The Major Fleet Escort Study in 1967 confronted a basic dilemma of analysts: determining a ship's characteristics requires detailed analysis, but determining force levels requires broad, campaign analysis. The ship design you choose affects the numbers required and that the Navy can afford. This study resulted in the decision to build a total of 31 Spruance class destroyers, a platform that remained an integral part of U.S. maritime strategy.
The results were quite clear despite the study's intricate methodology, or perhaps because of it: the marginal cost-effectiveness criterion clarified and unified the presentation of the very large number of variables and their interrelationships.
The conclusions were specific as to force level requirements, and the recommendations were sufficiently detailed, along with supporting rationale, for the AAW and ASW ship characteristics. The "AAW" MFE, predictably, was a dual capable AAW/ASW design. The "ASW" ship, less predictably in 1967, was to carry strong point defenses and multi-purpose helicopters.
An interesting recommendation was that the AAW ships be "single enders," because the number of escorts per escorted force was driven by ASW requirements, and in concept AAW systems were added to the already required ASW ships until the escorting force achieved AAW sufficiency, by the cost-effectiveness criterion. For various reasons, including the assumption that ASW escorts would use only active sonar, the rationale for single-enders turned out be a mistake.
The study team had the difficult task of simultaneously looking at individual ship characteristics and the AAW and ASW force levels with those characteristics to procure and operate; and at the same time, to determine the best mix of AAW and ASW MFEs. The study achieved this multi-faceted objective in a persuasive fashion by intelligent application of the marginal effectiveness criterion. A study strength was the sensitivity analysis to show the effects on force size of various important uncertainties. Despite the relative insensitivity of force levels to any particular uncertainty, there was enough variation to spawn constructive debate on the final force level, based on acceptable risk.
As to ship characteristics, the study was the basis for the DD-963 class' characteristics. The cost became 100% over original cost. There was a growth in number of personnel. Because expected full automation was not realized, the school house could not produce fully trained graduates. OJT still needed to complement the ships' specific peculiarities. Also, because IMAS at dockside did not assist as much as hoped.
The Litton design which changed from steam to gas turbines revolutionized the thinking toward Navy propulsion systems.
The study was less successful for AAW ships. The number of escorts it derived for each escorted force (e.g., 5-7 for CVBGs) endured for more than a decade, and the MFE Study levels were not satisfactorily replaced until the "Surface Combatant Force Level Study" of 1994, done by APL for N-86. The force level recommendations are also well supported, and while never met, were very influential.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS AND COSTS OF CANDIDATE ESCORT SHIPS DX-1 DX-2a DXG-1 DXG-2 1 screw 1 SAM system Displacement (fully 3950 6000 6250 7450 loaded) (tons) Maximum 27 30 30 30 sustained speed (knots) Range (n.m./knots) 4500/20 4500/20 4500/20 4500/20 Weapons BPDMS BPDMS 1 TARTAR D 2 TARTAR D 1-5" L.W. 1-5" L.W. 1-5" L.W. 1-5" L.W. ASROC ASROC ASROC ASROC MK32 MK32 MK32 MK32 Sensors Surface Radar Surface Radar Surface Radar Surface Radar 2D Air Radar 2D Air Radar 2D Air Radar 2D Air Radar - - 3D Air Radar 3D Air Radar SQS-26 SQS-26 SQS-26 SQS-26 Other Helo Facility Helo Facility - - Average cost of $24.9/40 $31.5b/40 $42.6b/40 $55.4/20 conventional steamships (600 psi) in modernized yard ($ millions)/Number procured Annual operating 2.8 3.2 4.4 5.0 cost ($ millions) Enlisted 194 216 225 244 complement a Costs are for 20 DXG-1 and 40 DX-2 built with common hulls in one modernized yard. b Configuration derived in study provides additional 7"gun 175-MM or 5-inch L.W. gun on DX-2. MAJOR FLEET ESCORT FORCE LEVEL STUDY IMPLEMENTATION DX (1967) Recommended DD963 Built (1975 - 80) Displacement (Full Load) 5,800 7,800 Procurement Cost $45M $80M ($250M) Guns 2 5"/54 LW 2 5"/54 LW ASW Sensor (no VDS) SQS-26 or SQQ-23 SQS-26 (VDS planned & canx) Manning 216 296 Speed 30 kts 33 kts Propulsion 2 screws 2 screws & Gas Turbine BPDMS Needed Now! Added Much Later LAMPS Needed 1 SH-3 or 2 LAMPS Endurance 4500NM @ 20 kts PLUS... 6,000 @ 20 kts total
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