Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Basis See Conference, Pt5 : Industry Implementations

Speeches by:
Dirk Malgowski : Surface Ship Division, TKMS
Hermann J. Janssen : NAVTEC CONSULT

A number of more or less - rather less - solid proposals from the industry, to finalize this short series of posts.

"Meko Multirole Auxiliary"

TKMS offers this concept "for open discussion in MoD", not as "JSS proposal". Arguably, multi-role/mixed-capability ships with dual amphibious/logistics roles have been gaining market share lately. Examples given are the LPD for Portugal, LHD for South Africa or Canada's JSS.
Externally, the proposal looks remarkably close to the LHD offered by TKMS in the South African tender, i.e. the MHD150.

The Meko Multirole Auxiliary takes Nolting's suggestion of modularization, by offering a triple-role ship with multi-mission modules - TKMS suggests a role change would be possible "within 48 hours", and the modules would use "already introduced standard systems". The three roles to be assumed by this ship would be RAS, LHD and sealift.
  • - RAS role: 6,440t fuel, 600t cargo including ammunition, 3 helos
  • - LHD role: 750 troops, 650 lm, 870t cargo, 440t fuel, 14 helos
  • - Sealift role: 2,500 lm, 500t fuel, 2,500t dry cargo
Such a role change looks rather hefty - though, especially regarding this mix, there's already a decade of experience in the Bundeswehr with the A310 MRTT, which also uses a palletized module system to switch from transport to tanker. A ship of this size would be a far larger application of this of course.

"Trans Sea Lifter"

Another, entirely different concept is proposed by consulting company NAVTEC CONSULT. It proposes a very large system for the Basis See application sealift/transport in a modular framework.

Trans Sea Lifter would be a large SWATH ship. Multiple modules would be carried forward of superstructure. The dimensions are implied with a beam of around 50-60 meters, length in the example with three modules seems to be around 150-180 meters.

The loaded modules would essentially be FloFlo swimming sub-units. Module examples given would be e.g. lighter transport, dry cargo, command, armament.

A number of examples for application are given:
  • - transport modules, which themselves can be submerged for FloFlo (for transport and landing operations with lighters and LCUs/LCACs)
  • - multiple low-draft swimming base/support modules that can be brought into disaster areas and operate there independantly
  • - mothership/tender role in CSW operations to transport and supply small littoral combat surface units or submarines
  • - command/medical/logistics role in supporting land forces by using specialized modules for these applications
  • - modular system for air/surface theater warfare, including protective armament for entire Basis See task force
Especially the last one seems rather far-fetched. According to Janssen, it's only in the conception phase yet, primarily for commercial applications.

Lead from Sea

A number of "Lead from Sea" experiments with command-facility frigates have been going on for the past two years, and are being continued. The positive aspect of this is obvious: It's a cheap, simple solution.
These experiments are primarily intended for small footprint operations; an example situation from last year was leading land units from a F123 frigate to evacuate 50 civilians from a coastal nation.

Horten sees current potential as "Lead from Sea" platforms in those Bundeswehr ships that already have command facilities - the F123 and F124 frigates, the EGV AORs, and the A404 tenders (which house the staff of their squadrons).

In the near future, in particular F125 shows good promise of furthering the approach, as the new CMS being developed by ATLAS for it will be capable of integrating full air/surface awareness for such command facilities; as a first, there'll also be the possibility of integrating AWACS and DCRC into the overall picture through Link 16 interfaces.

ATLAS proposes a containerized proving concept, to be mounted aboard an EGV. The EGV currently possesses basic C2 facilities and Link 11 datalinks; the containerized system would add a Link 16 datalink, upgrade the Link 11, add a air/surface surveillance radar, and add a standard Army C2 system (as has been done in the frigate experiments).

ATLAS sees a number of potential synergy effects for future "Lead from Sea" systems by integrating current more or less experimental software offered by them; such as the ADLER interface that will be used on F125 to tie the 127mm gun into the Army Artillery C3 systems, the MiLiPos protocol integration system that allows exchanging data between different-protocol (Navy, Army, Airforce) command systems via Link 16, or the LexxWar asymmetric combat system that was used in trials last year.

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