Vanguard Magazine

Jun/Jul 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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S Shipbuilding JUNE/JULY 2015 29 o ne to two percent savings in fuel efficiency might not seem like much when you are talking about a naval warship. But if each innovation you intro- duce achieves those results, the cumulative effect can be significant. When the Shipbuilding Technology Forum, an ongoing event presented by the Shipbuilding Association of Canada and Vanguard, hosted the United States NavSea Program Executive Office (PEO) in April, the questions centred on the cost versus ca- pability tradeoffs that are plaguing most western navies dealing with budget constraints. Not surprising, there were no easy answers. "If you are looking for the magic bullet for cost versus capa- bility – what the most effective tradeoffs are – it doesn't exist," said Glen Sturtevant, the PEO's director for science and technol- ogy. Instead, he walked the audience of 150 people from across the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian shipbuilding indus- try through technologies and processes where the U.S. Navy has found "affordability through innovation." In particular, he focused on a series of technologies that, while not necessarily new, have proven to provide enough energy ef- ficiency that they have been introduced fleet wide. "For years, oil was cheap and it was in somebody else's budget; we never worried about it," Sturtevant observed. "That has all changed. Moving forward, we have made a concerted effort to make our ships more energy efficient – significantly." While alternative fuels, fuel cells, solar and wind energy harvest- ing and energy storage are all on the USN innovation agenda, he highlighted technologies liked stern flaps and a bow bulb that have been adapted from commercial shipping to reduce drag. "The business case was so strong that we actually drydocked and retrofitted this on all the cruisers," he said of stern flaps, noting that they are now on all USN ships. Of the bow bulb, which disrupts the wave-hull interaction, he explained that it would be tested on one of the destroyers this year. Fixed-fin stabilizers installed outboard the rudders on the Land- ing Helicopter Dock (LHA) amphibious assault ships have cor- rected excessive rudder movement and improved directional sta- bility, delivering almost three percent in fuel savings. And while innovative paints on the hulls of ships have not dramatically re- duced fuel costs, foul release coatings on the propeller blades have improved blade efficiency – less biofoul adhering to the blades – and reduced fuel consumption and the frequency of maintenance cleanings. Likewise, a hybrid electric drive motor has allowed the HLA to shut off the main engines and run on an electric motor while maintaining propulsion up to 10 knots. The selling feature to skeptical operators, Sturtevant said, was the realization it gave them a "different quite speed." It will be added to Aegis destroy- ers starting next year. The USN has also adopted an energy dashboard that shows operators how much fuel is burned when the plant is aligned in different configurations and is fielding it as part of its Integrated Condition Assessment System on dozens of ships. While the USN's Fleet Weather Centers in San Diego and Nor- folk frequently route ships to avoid inclement weather, they have never routed ships to take advantage of weather for fuel efficiency, "something commercial shipping does religiously," Sturtevant said. At RIMPAC 2013, the navy tested an application called Smart Voy- age Planning Decision Aid to capitalize on wind and currents to plan optimal routes to reduce overall energy consumption. Facing an imperative for change, Sturtevant said the USN would "take the onesies and twosies" of fuel savings "because that is real money when you add up the fuel that we burn." Many of the technologies that have found their way onto navy ships were initiated by program managers seeking innovative so- lutions, and the USN has a process for developing, testing, and assessing prototypes before they are inserted into acquisition pro- grams. The acceptance challenge, he observed, is not the technol- ogy itself, but rather "changes to policies and procedures. Tech- nology is the easy part." Introducing GPS and digital nautical charts had to overcome "250 years of culture and tradition," he reminded the forum. "You though shipbuilding was hard? Try to take advanced tech- nologies into today's navy. It is a complex process. Getting de- mand signal from the operators is always a welcomed help." Finding Fuel eFFiciencies by Vanguard Staff

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