Monday, May 19, 2008

Basis See Conference, Pt4 : Sealift Concepts

Speaches by:
Rüdiger Kloevekorn : Steria Mummert Consulting
Christian Eckel : Surface Ship Division, TKMS

Two speaches that deal with the sealift options available to Germany. Kloevekorn mostly talks about GGSS, Eckel presents some options on GMSV.

As a short introduction: The current system for GGSS used by the Bundeswehr is the ARK contract jointly with Denmark. Under ARK, four RoRo ships are under pre-charter contracts and available as needed to the two nations with a pre-fixed cost limit. However, the ARK contract will end in 2011.

The Bundeswehr has hence looked into 2012+ options for sealift, and Steria Mummert Consulting, along with two other companies, has drafted a study for this at the request of the Bundeswehr.

Some results from this study are presented by Kloevekorn at this conference.

The study takes as its basis a "reasonable" maximum usage of sea transport; for Germany, that means concurrent transport for three different operations in a 30-day timeframe. The three scenarios looked into were apparently a NATO NRF operation, a Military Evacuation Operation, and the rotation of a peace-keeping contingent. The equipment requirements for these operations were given by the Bundeswehr.

Based upon this, an operational need was worked out, with a variation due to the possibility of using different European ports in different distances to the mission theaters - in particular with NRF a definitive option. Effectively, the Bundeswehr needs between 8000 and 13500 lanemeters RoRo sealift (3-5 ships with 2500-3000 lanemeters), plus 1200 TEU for the NRF operation and 70 TEU for the rotation.

As part of the study, a number of options are explored. The container transport would be a case for commercial transport - regular transport lines for the (long pre-planned) rotation operation, and a chartered container transport for the NRF operation.

For the sealift, not surprisingly, a continuation of ARK is suggested. It is concluded that an ARK transport - calling in all pre-contracted ships for 30 days - has similar costs to a commercial charter option. However, ARK adds the security of having the ships available as needed, and provides an upper cost limit. It's suggested that potentially a third German ship should be added to ARK, bringing the total to five ships. Additionally, a pre-charter option for two similar-sized RoRos is suggested to provide an extra 5000 lm, and the formation of a government or Bundeswehr agency that would secure long-term pre-charter contracts (to avoid costly short-term charter) is recommended.

Two alternatives are given. The first would be the option that the Royal Navy took - building (5) ships for the Bundeswehr itself, and then chartering them out through a public-private subcompany to increase cost effectiveness. The second alternative is a purely German version of ARK, implemented together with the German industry (an option if Denmark bows out of ARK, unlikely).

Eckel, a board member of the Surface Ship Division of TKMS, looks into GSMV primarily. GGSS is well-secured through ARK. GMSV is a clear capability lack, and the already noticed option of GMSV providing a shuttle service between a seabourne logistics base and land forces is also mentioned by him.

He sees three potential options for GMSV. The first one is, rather simply, international pooling - i.e. using Allied assets, or joint GMSV operation with Allies. The second option is a domestic design, for which TKMS offers their "innovative system engineering model" of course.

The third option is a bit more interesting - piggybacking on foreign projects. Of course TKMS isn't exactly happy about this option. However, he goes to the extent of naming examples that Germany could hop into - i.e. the French Mistral, the rather widespread Schelde Enforcer, and the Canadian JSS.

The selection of these in particular is somewhat interesting - i'd personally suspect the following reasons: Mistral to appease the government's idea of a "French-German motor" in Europe; Schelde Enforcer because those would at least provide construction contracts for the German industry; and the Canadian JSS because TKMS is already involved in that.

Part 5, the final part, will delve into GMSV a bit further, with some proposals.

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