER SPEEDS, NAVY DOCUMENT SHOWS: The General Dynamics variant of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) uses less fuel per hour during higher rates of speed than the Lockheed Martin vessel, according to a Navy document. The one-page LCS Consumption Curves shows that both ships use about the same amount of fuel, or barrels, per hour between zero and 16 knots. At five knots, the General Dynamics aluminum trimaran uses 3.2 barrels per hour versus 3.9 for Lockheed Martin’s semi-planing monohull. At 14 knots, the General Dynamics ship uses 11.3 barrels per hour while the Lockheed Martin ship uses 12.7. At 16 knots, the Lockheed Martin ship uses 18.4 barrels per hour while the General Dynamics ship uses 15.5, according to the document. At 30 knots, the General Dynamics trimaran burns through 62.7 barrels per hour, while the Lockheed Martin monohull uses 102.9 barrels per hour, according to the document. At 40 knots, the Lockheed Martin ship burns through 138 barrels per hour while the General Dynamics ship uses 105.7 barrels per hour. But how often will the Navy operate either ship beyond 16 knots? According to Lockheed Martin, LCS won’t be spending a lot of time cruising at top speed. “Fuel economy is dependent on the operational profile of the ship. The Navy’s LCS mission profile, a significant criteria used to design LCS, results in the ship operating at speeds below 16 knots more than 90 percent of the time,” Kimberly Martinez, a company spokeswoman, told Defense Daily yesterday. “At this speed, Lockheed Martin’s analysis indicates its design displays better fuel efficiency due to its economical 16-cylinder diesel engines.”
And Lockheed Martin maintains that its semi-planing monohull design meets all of the Navy’s requirements. “Fuel efficiency is just one component of total ownership cost. Acquisition cost, manpower, maintenance, training and support costs are other key elements and Lockheed Martin believes its design provides the most cost-effective balance across all elements,” Martinez added. The Navy declined yesterday to comment for this article. Fuel consumption has become the focal point of efforts by Mobile, Ala.-based Austal USA and Sen. Jeff Sessions to point out that the General Dynamics-Austal USA-built LCS is more fuel efficient. At last week’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sessions raised the issue of fuel consumption during questioning of Navy leadership. Sessions asked (Defense Daily, 3/2)
Let’s chew some more.
On Baggett’s thesis linked to early on in the post, on page 38 you have this little graph – you can find the background data there.
So. Will the SECNAV want a more fuel efficient warship? Will the COCOMs want ships to be able to show up as needed throughout their AOR? Will the Maritime Component Commander want a ship that isn’t an unnecessary burden on what few replenishment assets he has available? Will the Commanding Officers of LCS want to carry the most fuel possible?
If the future is the Pacific, then with the practical nature of PACFLT ops, especially when we have so few “unsexy” replenishment platforms, is range even more critical?
From what I have seen, 5 knots gets you max range, with LCS-2 going significantly farther than LCS-1 at any speed (due to capacity). Don’t get wrapped up in the “why the h311 do it at 5 kts …”, but work with me here to make a point.
Using the Defense Daily numbers, at 5 knots LCS-2 can probably make San Diego – Pearl (refuel) – Tokyo without going below 50%; LCS-1 would be on fumes as she pulled in for the same transit, but would probably make it to Tokyo. The leg from Pearl to Tokyo is about 3,350 nm.
So, you’re SECNAV. Assume all other planning assumptions are a wash between LCS-1 and LCS-2 models – what call do you make?
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