23 juin 2022 | International, Naval

Austal USA gets $128 million Navy floating dry dock contract

Austal USA announced it has been awarded a $128 million contract for the U.S. Navy’s auxiliary floating dry dock medium (AFDM), to be built in Mobile, Ala.


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  • SECNAV: Ford Issues Due To Cost Cap, Explains Timeline

    4 novembre 2019 | International, Naval

    SECNAV: Ford Issues Due To Cost Cap, Explains Timeline

    By Rich Abott | The Secretary of the Navy today said the cost cap on the first Ford-class aircraft carrier helped lead to problems resulting in delays to the advanced weapons elevators (AWEs) and explained the government’s issues and changing strategy with the shipbuilder. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said on Wednesday at a Heritage Foundation press roundtable that the Navy and shipbuilder/AWE builder Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] planned to build a test elevator site, similar to the electromagnetic advanced landing system (EMALS) located in Lakehurst, N.J. The Navy has used Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to test the General Atomics advanced arresting gear (AAG) and EMALS hundreds of times before testing them on the first new carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). “Then we had the cost cap come in. And as [HII president and CEO] Mike Petters can say, you know fine, the cost cap comes in and no one builds the land site elevator. We had to cut costs somewhere. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy,” Spencer said. In February, the Navy said it would start building the AWE land-based test site, after the fact, in Philadelphia (Defense Daily, Feb. 20). Spencer said he thinks about it and wonders if anyone was expecting there to be second and third order effects of a cost cap. “You don’t get anything for free and you’re not going to drive quality by cost cap. We have to start thinking differently when we go to cost control.” Spencer also further illuminated the Navy’s work with HII on the elevators. Last week, he strongly criticized the company after delays on the AWEs, saying the Navy’s faith and confidence with HII senior management on the project were very low (Defense Daily, Oct. 25). On Monday, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts said the Navy-HII team’s output on the elevators has been much better in the last few months and he was cautiously optimistic on progress of the Ford elevators (Defense Daily, Oct. 29). Spencer said in fall 2018 the Navy was finalizing the HII elevator plan. The company gave him a chart that said all 11 AWEs would be tested and certified by the end of the planned post-shakedown availability (PSA), which was then planned for July 15. He said HII management reported high confidence of this timeline while Naval Reactors told him due to throttle and bearing issues the PSA would likely be pushed into September or October, “so I had more margin there. Did I feel confident? Completely confident.” Then, in January, Spencer said he made a bet with President Trump that the AWEs would be finished with the PSA or he could be fired (Defense Daily, Jan. 8). Spencer explained this was meant to rally the shipbuilders. “What we weren’t seeing down there was the spring in the step of the people on the waterfront, to be very frank with you. It was business as usual. So we said ok, here’s a rally point, we’re going to commit to this.” However, in May 2019 he said HII management “goes oops, here we are, elevators aren’t going to be ready until the end of 2020, possibly 2021. And that’s when I went, do they really know what they’re doing?” Spencer called that a moment of inflection and called Thomas Fargo, chairman of the board of HII, asking if the board knew what was going on with management “because out trust and confidence on this specific project of the elevators has eroded significantly.” While Spencer said Fargo said yes, there were continued frustrations on the government side. “That’s when Hondo [Geurts] and I said let’s get a tiger team down there and let’s take this over as the general contractor and HII can sub to us. And that’s basically what’s happened this last 3 months.” Spencer said he went to the president and, after explaining the situation, was told “it’s a complex system, keep knocking down the dragons.” When asked if these lessons would apply to future ships, Spencer said the Navy wants to avoid a cost cap for the lead ship in a new class like upcoming guided-missile future frigate, FFG(X). “We have to have an open discussion on first of class. Now, these are proven designs so it’s going to be a little different, but we are adjusting it here and there and yes we should expect some hiccups,” he continued. “Expectation management, I think, is key.” Going forward, Spencer argued perhaps the Navy should make requirements for ships more flexible. He compared the Navy’s process to the airline industry, which requires an airplane that can fit a certain number of people to transport them a certain amount of miles and has few change orders, then examines the options. However, the government has shrunk the competitive base so far that contractors agree to following requirements but only if the government takes 60 to 100 percent of the risk. “In some cases, you’d love to say should we change requirements to requests? Because if in fact you’re a shipbuilder, why should I definitively lock you in if you have better ideas? Where is the flow to say if you want to get here you might want to consider this, which his 80 percent of the solution versus I will drive to 100% of your solution but the cost is going to be up here?” Spencer said he understands it is difficult to change requirements because they serve a definite purpose but wondered at what cost and percent mission capability can the government make a compromise compared to the current inflexibility. Relatedly, Spencer said he has “medium confidence” that a recent $197 million reprogramming request to Congress to fund more Ford fixes will be enough, simply because “first of classes is tough.” “I’d be remiss if I said that was the last, to be very frank. I’d rather have the option to say we’re going to come for more than saying no we’re capped off now. I feel good on what we’re finally learning on the end of this birthing process,” Spencer said. https://www.defensedaily.com/secnav-ford-issues-due-cost-cap-might-need-money/navy-usmc/

  • Meggitt: $323m multi-year agreement with U.S. Defense Logistics Agency

    3 octobre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Meggitt: $323m multi-year agreement with U.S. Defense Logistics Agency

    Meggitt PLC, a leading international company specialising in high performance components and sub-systems for the aerospace, defence and energy markets, has been awarded a five year Indefinite Demand/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) agreement with U.S. Defence Logistics Agency to supply wheels, brakes and related spare parts. The contract, worth $323m over the life of the award, covers the supply of depot-level spares for a number of defence platforms including F-16 Falcon, H-60 Blackhawk and CH-47 Chinook. The contract includes a further five year option period and replaces a prior five year IDIQ agreement which expired on 30 September 2018. President of Meggitt’s Aircraft Braking Systems, Luke Durudogan said: “This award demonstrates the trust and confidence that our customers have in our employee’s expertise, products and services. We look forward to working in partnership with the U.S. Defence Logistics Agency.” ENDS Enquiries Sarah Taylor Communications Manager Meggitt PLC Tel: +44 (0) 7395 788 748 Email: press.office@meggitt.com About Meggitt PLC Headquartered in the United Kingdom, this international group operates in North America, Europe and Asia. Known for its specialised extreme environment engineering, Meggitt is a world leader in aerospace, defence and energy. Meggitt employs more than 11,000 people at over 40 manufacturing facilities and regional offices worldwide. https://www.meggitt.com/news/meggitt-awarded-323-million-multi-year-agreement-with-u-s-defense-logistics-agency/

  • Battle Force 2045 could work — if defense leaders show some discipline

    23 octobre 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Battle Force 2045 could work — if defense leaders show some discipline

    By: Timothy A. Walton and Bryan Clark  U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is sprinting. With less than four months left in the administration’s term, he unveiled a new vision for the Navy that would grow the fleet to more than 500 manned and unmanned vessels from today’s 296 ships. Although some dismiss Esper’s Battle Force 2045 concept as a political ploy shortly before an election, it could lead to a more effective and affordable future fleet — as long as Navy and Department of Defense leaders can avoid loading it down with expensive options. The Navy clearly needs to change its force design and operational approach. Even though naval forces are increasingly important to deter and defeat Chinese aggression, the Navy’s previous plan to build a force of 355 ships lacked resilience and firepower, fell short on logistics, and was projected to cost 50 percent more than the current fleet. The Navy tried to adjust that plan with an integrated naval force structure assessment, but Esper rejected it, as it failed to implement new concepts for distributed multidomain operations and would be too expensive to realistically field. Instead, over the course of nine months, he and Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist led a study taking a fresh look at the Navy’s force structure. The Hudson Institute contributed to the project by developing one of three fleet designs that informed the new plan. Hudson’s proposed fleet is affordable to acquire and operate. Even though it consists of 581 vessels, more than 200 are unmanned or have small crews. The Hudson study’s conservative estimates suggest it can be acquired for the ship construction funding in the Navy’s President’s Budget for fiscal 2021, adjusted for inflation, and would only cost moderately more than the current one to operate. The Hudson proposal becomes more affordable than the Navy’s plan by gradually rebalancing the fleet to incorporate more smaller, less-expensive ships and fewer large multimission combatants. The proposed fleet would also constrain the size and cost of some large new ships, such as the future large surface combatant and next-generation attack submarine. Employing new operational concepts, the proposed fleet would outperform the current Navy in important metrics for future operations. First, the proposed fleet’s groups of manned and unmanned vessels would generate more numerous and diverse effects chains compared to today’s Navy, improving the force’s adaptability and imposing greater complexity on enemy decision-making. Second, the fleet would deliver more offensive munitions from vessels and aircraft over a protracted period, and defend itself more effectively using distribution, shorter-range interceptors and electric weapons. Lastly, it enhances the fleet’s amphibious, logistics and strategic sealift capacity. Overall, this results in a Navy that can help the joint force prevail across a range of potential scenarios, including the most challenging ones such as an attempted Chinese attack on Taiwan. The Hudson fleet is also achievable. Its shipbuilding plan relies on mature technologies or allows sufficient time to complete needed engineering and operational concept development before moving ships into serial production. The plan sustains the industrial base through stable ship-construction rates that avoid gaps in production and smoothly transition between ship classes. Even with this measured approach, however, the fleet can rapidly evolve, reaching more than 355 manned and unmanned vessels by 2030, and 581 by 2045. Although Battle Force 2045 focuses on ships, the Navy needs to spend more on improving repair yard infrastructure, growing munitions stocks, and providing command-and-control capabilities to the force. As the Hudson study shows, ship construction savings could help fund these and other enablers, but only if the Navy and the DoD have the discipline to avoid expensive new investments, such as building a third attack submarine every year, installing boost-glide hypersonic missiles on old destroyers or pursuing a significantly larger combatant to follow the Arleigh Burke class. Even if the procurement cost of these programs was funded through budget shifts within the DoD, each will incur a sustainment bill that is not factored into Navy plans and could accelerate the descent toward a hollow force. The Navy is now developing a new shipbuilding plan as part of its FY22 budget submission. Congress should carefully assess that plan and, in collaboration with the DoD, refine the budget. Esper may depart, but the results of this study can serve as a starting point for an operationally effective and fiscally sustainable fleet for the next administration. Timothy A. Walton is a fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Defense Concepts and Technology, where Bryan Clark is a senior fellow. Along with Seth Cropsey, they recently completed a study of future naval force structure. https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2020/10/22/battle-force-2045-could-work-if-defense-leaders-show-some-discipline/

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