Monday, July 07, 2008

CG(X) - the right answer

He gets it - he being Clark "Corky" Graham, former senior vice president of Northrop Grumman Ship systems. In DefenseDaily, he outlines five fundamental tenaets of the right approach to CG(X).
1. CG(X) should be a mod repeat. "We should recapture the significant investment we have already made in the many new platforms of ships we have already introduced to the Navy," he said. "In today's fiscally constrained environment, we cannot afford to start and find another 10 or so billion dollars to start from scratch."

There also needs to be an emphasis on commonality when it comes to building CG(X), Graham noted. "Commonality of combat systems and commonality of HME sub systems, so that we don't proliferate new solutions to the fleet."

Maybe most important, Graham said, is that industry needs the naval architectural constraint of an existing platform to discipline the requirements setters in the Pentagon and in the technical community. "Because we cannot afford to set unrealistic requirements, which will lead to unaffordable solutions."

2. The mod repeat that CG(X) should be built upon should be DDG-1000.

3. Subsystems for CG(X) need to be scalable and flexible.
Those subsystems should incorporate all the features of open architecture, he added.
And all 19 planned CG(X)s that the Navy intends to build do not have to have the same capability, Graham noted. "We should be able to change the capability and flex the capability of each of the ships in the class during the service life," he said. "To put teeth in this concept, the Navy and industry should establish KPPs, critical performance parameters, that specify that the ship can be scaled and flexed during the service life with no hot work, with no significant rip out and change to the ship."

4. CG(X) and its combat systems should be designed in a disciplined design-to-cost environment.

"I do not agree that you set requirements first and then you determine the cost of the ship. That strategy will absolutely guarantee that the first iterations of the ship will be totally unaffordable, and we will dither years before we iterate into a solution that will be affordable and allow us to build sufficient numbers of ships," he said.
5. Making sure the ship and the combat systems are developed and acquired together.

"I don't agree with the discussion where a combat system was proposed to be developed separately from any targeted platform," he said. "When you do that, you miss the opportunity of engineering out the white space, of engineering out the excess cost, weight, volume, power, and cooling between each element of the ship. Principally, the combat systems and the platform and inevitably modules get put on the interfaces and the total solution results in a large ship and a more costly ship, something we can't afford."
Beats the nothing we are hearing out of the USN right now. We have to get that new DDG-1000 hull in the water though - but that is on the way. Would be nice to recapture some of that cost, and in the end we really don't have a choice. Anyway, DDG-1000 is actually a Cruiser ...but that is just me tilting at windmills.

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