Handling a Ticonderoga
By Lieutenant Commander James Stavridis, U. S. Navy
A new class of ship always excites a shiphandler. When the new ship is a gas turbine-powered, high-performance cruiser built on the superb lines of a Spruance (DD-963)-class destroyer, the chance to drive is especially welcome. The Ticonderoga (CG-47) class is now entering the fleet in significant numbers: five are active and four are set to commission this year. It is time to enter the forum with a few thoughts about handling the new Aegis cruisers.
The basic power plant and hull lines of the Ticonderoga class are lifted directly from the DD-963 class. Four LM-2500 gas turbines—two per shaft—deliver 80,000 shaft horsepower on demand. Throttle control can be taken directly in the pilothouse (the normal mode of operation), in the central control station (CCS), or locally in the engineering spaces. The engines can achieve no-load idle speed from cold iron in 60 seconds or less, and can accelerate from no-load to full speed and maximum power in 30 seconds or less. As a result, the Ticonderogas, like the Spruances, accelerate almost instantaneously, and will stop from all-ahead Flank III (top speed) to dead-in-the-water in two ship lengths or 60 seconds. When conning alongside a pier, this speed of response is particularly important. Generally, the effect of an engine order will be felt about the same time the engine whine can be heard in the pilothouse. The twin propellers are controllable reversible pitch.
For slow speeds, the shaft revolves at a constant speed of 55 revolutions per minute (rpms), and the propellers provide speed changes by changing pitch. Above 12 knots , the pitch is set at 100% and the shaft speed increases rpms to increase ship's speed. Each of the propellers is located ahead of one of the twin rudders. The ship's top speed is greater than 30 knots, and full rudder turns at maximum speed are possible.
A few basic dimensions important for the shiphandler to keep in mind are:
- Length: 567 feet
- Breadth: 55 feet
- Height of eye: 64 feet on the bridge
- Full-load draft: 32 feet
- Displacement: 9,600 tons
What these figures fail to convey is the sense of conning from an extreme height that the shiphandler has when he steps into the pilothouse. The bridge is two levels above a Spruance's bridge, and a full five decks above the main deck. The view is spectacular for those used to a normal frigate or destroyer conning level. The bridge wings sit just above the tops of the four massive Aegis SPY-IA/B radar arrays. To provide an unrestricted view along the sides of the ship, two platforms jut out just aft of the pilot house, constituting the signal bridge. From the end of these signal/conning platforms, the conning officer can see from the bull-nose to the fantail, and can immediately sense a shift in or out by either. This is particularly important while conning alongside a pier, when attempting to twist the fantail or bow in or out. Much of the conning alongside a pier is done from the signal platforms, which give by far the best view.
The pivot point appears to be located just aft of the pilot house, much the same as in a Spruance. When making up tugs, the pivot location should be considered. Normal make-up is a head and a quarter line for two tugs, one just forward of the brake between the forward gun mount and the pilot house. The second tug, if necessary, is generally made up on the fantail, between the stern and the after gun mount. Using either one or two tugs is a matter of the commanding officer's preference. In familiar waters, a single tug controlled by walkie-talkie or bridge-to-bridge (i.e., no pilot) is adequate. Care must be exercised in maneuvering the bow alongside a pier owing to the position of the large SQS-53 sonar dome. If a single tug is used, it is normally made up on the bow to ensure control of the dome around an obstruction (such as a pier, camel, etc.)
The most significant force acting on the ship at slow speed is the wind. The need for large block houses t6 support the Aegis combat system has created a large sail area, particularly forward. At speeds less than five knots, the wind can easily seize the forward part of the ship and push it downwind. The shiphandler must be alert to this condition. Given the ability to quickly apply reverse power, owing to the gas turbines and the propellers' pitch system, the ship is almost always safer at ten knots than at five in restricted waters. Maneuvering through a channel, for example, a combination of current, tide, and wind can easily set the ship down on a buoy at slow speeds. At ten knots, the ship remains fairly easy to handle, particularly through the turns in a narrow channel.
Around a pier, the twin propeller and rudder configuration makes shiphandling generally quite simple. A normal under way with light winds on-setting would require taking in all lines, gently pulling the bow off with a single tug, putting the rudder over, and opposing the engines to "twist" the stern off. Used in combination, such forces will move the ship to the side. The engines can be adjusted to give either slight headway or sternway as desired. Once clear of the pier, the engines can twist easily to the desired heading and the ship can come ahead fair in the channel. The only time a second tug becomes important is in strong winds or currents, when it can be made up aft to help control the ship at slow speed.
In under-way replenishment, the ship's rapid deceleration often causes the shiphandler to drop speed a bit too soon when making an approach. Generally, the best approach is to cut the engines to base speed (12 knots) from an 18-knot approach when the forward anchor capstans pass the stern of the average-sized replenishment ship. When alongside at 12 knots, adding or cutting a few revolutions will settle the ship alongside fairly quickly because the propellers are already at 100% pitch.
In anchoring, achieving slight sternway is normally quite easy. The ship is large and will glide a good way, but the moment the astern bell is touched, the hull will slow and stop. Sternway is critical given the presence of the sonar dome. A good sign that an initial effect is occurring is the whine of the turbines after the astern bell is ordered; then the conning officer can expect appreciable slowing and a quick transition to some stern way fairly quickly.
With regard to sea-keeping, the Ticonderoga class does not ride as comfortably as the Spruances owing to the Ticonderogas' heavier topside weight—although considerable additional ballast was designed into the keel. She will roll gently in calm seas, and can pitch hard in heavier weather. Like the DD-963s, the most economical speed is around 15 knots in a trail shaft configuration, i.e., one shaft trailing and the other providing the power through the water.Standard commands are much like any other gas turbine/variable-pitch propeller ship. The helm commands are identical to a conventional ship, and the engines are controlled as follows: engine (port/starboard/all), direction (ahead/back), amount (one-third/two-thirds/standard/full-flank VII/II), shaft revolutions (more than 12 knots, 55+ up to maximum) or propeller pitch (0-100% for speeds less than 12 knots) for desired speed (knots). As the helmsmen qualify and become familiar with the system, a shorthand can be used, such as: all engines ahead one-third, indicate pitch and turns for five knots. The helmsman then sets the twin throttles in the indicated position and reads back the necessary pitch and revolution information.
The CG-47s turn in tight circles for 10,000-ton ships. The advance and transfer tables indicate that 30° of rudder at 25 knots will give a 1800 turn in a little more than two minutes, and a tactical diameter of 750 yards. Given the speed and rudder involved, such a turn will lay the ship over hard. A good rule of thumb is to never use a combination of rudder and speed that totals more than 30. In other words, at 25 knots, about 5° of rudder is appropriate. Much more will generally put the next meal squarely on the deck in the center of the galley.
In heavy weather, the Ticonderoga class handles reasonably well. The ship is designed with a hurricane bow, which is helpful in high seas, but she has a tendency to pick up large amounts of water and throw it back toward the bridge if the ship is pitching into heavy seas. In seas in excess of 20 feet with winds gusting more than 50 knots, she will roll 25-35°, and occasionally roll in excess of 40°. With only five of the class in commission, heavy weather experience is limited, but generally the Ticonderogas appear balanced enough to ride out major storms.
When twisting with the engines opposed, the ship tends to move slightly forward on a one-and-one (i.e., port engine ahead one-third, starboard engine back one-third) and slightly astern with a two-and-two. Putting the rudder over in the desired bow direction will move the ship well, although a two-thirds bell on both shafts is occasionally necessary to get the large sail area through a strong wind. The ship's twin rudders have many levels of control on the bridge and in after-steering. In most cases, after-steering is not manned in regular steaming conditions.
The quickest recovery of a man overboard appears to be a simple full rudder in the direction of the man and a flank bell, i.e., a simple Anderson Turn. Given the rapid acceleration, the ship can easily be alongside the man in a few minutes. Over-the-side recovery gear is permanently set up on the port and starboard sides of the forecastle. A Y-backing turn is possible in calm seas and when the man is clearly free of the shafts (i.e., rudder over and back full) because the ship can stop so quickly, but this technique requires better shiphandling than simply coming around and steering straight down on the man in the water.
The bridge includes a tactical data console, so the full maneuvering picture available in the combat information center is also in full view on the bridge. This aids shiphandling by presenting a clear picture of area shipping to the officer of the deck, although all the conning officers need to be cautioned against an overdependence on the shipping picture at the expense of setting a solid visual watch.
Overall, the ships are powerful, easily maneuverable, and a pleasure to conn. They present a large sail area to the wind, but have the engine and rudder control to overcome virtually all situations. The bridge is high and clear, and gives the conning officer a superb picture and feel for the ship moving around him. In every sense, the Ticonderoga-classcruiser is a high-performance machine that responds well to intelligent shiphandling.
A frequent contributor to Proceedings, Commander Stavridis is the sea and anchor detail officer of the deck in the Valley Forge (CG-50), the fourth of the Ticonderoga-class cruisers. He previously served as sea and anchor detail officer of the deck in the Hewitt (DD-966), was nominated as a Pacific Fleet Shiphandler of the Year, and has published articles dealing with conning Spruance-class destroyers.
The Navy's Semi-Submersible Ultra-Heavylift Ship
By J. William Charrier and Andrew E. Gibson
In 1985, the U. S. Navy chartered one of the world's most unusual merchant ships—the semi-submersible, ultra-heavy lift ship American Cormorant—introducinga new dimension in U. S. military logistics.
The American Cormorant's capabilities center around a 394 x 135-foot lifting deck that is submerged by ballasting the ship to a depth of about 65 feet, at which point the lifting platform is 26 feet below the surface. The cargo pieces are then positioned over the deck, using winches and guideposts, and then docked by deballasting the ship.
Many of the craft and much of equipment that the American Cormorant will move cannot be towed or run under their own power over long distances; some that can are limited to a slow speed of advance and are very vulnerable to weather. The critical advantages of the ultra-heavy lift concept are time and certainty. The American Cormorant is capable of a top speed in excess of 16 knots. It is a little surprising, in fact, given the current emphasis on operations in undeveloped or damaged ports and on logistics over the shore, that this requirement did not emerge earlier. The ship was described by a senior Army official, who witnessed her capabilities in 1985, as "the missing link" in U. S. seaborne logistics.
The Navy is initially using the American Cormorant to preposition crane barges, landing craft, tugboats, and other heavy cargo pieces with the contingent of maritime prepositioning ships (MPS) stationed at Diego Garcia. This equipment is of a size and weight that is generally not transportable on conventional ships. Once stored on the semi-submersible ship, this array of harbor craft can be moved to the operating theater with the fleet and offloaded, then depart to perform a variety of secondary missions.
Submersible ultra-heavy lift ships belong to a small class that is barely five years old. The American Cormorant is one of only 14 such ships in the world. The critical nature of timing in the commercial offshore oil and gas drilling industry drove the development of these unique ships. Their primary market is the transport of giant semi-submersible and jackup drilling rigs, accommodation modules, and other offshore equipment. As the requirements to move these valuable structures over large distances grew, operators realized that the cost of transport by a semi-submersible heavy lift ship was more than offset by the time and market opportunities that would otherwise be lost moving the structures under their own power or under tow.
The American Cormorant was originally built in Sweden in 1975 as a 133,000-deadweight ton tanker, the MIV Kollbris. She was delivered just in time to become a victim of the more or less permanent collapse of the international large tanker market and, consequently, was in layup for most of the ensuing six years. She underwent a major conversion at Gotaverken Cityvarvet in Sweden and emerged in 1982 as the Ferncarrier. During her rebuilding, a 180-foot section was removed and the remaining cargo tanks were cut down to make room for the lifting deck. Additional ballast tanks were added, including a layer of small trim tanks over the original cargo tanks. This design provides exceptional stability and strength to the lifting platform: the deck can support a uniform load in excess of 5,000 pounds per square foot. The trim tanks can also function as a passive flume stabilizer system in heavy weather.
The ship is equipped with powerful fore and aft thrusters. These permit her to dock alongside without tug assist. She can maintain proper position relative to a large cargo piece or to emplace her four-point mooring system without anchor-handling tugs.
Precision in planning and executing loading operations is paramount. As with submarines, the ship's stability characteristics change dramatically as she surfaces. In lifting a large oil rig, an error of a few inches in the positioning of the cargo or a mistake in the stability calculations can cause the vessel to capsize when the lifting deck breaks the water surface. Once at sea passage draft (about 34 feet), the stability of the American Cormorant is extraordinary. During one voyage carrying a 16.800-ton rig from Korea to Scotland, the ship encountered force-ten winds and 3D-foot quartering seas. Despite these conditions, she made way at 15 knots and her angle of heel never exceeded 3.5°.
However, loading 22 U. S. Army watercraft under Military Sealift Command (MSC) charter presented a different set of problems. Since these craft are relatively light and have low centers of gravity, the stability problem during deballasting is less crucial. Here the challenge was to develop a plan to fit the various pieces on the deck, and a relatively quick loading sequence that took account of the varying drafts and sea-keeping characteristics of the craft. The ship's owners, American Automar, Inc., and her naval architects, C. R. Cushing and Company, also developed a new design for sea fastenings that eliminates the normal practice of securing large cargo units by welding them to the lifting deck. The new system also permits quick unfastening during the discharge operation.
The American Cormorant was converted in 1985 from Norwegian to U. S. flag by American Automar, becoming that owner's third ship under the U. S. flag. The company's first ship, the American Eagle, is a large, Swedish-built multipurpose vehicle carrier that has earned a reputation over the past two years as the most cost-effective cargo ship in the Navy's chartered fleet. This vessel served during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. Automar reflagged a sistership, the American Condor, in December 1984 and put it into a transatlantic service under a cooperative agreement with the European consortium Atlantic Container Line.
The American Cormorant is crewed by 19 officers and unlicensed personnel. Given the specialized expertise required, the proper manning and training program is at least as important as the hardware. Only three companies in the world—none of them U. S.—have extensive experience operating these unique ships. By chartering the American Cormorant, the U. S. Navy has set in motion a significant technology transfer into the U. S. merchant marine. The former operators of the ship, Fearnley and Eger A/S of Oslo, are working very closely with Automar and its contract operator, Pacific-Gulf Marine, Inc., to train the U. S. merchant officers and develop the detailed operating sequences required. As part of a five-month indoctrination program, the senior U. S. deck and engine officers participated in two operations while the ship was still under Norwegian flag. In the second of these voyages, the ship was chartered to lift eight U. S. Army watercraft from the United Kingdom to Charleston, South Carolina.
The capabilities of submersible heavylift ships gained the attention of military logisticians during the Falklands Conflict. During that conflict, the British Ministry of Defense chartered the Ferncarrier to transport a large, barge-mounted accommodation module. The ship performed the operation successfully under very unfavorable weather conditions off the Falklands. Since then, the U. S. Navy has been studying possible missions for semi-submersible heavy lift ships. The contingency requirements for transport and emplacement of very large cargo pieces, such as the portable offshore petroleum mono-mooring system, are increasing. In addition to cargo lift capabilities, the adaptation of this basic ship design as a remote ship repair facility shows promise.
The potential of the submersible heavy lift ship has not escaped the Soviets, who recently placed an order to construct one in the Wartsila Thrku Shipyard in Finland. The Soviets turned to Wijsmuller Engineering B.Y. of Holland, one of the three European companies specializing in ultra-heavy lift, as design and supervisory consultants.
The charter of the American Cormorant by the MSC represents more than the acquisition of a fancy new type of ship. It represents a conscious decision by the Navy to tap the expertise of the commercial marketplace for some of the more exotic military sealift requirements. In his 1980 Maritime Policy Statement, President Reagan remarked:
"We must be aware of the example of the Soviet Union, which has grasped the value and relevance of a coherent, focused and consistent national maritime policy. Their maritime activities are carefully orchestrated; their maritime resources supplement and reinforce one another. The time has come for the United States to undertake a similar commitment."
The imaginative integration of defense needs and private sector initiatives is potentially one of the most significant elements in the implementation of this policy. It is a sensible and cost-effective exercise in sea power that should become more attractive as the pressure to control the defense budget increases.
The addition of the American Cormorant to the Navy's growing overseas logistics capability indicates a new dimension in military planning. It also demonstrates a growing awareness of the diversity of commercial equipment available in the international market that can be readily adapted for military use. Moreover, it is a further indication that the Navy's planners have begun to appreciate that high-quality, modem merchant ships can be obtained for a fraction of the new building cost in the United States, allowing the Navy to concentrate its resources on the procurement of combatants for its fleet rebuilding program.
Mr. Charrier is the president, chief executive officer, and a director of American Automar, Inc. A graduate of Princeton University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, his shipping background includes experience as a partner in the Washington-based firm of Charrier, Fettig & Donalty, which was founded by his father and specializes in U. S. military and other agency transportation. Before forming Automar, he had been an executive with Defta Steamship Lines, and now serves as a director of the Fram group.
Chairman of the board of Automar, Mr. Gibson was formerly Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Maritime Affairs and U. S. Maritime Administrator, and the youngest U. S. merchant ship captain in World War II. He graduated from Brown University, received an M.B.A. from New York University, and pursued graduate business studies at Harvard Business School. He served as deck officer and master with U. S. Lines during World War II and with the Navy during the Korean War. He worked 15 years for Grace Line, Inc., and was president of Interstate Oil Transport Corporation and Delta Steamship Lines. He is an advisor to the U. S. Trade Representative, a member of the Panama Canal Commission, and served as a special envoy to the International Labor Organization at the request of the Secretary of State.
Coast Guard C3: Upgrading National Security
By Lieutenant Commander William E. Thibault, U. S. Coast Guard, Lieutenant Commander Timothy C. Haugan, U. S. Coast Guard, and Lieutenant Steven P. Wolf, U. S. Coast Guard
One of the biggest threats to U. S. national security and emergency preparedness (NSEP) is a lack of secure communications systems. Our adversaries are taking every opportunity to exploit these systems, and personnel with access to classified information can become targets for exploitation. In this connection, we usually think of the Soviet KGB, but the Coast Guard has other adversaries. For example, it conceals its law enforcement operations from those trying to smuggle illicit drugs into the country. A serious natural or man-made disaster would severely test the survivability of U. S. telecommunications systems. Thus, the Coast Guard has embarked on a major program to bolster its national command, control, and communications.
The Coast Guard's responsibilities have greatly expanded and its operating forces' activities have become more complex over the years. Because of the growing need to manage great quantities of mission-critical tactical information for all Coast Guard programs, the Office of Command, Control, and Communications (C3) was formed to provide the glue that would allow information to flow quickly and reliably from ship to shore, aircraft to shore, or aircraft to ship.
Only five years ago, the specialties of communications, electronics engineering, and data processing were integrated into what is now the C3 office.
In 1963, President Kennedy first addressed the need for a unified government communications system during emergency situations. At that time, the President issued a memorandum calling for the creation of a national communications system (NCS). The NCS has since evolved into a confederation of 22 federal agencies that lease or own telecommunications facilities or services. The NCS's primary objective is to ensure that the necessary telecommunications resources and procedures are available to support essential federal government operations during a national emergency, disaster, or international crisis.
In 1982, President Reagan addressed the need for joint industry-government planning by issuing Executive Order 12382, establishing the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). NSTAC is comprised of30 members representing the telecommunications industry. It advises the President and the NCS executive agent on implementation and operations options for national security telecommunications. In addition, the NSTAC reviews and assesses the effectiveness of Presidential Directive 53 (PD/NCS-53), which was issued to guide the NCS in its mission of ensuring effective national security telecommunications.
In 1983, the President issued National Security Decision Directive 97 (NSDD-97), which superseded PD/NCS-53 and is being implemented by the NCS. The policy objectives listed in an unclassified version of NSDD-97 are to:
- Establish a survivable and enduring national telecommunications capability composed of government, commercial, and private facilities.
- Continue to rely on commercial or private resources for critical government telecommunications.
- Assign priority to telecommunications in support of national security leadership requirements.
- Design similar government telecommunications networks to rapidly and automatically interchange traffic in support of NSEP requirements.
- Enhance the survivability and interoperability of commercial telecommunications resources.
- Apply the provisions of NSDD-97 to both U. S. government-owned and foreign government-owned telecommunications facilities and services serving U. S. activities abroad.
- Provide realistic improvements to U. S. telecommunications capabilities.
On 3 April 1984, the President signed Executive Order 12472, which formally assigned to the NCS the responsibility for improved execution of telecommunications functions supporting NSEP.
The Coast Guard supports the national goals in NSEP through the Coast Guard telecommunications system (CGTS), which is tasked to:
- Provide the connectivity through which the C3 of operational Coast Guard forces can be exercised effectively.
- Ensure connectivity, compatibility, and interoperability with the national command authorities (NCA) and federal executive agencies (FEA), especially the Navy.
- Provide effective interface with the marine transportation industry and the boating public in support of global distress and safety systems, which provide rapid and appropriate aid to vessels, persons, and aircraft in distress.
- Provide telecommunications services, including frequency management, record message service, telephone, and data service for administrative support of Coast Guard facilities.
Already in place in the CGTS is an extensive network of voice/record/data circuits that support NSEP objectives. Two of these systems are the UHF and VHFPM (line-of-sight), and MF and HF (long-range) radio communications systems, which provide the majority of the voice command' and control connectivity for mobile Coast Guard units and most of the coordination with shore units and civilian marine traffic.Examples include the national VHF-FM distress system, the MF single sideband distress system, and the Atlantic and Pacific area communication systems. These systems combine the extensive assets of nine Coast Guard communication stations. (See Figure 1.)
Another major system is the operational digital network (Odin). Recently implemented, Odin is the designated replacement for the slow-speed search and rescue Atlantic/Pacific teletype network. Odin is the Coast Guard's central network for transferring unclassified message traffic.
Concerned with the Coast Guard's communications security, the C3 office is vigorously pursuing the security and protection of all our operational and sensitive administrative telecommunications systems. Because of increasing requirements for Department of Defense (DoD) interoperability, the classification of certain law enforcement information and the Coast Guard's new responsibility for the maritime defense zones (MDZs), implementation of secure systems has been greatly accelerated.
In peacetime, the MDZ commanders will work with the appropriate Navy fleet commander for contingency planning and to conduct coastal defense training exercises. In wartime, or when directed by the President, MDZ commanders will perform those tasks assigned by the appropriate Navy fleet commander. This mission will require secure tactical communications that are interoperable with DoD forces, especially the Navy.
The Coast Guard actively participates in the federal secure telecommunications. system (FSTS); secure telephone units (STU-IIs) have been installed throughout the Coast Guard. DoD's secure voice improvement program will provide secure telecommunications capabilities to all major Coast Guard commands. VHFFM handheld radios using the data encryption standard (DES) will be used to protect short-range voice communications until secure systems are in place. DES modems are in use to protect record communications over almost all major Coast Guard landline networks. The Coast Guard's objective is to secure or protect all of its telecommunications and automatic data processing systems by 1990. These efforts include:
- Parkhill (KY-75): Secure high-frequency communications with DoD and civil departments is possible with Parkhill equipment installed on Coast Guard cutters, aircraft, and shore units. Ten million dollars have been spent to supply this equipment, which will be fully implemented by the late 1987.
- Vinson (KY-58): Vinson provides wideband secure UHFNHF voice capability for Coast Guard ships and aircraft, and will be in place in the late 1980s.
- Secure telephone units (STU-II): STU-II provides secure communications between federal agencies on the FSTS. The Coast Guard has begun implementation.
- Secure tactical C3 system: This system will permit secure tactical voice/record/data communications between ships, aircraft, and shore units. The network will consist of handhelds, mobile radios, base stations, repeaters, and high-level sites. The system is planned for implementation in the late 1980s.
- Record communications (KG-84): Currently, the Coast Guard relies on the KW-7 to provide secure record communications over radio. It will be replaced with the KG-84. In addition, more ships will be equipped with secure record communications. Major Coast Guard ships will be outfitted with an improved broadcast reception capability and upgraded with Navy manpower and material analysis center terminals (NavMacs).
- Secure command and control network (SCCN): The SCCN is an Orestes-covered teletype network, which interconnects Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, district offices, and communication stations through secure record communications. The automatic digital network will remain the system on which classified traffic will be exchanged between major Coast Guard shore commands, and to other federal agencies. The SCCN will be upgraded with KG-84s, when available, while the Coast Guard Odin will be protected with DES equipment and ultimately secured.
- Data networks: The Coast Guard has had a tremendous growth of computer facilities, and the need to exchange information from computer to computer, or terminal to computer, has mushroomed. Consequently, massive amounts of data are being transmitted throughout the country with no protection. This information, though unclassified, is sometimes sensitive, especially in the aggregate. The Coast Guard is planning to provide DES protection for this data.
The first DES-protected data network is now being created. The law enforcement information system, based at the Operational Computer Center at Governor's Island, New York, will receive sighting reports from patrol units that will be entered into a common data base. Access to this data base for information retrieval will be limited to Coast Guard intelligence offices and supplied by federal telecommunications system dial-up phone lines. To provide protection, NSA-endorsed Paradyne encryptors are being used.
The Coast Guard relies on its HF emergency network (HFEN) for reconstitution of Coast Guard forces in time of national emergency or natural disaster. (See Figure 2.) A plan has been completed to implement the HFEN in compliance with NSDD-97. The system will provide minimum essential command and control for some Coast Guard forces in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The plan defines the specific Coast Guard requirements for command-level emergency communications, surveys the approaches made by other agencies in planning national security and emergency preparedness initiatives, analyzes alternative implementation approaches, and selects the preferred alternative. It also evaluates the implementation costs and lists milestones for implementation of the network.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) plans to introduce the future global maritime distress and safety system (FGMDSS) in the 1990s. (See Figure 3.) The FGMDSS will provide a comprehensive distress and safety communications system, requiring new procedures to be established. The system will take advantage of technological advances to improve maritime safety. The Coast Guard, as a key contributor to search and rescue efforts and an active member of the IMO, is the lead agency in the system's development. The Coast Guard has developed the FGMDSS implementation plan to describe the proposed capabilities, communications techniques, and Coast Guard-proposed implementation milestones.
Expanding Coast Guard responsibilities and wider cooperation among government agencies will increase requirements to manage classified, real-time information, and to exchange this information between data bases both internal and external to the Coast Guard. The goal is to achieve increased levels of interoperability, security, and survivability while integrating Coast Guard C3 resources.
More protection and security for classified information will be needed. The recently published National Security Decision Directive 145, while emphasizing the need for historical programs to protect classified and sensitive information, also emphasizes the need to deny access to selected types of aggregated unclassified information. Monitoring activities by drug traffickers and others highlight the need to protect Coast Guard telecommunications and automatic data processing systems at least to the DES level. Designating Coast Guard area commanders as Navy MDZ commanders will also emphasize security programs.
Developing needs for security and protection will be matched by the increasing availability of equipment—especially telecommunications—to provide the required security. The challenge will be to apply resources and change procedures to match the increasing capabilities with the growing needs.
Significant investments by DoD and private industry in telecommunications and data processing capabilities plus the deregulation of the telecommunications industry will combine with rapid technological advances to present a bewildering choice of systems to satisfy demands. The Coast Guard's challenge is to have properly trained people at all levels who can select cost-effective systems to satisfy local needs and meet increasing interoperability requirements. The service will need to overcome the growing oversight initiatives and lengthening procurement process that run counter to our desire to react quickly to changing requirements, technological innovations, and system costs.
In an environment of budget cuts, outside contracting, and a decreasing workforce, the challenge is to fully secure all of our telecommunications and to better manage our scarce C3 resources so the Coast Guard can continue to provide its time-honored services.
Commander Thibault was assigned last spring to the Southeast Regional Center (Miami) of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System. Previously, he was chief, Telecommunications Planning Section, Systems Planning Branch, Plans and Policy Division in the C3 office at Coast Guard Headquarters. He received a degree in aeronautical technology from Boston University in 1963 and worked for United Technologies before joining the Coast Guard in 1966 as a seaman recruit. He served in the Duane (WHEC-33), Hamilton (WHEC-715), and the tall ship Eagle before completing officer candidate school in 1972. His subsequent assignments included: the Cherokee (WMEC-16S); assistant chief, Communications Branch, 7th District; commanding officer of the Coast Guard radio station in Miami; and executive officer in the Sagebrush (WLB-399).
Commander Haugan is assigned to the Electronics Systems Division at Coast Guard Headquarters. He is a 1974 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and received an M.S. in telecommunications and computers from George Washington University in 1981. He has served in the Reliance (WMEC-6 IS), Yocona (WMEC-168), and as operations officer in the Muro (WHEC-724) and Mellon (WHEC-717). He has also served as assistant communications officer for the 13th District.
Lieutenant Wolf has served as the Coast Guard liaison officer in the U. S. Embassy in Liberia since June 1986. He graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1976 with a B.S. in ocean engineering and received an M.S. in telecommunications systems management from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1982. He has served in the Jarvis (WHEC-72S) and as assistant chief, Communications Branch, 14th District. Before his current post, he worked in the C3 office as a telecommunications systems planner at Coast Guard Headquarters, and was assistant AFCEA liaison officer for the Coast Guard.
The Young Lions of Oceana
By John Tegler
They sat in a neat line on the ramp at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, resplendent in their two-tone grey blue camouflage, looking like a pride of young lions ready to hunt. "NAVY" was painted on the fin or the after-fuselage; below, in smaller letters, was the designation F-21A. A look in the cockpit revealed the normal array of instruments, but also instructions in French, Hebrew, and English. What sort of animal was this?
A storm was brewing in the distance and most of the aircraft nestled under their canvas cockpit covers, referred to as "yarmulkes" by Commander Pete "Stork" Burggren, commanding officer of "The Challengers" of Fighter Squadron 43 (VF-43)—an East Coast adversary training squadron. It was an apt description: these cats were modified Cl Kfirs, late of the Israeli Air Force. The inclination was to ask, "What's a nice Jewish boy like you doing in a place like this?''
Freely translated, "Kfir" means "young lion." Kfirs are providing the Navy with what could truly be termed "dissimilar" air combat training. They are relatively small, single-seat, single-engine, mach-2 fighters manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The design is based on the French Mirage 3, but they are powered by General Electric J-79 engines, the engines that power F-4 Phantoms. Their delta-wing design gives them good maneuverability at high angles of attack, and their engines provide a speed advantage over older adversary aircraft. With the increased capabilities of threat aircraft, the Navy constantly seeks to improve its air combat maneuvering (ACM) training; the acquisition of these aircraft was such an improvement.
The first Kfirs were delivered to VF-43 in March 1985. The 12 Kfirs are on lease until April 1988, when a renewal option will be considered. At about the same time, the Navy is slated to take delivery of navalized, adversary training versions of the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon—the F-16N, a variant of the F-16C equipped with the APG-66 radar and General Electric 110 engine.
A second squadron of 13 Kfirs has been leased for adversary training with VMFT-401 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona. The first Kfirs are scheduled to arrive at MCAS Yuma in April and the entire squadron will stand up by the end of 1987. Initially, Marine Corps Kfir pilots will cycle through VF-43 for training.
When the agreement was reached between the U. S. Navy and Israel to lease the first 12 Kfir aircraft, a new branch of Israel Aircraft Industries International was created, called Israel Aircraft Services (IAS), with the sole mission of providing maintenance support for all the U. S. Navy, and now, Marine Corps Kfirs. Technicians and instructors were chosen by IAI, Ltd., to travel from Israel to the United States to train and work with U. S. employees. The first personnel of lAS assigned to this mission came on board in September 1984 and began to modify the Kfirs to be used for the U. S. Navy aggressor mission.
All Kfirs had been in service with the Israeli Air Force for several years, each had an average of about 800 flight hours, and all were combat veterans. The aircraft were put through an extensive maintenance program, including the modifications necessary to conform with Navy standards and configurations. They were shipped to Norfolk, Virginia, where they were reassembled and flown the short distance to NAS Oceana by Israeli pilots.
Only the nucleus of the IAS personnel is Israeli. The rest were locally recruited and trained, and most are ex-Navy personnel. A ground school was set up for VF-43 pilots to attend before their departure for Israel and initial Kfir flight training. They fly three hops in Israel in the two-seat Kfir with Israeli instructors and return to VF-43 for their final hops and checkouts.
Lieutenant Commander Doug Schlaefer, formerly VF-43's maintenance officer, was among the first four pilots sent to Israel. Commander Schlaefer said the F-2IA gives VF-43 two primary advantages over the F-5s they had been flying: the Kfir's superior speed and the fact that VF-43 has 12 Kfirs rather than the four F-5s. VF-43 now flies a mix of Kfirs, A-4s, TA-4s, and T-2Cs for out-of-control spin training.
"The big difference with this aircraft is its speed in the landing pattern," Schlaefer said. "It's a hot airplane to land. We don't slow down to below 200 knots until we roll into the groove just before touchdown, and our touchdown speeds are generally around 180 knots. That's a lot faster than what I'm used to, particularly when you think of the F-14, which comes aboard the carrier at about 170 knots-which is even slower than the Phantom." Schlaefer flew F-4s and F-14s with VF-102.
The Navy looked into the possibility of leasing aircraft for its adversary squadrons some years ago, intending to increase the numbers of aircraft and diversify the types to better train Navy and Marine Corps active-duty and reserve air crews. However, after problems with a Navy ship leasing program, the idea was temporarily shelved, but not before IAI conceived a program to supply Kfirs to the Navy for the adversary role.
In the summer of 1983, Marvin Klemow, director of IAI's Washington office, was at dinner in New York with some high-level company executives. The conversation turned to the leasing program; they bemoaned the fact that it had never taken off. They decided that IAI would approach the Israeli Air Force with a plan for providing aircraft to the U. S. Navy on a "no cost" lease basis. The Israeli Air Force gave its permission and the U. S. Navy was approached by Klemow, at first on an unofficial basis. IAI said, in effect, "Look, let's assume that the Israeli Government makes you an offer to provide a squadron of Kfirs on a 'no cost' lease. Since we're leasing the airplanes, we retain ownership. Therefore, we have to make sure that they are maintained according to the standards of the Israeli Air Force, which is the same as current Navy policy-the policy of having contractor support. Thus, by leasing you the airplanes, it guarantees that we will support them at a fair price, to be negotiated—a price based on the rates you are already paying U. S. companies for the same services."
The program was interpreted by some as competition for the Northrop F-20 and General Dynamics F-16 purchase programs. This was not the case. The Navy had always perceived the Kfir lease program as an interim adversary program. Even in the official Navy requirement, it clearly states that the Kfir program is a temporary expedient until a wider range of aircraft can be obtained. One of the blandishments was that IAI could deliver the completely renovated Kfirs within six months. Both the F-20 and the F-16 were a good three or four years away; something had to cover the Navy's shortfall in adversary aircraft in the interim. While the negotiations on the Kfir lease continued, the Navy issued a request for proposals for an aircraft that would simulate the MiG-23 and follow-on aircraft. The Navy eventually decided in favor of the F-16N and an order was placed.
Two agreements for the Kfirs were drawn up. The first was between the Navy and Israel's Ministry of Defense, calling for a 3.5-year lease on the airplanes, a quantity of initial spares, and pilot training in Israel. The second agreement was a negotiated contract between the Navy and Israel Aircraft Industries, Ltd., that called for full contractor support of the airplanes, including all spare parts. The contract stated that the airplanes would be maintained to fly a minimum of 38 hours per month per aircraft. It also stated that the airplanes would be delivered at a rate of three per month beginning in April 1985. In fact, the first three were delivered by the end of March and the last three were delivered by the end of June 1985.
"The Kfirs came about because of the need for more supersonic adversary aircraft," said Lieutenant Gary Silvers, air combat maneuvering phase leader and Kfir naval air training and operating procedures standardization (NATOPS) officer with VF-43, who was also among the first four pilots trained on the aircraft. He continued: "We first of all utilized the F-5s, with their high-speed capabilities, out on the range to create problems that could be presented to the fleet squadron crews in trying to develop some sort of intercept geometry. What we've done with the Kfirs is to come up with 12 supersonic aircraft, which gives us more assets and the ability to put more adversary airplanes on the range, which creates a much tougher scenario for the fleet squadrons.
"The advantage offered by the Kfir over the F-5 comes at the top end of the speed range. The fact that we have 12 of these F-21As gives us the ability to apply more real-world situations. In some regimes, the Kfir is harder to see than the F-5 was, particularly nose-on or tail-on. The closure rates are much different than they were with the F-5. We can show an F-14 1,200 knots of closure, and we have the ability to match or exceed the speeds of which the Tomcat is capable during the bug-out phase of the fight, which complicates his problem even more. Thus, the bottom line with the F-21A, advantage-wise, is in numbers and top-end speed."
The disadvantages with the Kfir are in the maneuvering or sustained maneuvering phase of the fight. The F-21A is a high bleed-rate aircraft: it bleeds an incredible amount of energy in a turn. Lieutenant Silvers said the Kfir has a good pitch-rate as well, and thus Kfir drivers can intimidate an F-14 crew with their nose position. However, the amount of energy that the Kfir has to give up for its pilot to get the aircraft's nose on the F-14 pretty much dictates the pilot's next move. "We kind of joke about it," says Gary. "The Kfir can either go left or right on its first turn, but its second turn is going to be nose-low simply because it's out of energy. So, we have to pretty well have an F-14 at a disadvantaged position before we try to take a shot since it's going to cost us a lot in energy lost to get our nose turned. This loss of energy makes us much more conscious of our energy state, which means that we spend more time trying to gain energy during the fight and maintaining that energy so that we can sacrifice it all for that one turn to make a shot, or we'll use it to try to get away. With it, we can become very small very fast and, by doing so, we can create an opening that the F-14 didn't anticipate, and he can't get a shot off now because we're outside of max range and gone. Now his problem is complicated once again because we've also gone away visually and, if we elect to, we can extend in the vertical and pitch back over into the fight and come in unseen again."
The VF-43 pilots pretty much have had to develop their own Kfir tactics because the Israelis have been pretty tight-lipped. Their only advice was on how to fight a Kfir against a generic aircraft using its speed and size to engage in a slashing-type fight. In the Kfir, you are not going to be able to stay in a close-in, sustained maneuvering fight with anyone. You fight the Kfir much like you fight the old stiff-winged F-4. It has pretty much the same characteristics and turns very much like the Phantom at similar speeds.
"Another luxury with the F-21A is that all you have to do to get it off of the flight line and onto the runway is to start it up and taxi," said Lieutenant Silvers. "There are few plane captain checks because there are few moving parts. There is simply the elevon, which runs the full width of the rear part of the aircraft, and that's the only control surface there is. We have a Tacan and a radio, so there's not a lot of instrumentation that we need to worry about. There's no INS [inertial navigation system], etc ., so you don't have to worry about time for INS alignment and things like that. Thus, we can get off the flight line really quick with this airplane. This all originally had to do with the necessity for quick response time on the part of the Israelis since the threat is so near at hand."
There is, however, a problem with fuel. The Kfir holds about 3,420 liters, which gives it about five minutes less time on the range than the F-5s. However, there is an 825-liter centerline tank; the 825 extra liters are about the same amount of fuel it takes to take off, get to the range, and come home again. The centerline tank extends the range by about ten minutes, which usually gives the pilot time for one more engagement on most sorties.
A typical ACM hop will start with at least a flight of two and, usually, three or four Kfirs. They usually head to the southern part of the range, which is about 80 miles south of Oceana; it takes about 10-12 minutes to get on station, formed up, and ready to go. "We'll start our run-in with about 35-40 miles separation from the fighters," said Lieutenant Silvers. "Whatever sort of scenario we're trying to develop for that day will dictate our tactics, but, most normally, we'll run-in in the [mach] 0.9 speed regime. We find that this gives us a good airspeed from which we can gain energy, and gives us a good turning speed. As we approach the merge, we can generally acknowledge that the Tomcat is going to have the radar sword, but we try to outnumber them and get one guy outside the formation so that they don't know exactly what the situation is and where all the bogies are.
"We try to simulate what we think the fleet squadrons might see when they go on cruise and we base that on the scenarios that might occur in the particular areas in which they are going to fly. Thus, we'll draw on our intelligence sources and what we think they're going to see to formulate our tactics and formations. In the maneuvering portion of the fight, once we hit the merge plot, generally we are at a disadvantage weapon system-wise. We're primarily going to utilize some sort of rear-quarter weapons system, whereas the F-14 has two all-aspect weapons-the AIM-7 or AIM-9 Lima or Mike, depending on what they're carrying that day. So we're going to try to utilize our speed to stay aft of their wing line and avoid flying in front of their nose, because any time one of their noses gets on us, they're obviously a threat to us. When that happens, we simply have the other guy who's out there somewhere—hopefully unseen—come in and threaten the fighter before he can get his shot off, because he now has to react to the other Kfir and pull his nose off of us." So the Kfirs hunt in prides, particularly when opposed by those other cats built by Grumman.
However, when the pilots of VF-43 were asked whether they would prefer a large quantity of simpler aircraft like the F-21A or fewer, more sophisticated aircraft like the F-14 in a combat situation, the answer was unanimously in favor of the latter. Gary Silvers put it succinctly: "Well, don't get me wrong, the Kfir is a good airplane, but I've got 1,000 hours in F-14s and I can't wait to get back into them. The F-21A is a good adversary aircraft because of that top-end speed and the quantity of them that we can now put on the range, but one-on-one with an F-14, it just doesn't stack up. It's that old energy problem again."
The Bible says, "They shall roar like young lions, yea they shall roar," and that's just what the Kfirs are doing with VF-43 at NAS Oceana, to the betterment of the air crews of the Atlantic Fleet.
A contributor to the October 1986 Special Naval Aviation Issue of Proceedings, Mr. Tegler has written more than 200 magazine articles and four books on aviation topics. During his 29-year Air Force service, he participated in an exchange program with the Navy, making 54 catapults and traps in A-4s.
Marines Are Marines Are Marines
By Colonel James H. Jeffries III, U. S. Marine Corps Reserve
In recent informal discussions among Navy and Marine Corps legal experts, it was suggested that Marines assigned to Fleet Marine Force (FMF) medical battalions should be regarded, like their Navy associates, as noncombatants—protected under Article 24 of the Geneva Sick and Wounded Convention of 1949. If these Marines were considered Article 24-protected, they would enjoy certain rights and privileges not available to other Marines of the FMF. They would also suffer certain disabilities and limitations not imposed on other Marines of the force.
Article 24 of the convention provides that:
"Medical personnel exclusively engaged in the search for, or the collection, transport or treatment of the wounded or sick, or in the prevention of disease, staff exclusively engaged in the administration of medical units and establishments, as well as chaplains attached to the armed forces, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances."
Article 28 of the convention provides that such individuals do not become prisoners of war (POWs) , are retained in custody only to the extent necessary to minister to POWs, may only be required to perform medical and religious duties , and enjoy certain freedoms necessary to carry out those duties. Article 30 requires that those retained medical (and religious) personnel not required for tending POWs be repatriated "as soon as a road is open for their return and military requirements permit." According to articles 39 and 40, they are permitted (under direction of competent military authority) to wear the Red Cross armlet and required to carry a special identity card. Although not directly adverted to in the Geneva Conventions, it is generally held that Article 24 personnel may only be armed with small arms—only for their self-protection and the protection of their patients.
Article 24 noncombatants are not required—indeed are not permitted—to resist surrender under Article 2 of the military Code of Conduct and, if captured, have no obligation to resist or to attempt to escape under Article 3 of the Code. They are not authorized to take command of other POWs under Article 4 of the Code. 5 Their status under the POW command structure is not clear (to me), but it seems that there could be built-in conflicts because of the different rights and obligations of the two groups.
According to Fleet Marine Force Manual 4-5, Medical and Dental Support, each force service support group has a medical battalion responsible for medical support of all FMF units above and beyond their own organic capabilities. The battalion provides task-organized units to the supported Marine Air Ground Task Force. It can handle collection and evacuation of casualties, emergency treatment, temporary hospitalization, surgery, preventive medicine and disease control, and identification of human remains. The battalion consists of a headquarters and service company, a hospital company, and five medical companies. Its 130 Navy officers are all Medical Corps or Medical Service Corps personnel. Its 629 sailors are principally, but not entirely, medical military occupational specialties. Eight Marine officers and 333 Marines are assigned to routine administration, operations, and service, supply, utilities, communications, and motor transport.
Proponents of Article 24 treatment argue that no intra-unit distinctions are made in the medical units of other services, many of the members of which are engaged in exactly the same duties as these Marines, and thus there is no logical basis for treating them differently. In response to the point that every Marine is first and foremost a rifleman who may be called on in any conflict to engage in combat, they contend that in a crisis, the Marines in question could easily be reassigned to a combat unit. I disagree with these contentions and believe the proposal is fraught with pitfalls.
If the Marines in question are to be considered Article 24 personnel, it could be argued that the Marine Corps has been in continual violation of the Sick and Wounded Convention since U. S. ratification in 1955. However, if a new gloss is to be put on the article, a number of difficult questions are raised. The Marines involved would have to be issued special medical identification cards (Article 40). Would they also be issued (or carry) standard identification? What would be the fate of a Marine captured in possession of both? What training and operational guidance would be necessary to educate a commander that he had "noncombatant" Marines in his command? What force planning requirements would be created? Could such Marines be reassigned to combat in an emergency without fostering cynicism or disregard of the law of war by the opponent? Such Marines would have to be issued (and under some circumstances wear) the protective Red Cross armlet (Article 40). The same supply, training, command guidance, and compliance issues arise as with the medical identification. How do we deal with the differing Code of Conduct standards for these Marines, depending upon their role when captured? Can we realistically train recruits in the Code as we now do, and later tell them that they are not required to resist or to escape if captured because of their assignment to a medical unit? How do we address the training, morale, and psychological aspects of taking a new graduate of Parris Island or San Diego and informing him he is now a "noncombatant" but that things might change if the going gets hot? Does this proposed change have the potential to erode the (at least theoretical) respect now accorded true Article 24personnel? If so, should the other services, whose medical members are the only currently recognized Article 24 personnel, be officially consulted on our new position? The position being urged is weighted with unresolved policy, training, and operational considerations.
The advocates of Article 24 treatment reach their conclusion that medical unit Marines should be viewed as noncombatants on grounds that the practice of other U. S. services is in accord and that there is no logical legal basis for the Marine Corps to differ. The first ground is both irrelevant and unnecessary to resolution of the question for the Marine Corps. The second ground is wrong.
On the latter point—illogically distinguishing between the pure medical person and his/her necessary support personnel—there are clearly problems with defining and distinguishing the personnel. As noted and conceded by all concerned, drivers, cooks, and clerks are plainly necessary to the medical function; but so are the engineers who build the medevac helipads, purify the water, and dig the graves; so are the fuel companies who supply the generator fuel; so are the ration platoons and supply and maintenance echelons at division, corps, and theater levels; etc. This argument proves too much.
The other services solve this problem by drawing the line at the first logical division—between medical unit and nonmedical unit. And they reinforce the distinction by establishing solely medical occupational fields and solely medical organizations. The Navy has a Medical Corps, a Nurse Corps, and a Medical Service Corps. The Army and Air Force also have medical departments. The Marine Corps does not. The other services use their most logical dividing line, and so should we: the line between Navy and Marine Corps. The other services do not expect their medical support personnel to double as warriors. Our warriors double as medical support personnel and I do not believe this difference in service missions, training, philosophy, and results requires extended discussion.
It has been argued that medical unit Marines could easily be transferred to another unit if their combat power was necessary to accomplishment of the mission. As noted, this would require special medical identification cards and training in their legal limitations and special status and duties under the law of war and the Code of Conduct, and they would not be properly armed and equipped for immediate combat if armed as Article 24 personnel. They could not be instantly pressed into combat service, as at the Chosin Reservoir breakout, without creating the most serious equipment, training, morale, and law of war questions. Not only would we create serious misconduct questions in the eyes of an antagonist facing these convertible medical warriors, but any such policy could weaken Article 24 protection for those medical personnel who clearly fit within its description and intent. I cannot discern any valid policy or legal reason for trying to shoehorn combat-trained Marines into Article 24 protection. This seems to me a non-problem which needs a non-solution. It ain't broke, and I strongly suggest we don't fix it.
Colonel Jeffries, an attorney with the U. S. Department of Justice and occasional contributor to Proceedings, is commanding officer of the Marine Corps law of war training detachment, a reserve unit assigned to the Training Department, Headquarters Marine Corps, which conducts four one-week law of war courses for senior commanders and staff officers each year at the Naval War College, and at East Coast and West Coast locations.
CV-SLEP: New Life for the Carriers
By Captain F. C. Holmes, U. S. Navy
The maritime strategy has become a key element in shaping Navy programmatic decisions. The strategy forms a framework upon which force structures can be built and through which budgets can be developed and evaluated.
Critical to the employment of the 600-ship Navy is the requirement for 15 carrier battle groups. Sustaining carrier force levels in consonance with the maritime strategy amid competition for limited resources requires a carefully structured carrier maintenance and procurement program. The aircraft carrier-service life extension program (CV-SLEP), conceived in the late 1970s to maintain existing carrier force levels, provided an alternative to new construction.
Allconventionally powered carriers were projected to reach the end of their nominal 36-year service lives in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Built when there were three new-carrier construction yards, their timely replacement by Nimitz (CVN-68)-class carriers was impossible with only one yard remaining—Newport News Shipbuilding. Even if Newport News delivered a new carrier every two years, starting with the Carl Vinson (CVN-70), we could not attain required force levels—through new construction alone—in this century. Consequently, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral J. L. Holloway requested Commander Naval Sea Systems Command (NavSea) to look into extending the service life of the Forrestal (CV-59)-class carriers from 30 to 45 years.
The CV-SLEP had to ensure continued capability for full operation and support of first-line aircraft. Particular emphasis was also given to structural repairs, rotating machinery repair or replacement, and necessary habitability upgrades. Several alternatives were considered: from extending ship length by inserting 50 feet of parallel middle body (requiring an availability of more than 3.5 years), to options requiring no special scheduling, but incrementally providing for service life extension.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) approved the SLEP concept in March 1976 and provided the following guidelines:
- The fleet modernization program and SLEP will be integrated to require no more than 24 months for CV-SLEP.
- A carrier will enter SLEP every two years starting in 1980.
- There will be no ship's force work package; the ship is to be manned at minimum levels to meet training requirements and to conduct the shipboard test program.
- Funding will be provided in the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy appropriation, with advance planning funded in Research and Development.
- A final plan should be submitted providing alternatives within the basic guidelines and be available for inclusion III program objective memorandum (POM-79).
NavSea concluded that achieving the SLEP objective of extending service life by 15 years in a single availability of only 24 months would not be attainable under the CNO's constraints. So, in July 1976, a 28-month alternative was recommended: fleet modernization program work would be held to that normally accomplished in a regularly scheduled overhaul, and a selectively reduced ship's force would accomplish a limited-scope work package. The plan was presented to Congress by the Secretary of Defense in August 1976 and given final Navy approval by the CNO Executive Board in March 1977. As conceived for Forrestal-class carriers, CV-SLEP would provide about one-half the service life of a new construction carrier at about one-fourth the cost. Later, as the first SLEP was in progress, Admiral T. B. Hayward (CNO from 1978-82) approved expanding the program to include all remaining conventionally powered big deck carriers, i.e., the Kitty Hawk (CV-63) class and the John F. Kennedy (CV-67).
The Saratoga (CV-60) was selected to be the first carrier to undergo SLEP; Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was announced as the SLEP site for the Saratoga.
The SLEP management plan established a unique oversight and review team providing high-level command scrutiny to ensure that the program would be continually updated by evaluating day-to-day "lessons learned."
As the work package for the Saratoga evolved, two areas critical to attaining SLEP objectives emerged:
- Propulsion and Support Machinery: The propulsion equipment clearly required special attention. The main engines were designated for either complete overhaul or replacement (time has shown replacement of rotating elements can be accomplished at less cost and with less disruption than overhaul). Boiler tubes, refractory, and, where necessary, headers were planned for replacement. All rotating propulsion support machinery was authorized for complete overhaul and the majority of the propulsion space piping was designated for renewal. Extensive work was authorized in double bottom tanks to restore water-tight integrity. Auxiliary systems—from distilling plants to firefighting systems—were authorized for extensive updates and repairs.
- Flight Systems: Equal attention was given to restoring and, where required, upgrading aircraft launch and recovery equipment. Catapults were authorized for total disassembly and complete structural restoration and alignment. Catapult steam receivers were planned for replacement and more efficient launch valves were to be installed. Waist catapult capacity was increased and heavier arresting capability was to be installed. The goal of the flight deck and aviation systems work package was to reduce the "wind-over-the-deck" requirements for air operations and thereby decrease propulsion plant stress. Significant fuel savings have resulted from a four-to-six-knot reduction. Long-term operating benefits include: longer station times, enhanced reaction capability, and improved flight deck flexibility.
Antiquated air conditioning machinery and chilled water distribution systems are being replaced with four modern 360-ton chill water plants and enlarged distribution piping. Fresh water distilling capacity is being increased—providing needed redundancy—with the installation of more supportable state-of-the-art units in place of difficult-to-maintain 25-year-old equipment. Fire and flooding pumps are being upgraded with improved corrosion-resistant pump casings and maintenance-free encapsulated motors. Some conventional weapon magazines are being converted to universal stowage magazines which, when coupled with the installation of improved weapon elevators, allow for expedited strike-up and -down of ready service aviation ordnance—all within the ship's ballistic envelope. Many of the improvements provide such immediate operational improvement that they have been added to the fleet modernization program for retrofit during other carriers' non-SLEP availabilities.
The Saratoga work package—and later those of the Forrestal and Independence (CV-62)—was authorized after a careful pre-overhaul test and inspection program that provided a detailed evaluation of ship condition and capability, and identified candidate repair requirements. This permitted work authorization on a prioritized basis, tailored to fit within the CNO's fiscal constraints. The process was formalized and has been refined to include detailed review of ship maintenance documentation and recent inspection reports by the Board of Inspection and Survey. The process demands and benefits from close coordination with ship's force, the type commander's material staff, and technical authorities in NavSea and its field activities. To keep pace with fleet modernization initiatives and system upgrades, the SLEP work package includes command, control, and surveillance work and weapon suite repairs, including thorough overhaul of all weapon handling equipment. Heavily emphasized are long-deferred structural repairs and an extensive dry dock work package, ranging from basic hull preservation to change-out of waterborne shafting and propellers.
The ship's force work package crosses many disciplines and resolves many work items deferred during the shipyard work definition process, which would otherwise require extensive post-SLEP work. One of the largest and most dramatically successful ship's force contributions has been in habitability upgrades to officer and enlisted living and berthing areas. The Forrestal's ship's force expanded the original program (completing enlisted living area upgrades) to include updating and more efficiently arranging officer staterooms and selected shipboard administrative spaces. The SLEP ship's force working in the Independence, is also working the expanded program.
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard implemented a number of SLEP-unique management actions keyed to accommodating the timely completion of more than 1.5-million man-days of industrial effort. As shown in Table 1, the SLEP ship is divided into six "miniships," each with a dedicated management team. The teams include their own military and civilian ship superintendents and their own progressmen. The miniship senior ship superintendents report to an assistant repair officer, who is assigned full-time to the SLEP project.
As each SLEP progresses and the need for intensified supervision increases for certain key jobs, specialized management teams are established. For example, the boiler management team is chaired by waterfront production personnel, but includes members from shipyard design, ship's force, and headquarters and field engineering activities. Similar groups have been formed for overseeing work on aircraft and weapons elevators, and selected flight deck systems.
To ensure centralized management of the critical logistics upgrade, the shipyard created an integrated logistics branch, Code-2500, appropriately staffed to fulfill all logistics upgrade responsibilities. Code-2500 has been effective in ensuring that each SLEP ship completes her availability correctly and accurately configured with all software updated, test equipment calibrated, and (on-board) spares and outfitting items inventoried and properly stowed.
CV-SLEP has not been without growing pains, some poor advance planning decisions, and, occasionally, incomplete or inadequate execution. A few problems have had great visibility and some notoriety, but in each case, they resulted in detailed program reevaluation and timely corrective action.
The Saratoga has completed her second post-SLEP deployment; her success and operational capabilities have been given wide media coverage. The Forrestal has completed her SLEP and has joined her sisters at sea. The Independence is now in the shipyard, her work package reflecting the experience of the two preceding SLEPs. The shipyard's growing confidence is reflected in the fact that for the Independence SLEP, the shipyard agreed to a fixed price for the full availability with only 20% of the scheduled availability period having elapsed. The shipyard has taken the initiative for many production and control reforms which should cut costs. The work force is being streamlined, with firm controls placed on overtime and shift work.
CV-SLEP continues under close Navy review. New initiatives are being considered—from altering availability durations for improved efficiency to reevaluating the content and scope of future SLEP work packages. CV-SLEP is now a proven, cost-effective alternative to new construction. It sustains and improves the readiness and capabilities of the 15 carriers we need to execute our forward defense maritime strategy.
Captain Holmes, a 1963 graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy, is the program manager of the Aircraft Carrier Ship Acquisition Program at the Naval Sea Systems Command. Previous duty includes: CVSLEP project officer; CV -SLEP coordinator, DCNO Air Warfare (OP-05) staff; ship engineer, Commander Naval Air Force Atlantic Fleet staff; DLGN project officer, SUPSHIP, Newport News Shipbuilding; and ship assignments in the Vulcan (AR-5), Biddle (DLG-34), America (CV-66), and Meredith (DD-890). He has a master's degree in naval architecture and a naval engineer's degree, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.