Wednesday, April 28, 2010

LCS-2 is Done...Kaput...It's Over...That's a Wrap

Amazing, the Alabama Senators with their CBO report request cinched the decision away from LCS-2 in favor of LCS-1...


"Report: Fuel Factors Less Than Price For LCS"
Published: Apr. 28, 2010

Fuel costs for the U.S. Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) are calculated by a new Congressional report to be about 11 percent of total life-cycle costs - far less than the 64 percent figure represented by the price to buy the ship.

The relative insignificance of the fuel figure to the purchase price is at odds with claims by Alabama's Senate delegation that the Navy should give more weight to fuel efficiency in its pending choice of which LCS to buy. Navy officials have repeatedly said that the selection, expected sometime this summer, will be based largely on purchase price rather than lifecycle costs.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., asked the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to study the effect of fuel costs and other factors on lifecycle costs. Sessions is supporting the aluminum-hulled trimaran LCS design built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. That ship is competing with a Lockheed Martin LCS built in Wisconsin.

Sessions and his Senate colleague, Richard Shelby, R-Ala., have repeatedly said the Austal USA ship is more fuel-efficient than the Lockheed ship, particularly at higher speeds...

The study, sent to Sessions on April 28...

CBO concluded that, as a percentage of life-cycle costs, fuel costs made up 8 percent of the low-fuel ship, 11 percent for the moderate-fuel ship, and 18 percent of the high-fuel ship.

Comparatively, procurement cost for the low-fuel ship made up 66 percent of the life-cycle cost, 64 percent for the moderate-fuel ship and 58 percent of the high-fuel ship...

>>>Rest of Article>>>

Austal can forget about LCS. They're lucky to get any JHSV's. Tough bloody luck, blokes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lockheed, Austal submit bids for LCS

Lockheed, Austal submit bids for US Navy warships
Lockheed Martin and Australia's Austal Ltd submitted bids on Monday for a deal valued at well over $5 billion to build more Littoral Combat Ships (LCS)...

2 contractors submit bids for up to 10 US warships
AP - Forbes
Officials from Lockheed Martin and Austal USA confirmed their bids were submitted on Monday...

New Revelations about MARAD and Superferry

Two new articles yesterday with previously unreported information by a Ryan Sibley of the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group:


"Government agency with a history of taxpayer losses keeps at it"
By Ryan Sibley Apr 12, 2010

Between 2004 and 2009, the U.S. Maritime Administration, or MARAD, a federal agency that supports the U.S. shipbuilding industry and merchant marine, made just one loan from its troubled Federal Ship Financing Program, also known as Title XI. The borrower was Hawaii Superferry Inc., a politically connected company that hired a former chief counsel and deputy administrator of MARAD, among others, to lobby the agency. In 2005, Hawaii Superferry got a taxpayer-guaranteed loan for $139 million to build and operate a pair of high-speed ferries in the fiftieth state. Just four years later, the company filed for bankruptcy, listing assets of a mere $1 million.

The failure was par for the course for a program that even the business-friendly administration of George W. Bush branded as an “unwarranted corporate subsidy.”...

Loan guarantees issued by Title XI slowed drastically in years following the default of American Classic Voyages. Hawaii Superferry received the only guarantee issued in 2005 and the last one until 2009. Disclosure records show the company lobbied Congress and MARAD in 2005 regarding ship financing and Title XI amid the program slow down.

The company hired Blank Rome LLP to push its interests in Washington; among the firm’s lobbyists that represented Hawaii Superferry was Joan Bondareff , who served as chief counsel and acting deputy administrator for MARAD during the Clinton administration . She’d also served as the majority counsel to the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Blank Rome reported receiving $20,000 in fees from Hawaii Superferry in 2005; the company got a taxpayer-guaranteed loan for $139 million to pay for construction and operation of a pair of high-tech catamarans... >>>Rest of Article>>>

Also from:

"Hawaii Superferry: An ulterior motive?"
By Ryan Sibley Apr 12, 2010

Was the Hawaii Superferry project conceived of as a means of securing a military contract? Speculation in Hawaii among activists that the ferries might have eventually been used for interisland transport of the Army’s Stryker brigade and other military equipment fueled conflict between protestors and Superferry supporters.

In March 2005, John F. Lehman, a former Navy Secretary during the Reagan administration and the company's principal investor, told Pacific Business News that there was a possibility the ferries would be used to move military cargo. In 2008, the former CEO and President of HSF, Inc., Thomas Fargo, said that was still a possibility, and the company’s lobbyists at Blank Rome LLP reported being paid $210,000, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, to lobby for inclusion in a Defense Department program that would pay to have improvements made to the Hawaii Superferry’s two high speed catamarans that would make them more militarily useful... >>>Rest of Article>>>

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hawaii Senate Kills HB 2667 study for state-run ferry

Here's the total vote, published nowhere else publicly. Somebody may have been trying to protect the losing Ayes by not publishing their names. Well here they are:

4/6/2010SHB 2667 failed to be adopted; Failed to pass Third Reading. Ayes, 8 (Senator(s) Espero, Gabbard, Green, Hanabusa, Kim, Sakamoto, Takamine, Taniguchi). Noes, 17 (Senator(s) Baker, Bunda, Chun Oakland, English, Fukunaga, Galuteria, Hee, Hemmings, Hooser, Ige, Ihara, Kidani, Kokubun, Nishihara, Slom, Tokuda, Tsutsui).

Here's a good report on it:


"Hawaii Senate rejects state ferry service study"
By MARK NIESSE, Associated Press 04.07.10

HONOLULU -- The Hawaii Senate has sunk an idea that would have studied the creation of a state-sponsored ferry service between the islands...

It was the only bill killed in the Senate on Tuesday amid dozens of other proposals that advanced to conference committees for final negotiations before the Legislature adjourns April 29.

>>>Full Article Here>>>

Souki said it would, "SAIL on Through." Apparently NOT, Mr. Souki.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

GAO's Most Recent Report on JHSV and LCS

Some nuggets from the most recent GAO report on JHSV:


The JHSV is a joint Army and Navy program to acquire a high-speed, shallow-draft vessel for rapid intratheater transport of combat-ready units. The ship will be capable of operating without reliance on shore based infrastructure. The program awarded a detail design and construction contract with options for nine additional ships to Austal USA in November 2008, and DOD authorized construction of the first ship in December 2009...

Design and Production Maturity

In December 2009, DOD authorized the shipbuilder to start JHSV lead ship construction with 65 percent of the ship’s 3D product model complete. According to program officials, the product modeling is complete for some of the JHSV’s most complex modules, including the machinery, water jet, and generator rooms. The decision to authorize construction is not consistent with GAO recommended shipbuilding best practices, which call for achieving a complete and stable 3D product model before construction begins. The program office believes that the completion of the model prior to construction start is less critical for its program because the JHSV is not as complex as other Navy ships, such as the DDG 1000 or the T-AKE. The Navy also demonstrated JHSV design maturity by tracking the number of critical drawings approved by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). As of December 2009, ABS has approved 99 percent, or 319 out of 321, of JHSV’s critical design drawings used to build the 3D product model. Program officials estimate that 70 percent of the JHSV design is the same as the commercial Hawaii Superferry produced by the JHSV shipbuilder. However, the differences, which include the firefighting system, hotel services, aviation accessibility, and the addition of a limited self-defense capability, affect a large area of the JHSV...

In order to achieve the necessary production rate, the shipbuilder built a modular manufacturing facility, which marks a change in production strategy for the yard. Prior to using this facility to build the JHSV, the shipbuilder built components of the Littoral Combat Ship in the facility. In addition, it built a pilot JHSV module in the facility prior to lead-ship construction start. While modular manufacturing decreases the number of workers needed, the contractor experienced hiring issues and program officials anticipate that the shipyard will be challenged to hire a sufficient number of workers with critical skills as its workload increases...

And the LCS nuggets:

The Navy’s LCS is designed to perform mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare, and
surface warfare missions. It consists of the ship itself, or seaframe, and the mission package it
deploys. The Navy plans to construct the first four seaframes in two unique designs, then select one design for the remainder of the class. The first seaframe (LCS 1) was delivered in September 2008 with the second seaframe (LCS 2) following in December 2009. We assessed both seaframes. See pages 97-98 for an assessment of LCS mission packages...

...The Navy identified watercraft launch and recovery as a major risk for both designs...

...Challenges for LCS 2 include completing required endurance testing of the main propulsion diesel engines and addressing pitting and corrosion in the waterjets...

Technology Maturity

Seventeen of 19 critical technologies for both LCS designs are mature. For LCS 2, the trimaran hull and aluminum structure are nearing maturity. The Navy identified watercraft launch and recovery—essential to complete the LCS antisubmarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions—as a major risk to both seaframe designs. Watercraft launch and recovery systems have not been fully demonstrated for either seaframe...For LCS 2, factory testing of the twin boom extensible crane revealed performance and reliability concerns that were not fully addressed prior to installation. In addition, program officials report the LCS 2 main propulsion diesel engines have not completed a required endurance test, in part due to corrosion in each engine’s intake valves. As an interim solution, the Navy has installed new intake valves, which enabled the ship to complete acceptance trials. LCS 2 has also experienced pitting and corrosion in its waterjet tunnels. The Navy has temporarily fixed the issue and plans to make weld repairs to pitted areas during a future dry dock availability.

...At fabrication start for each ship, approximately 69 percent (LCS 3) and 57 percent (LCS 4) of basic and functional drawings were complete. Starting construction before drawings are complete could result in costly out-of-sequence work and rework to incorporate new design attributes...

...For LCS 3, the contractor has incorporated a design change to extend the transom by four meters to improve stability...

...Navy officials report that the earned value management systems (EVMS) in each of the LCS shipyards do not yet meet Defense Contract Management Agency requirements. Under the terms of the LCS 3 and LCS 4 contracts, the shipyards must achieve EVMS certification within 28 months from the date of the award. Until those requirements are met, cost and schedule data reported by the prime contractors cannot be considered fully reliable.

...The Navy stated that LCS 1 now meets the damage stability requirement with the addition of external tanks on the rear of the ship...

...To address corrosion of the waterjet tunnels, the Navy stated that electrical isolation of propulsion shafts from the waterjets is being incorporated and a plan is in place to renew the corroded metal in the waterjet intake tunnels.

There you have it.