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Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS)

The Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS), a sea state three (SS3) capable causeway system, is a floating pier that comprises powered and nonpowered floating platforms assembled from interchangeable modules. The INLS is used to transfer cargo from sealift ships to shore areas where conventional port facilities may be damaged, inadequate, or nonexistent. The Navy "logistics-over-the-shore" is the loading and unloading of ships without the benefit of fixed port facilities in either friendly or undefended territory, and in time of war, during phases of theatre development.

The Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) replaces the existing Navy Lighterage (NL) system and supports the US Navy Lighterage recapitalization plan. Current NL will reach the end of its service life and will impact crew safety and operation readiness. INLS will be capable of operations in higher sea states, have a greater service life, and have reduced maintenance costs. INLS will be deployed during Logistic Over The Shore (LOTS) operations, Assault Follow On Echelon (AFOE) operations and Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) operations. INLS consists of Warping Tugs, Causeway Ferries, RO/RO Discharge Facilities and Floating Causeway.

The NAVFAC program office estimated the total INLS life-cycle costs to be $665.5 to $732.1 million. The total life-cycle cost consisted of research, development, test and evaluation, procurement, and operation and support of all INLS components.

Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) History

The Joint (Army and Navy) Modular Lighterage System (JMLS) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program took place from 1997 through 2000. The JMLS was to provide configurable platforms to move supplies and equipment from ship to ship and from ship to shore. The Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program tested and analyzed the JMLS platforms and concluded the JMLS would not meet Navy "logistics-over-theshore" requirements. In August 2001, the Army decided to withdraw from the program. NAVFAC investigated improvements to the JMLS, and starting in September 2002, proceeded under the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) name.

The design and development for INLS was completed in FY04. Contract for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) was awarded in August 2003. From August through October 2003, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command awarded two contracts related to the Improved Navy Lighterage System, one for the procurement of the system modules and one for the procurement of the system side connectors for a total of $413 million. First article testing of the Improved Navy Lighterage System side connector was performed from June through September 2004. OPEVAL DT/OT took place 4th quarter in FY05. Operational evaluation testing for the Improved Navy Lighterage System began February 2006. , leading to a Full Operation Capability in 2010.

From August through October 2003, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command awarded two contracts related to the Improved Navy Lighterage System, one for the procurement of the system modules and one for the procurement of the system side connectors for a total of $413 million. The separate design and procurement of the INLS side connector mitigated many of the technical risks associated with the detail design and construction of the low-rate initial production units. By breaking out the side connector procurement, NAVFAC reduced technical risk by removing the unique component that was not part of a normal barge construction effort. The NAVFAC acquisition strategy noted that the INLS side connector was only required for side connection of the roll-on roll-off discharge facility and the floating causeway platforms; to preserve the procurement schedule, the design and manufacturing of the INLS side connector was separated from the overall INLS procurement.

On August 12, 2003, NAVFAC awarded a firm-fixed-price contract (N00025-03-C-0002) for a base year and up to four option years to Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wisconsin, for $404,815,320 for procurement of the INLS platforms. The initial contract year is valued at $40.5 million. If all five fixed option years are exercised, the total contract value is $404,815,320. INLS is scheduled for manufacture and delivery in several stages. The first delivery was programmed for January 2005 with the final deliveries planned in January 2010. Deliveries will be made to the Amphibious Beach Group 1 based at Coronado, Calif., and Amphibious Beach Group 2 based at Norfolk, Va. Other units are planned for delivery to the Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, Fla. Five companies bid on the INLS contract. Marinette Marine Corporation was chosen because its bid represented the best value to the government.

On October 2, 2003, NAVFAC awarded a firm-fixed-price contract (N00025-03-C-0001) for a base year plus up to 5 option periods to Oldenburg Lake Shore, Inc., Kingsford, Michigan, for $7,998,986 for procurement of up to 159 side connectors and eighteen 20-foot containers for storage and shipping the side connectors.

On February 23, 2004, NAVFAC issued engineering change proposal number 001 (N00025-03-C-0001 modification P00005) to Oldenburg Lake Shore for $136,432. The engineering change proposal added a remote control station cart to the INLS crew shelter, which automated the locking and unlocking of the side connector. Modification P00005 also reduced the amount of side connectors procured from 159 to 144 and added 6 remote control station carts. On August 27, 2004, NAVFAC issued engineering change proposal number 002 (N00025-03-C-0001 modification P00009) to Oldenburg Lake Shore for $14,425. The engineering change proposal replaced side connector antifouling paint with an inorganic zinc paint to better guard against marine growth and corrosion.

First article testing of the Improved Navy Lighterage System side connector was performed from June through September 2004. On October 8, 2004, Oldenburg Lake Shore provided to NAVFAC a contractually required report summarizing INLS side connector first article testing performed from June through September 2004. First article testing included acceptance testing of the side connector first production unit, which included checking the quality and measurement of the welding to ensure the welding was within the tolerance, and testing of connector assembly and associated operating component functional requirements. First article testing also included an immersion test of the side connector in salt water.

Operational evaluation testing for the Improved Navy Lighterage System began February 2006. NAVFAC delayed the operational evaluation, originally scheduled for third quarter FY 2005 completion, due to logistical problems (iced-over INLS modules at the Marinette Marine, Wisconsin testing location) and schedule delays in INLS fabrication.

NAVFAC expected INLS fullrate production to commence in the fourth quarter FY 2006 upon operational evaluation completion and approval. Full rate production modules are slated for delivery to the Navy's Amphibious Construction Battalions and to all three Maritime Prepositioning Force squadrons through 2010.

NAVFAC program officials stated that they are trying to mitigate time delays and maintain the full operational deployment date of the system for November 2009. The NAVFAC program office estimated the total INLS life-cycle costs to be $665.5 to $732.1 million. The total life-cycle cost consisted of research, development, test and evaluation, procurement, and operation and support of all INLS components.

In addition, the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) Phase III design process continued with the High Speed Ferry Assault Connector (CFFX) in support of the Seabasing concept. CFFX Technology development began in FY2005 with Art Anderson Associates under SBIR Phase III. Navy budget documents attest this program, which is otherwise un-attested.

Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) Design

The Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS), a sea state three (SS3) capable causeway system, is a floating pier that comprises powered and nonpowered floating platforms assembled from interchangeable modules. The INLS is used to transfer cargo from sealift ships to shore areas where conventional port facilities may be damaged, inadequate, or nonexistent. The Navy "logistics-over-the-shore" is the loading and unloading of ships without the benefit of fixed port facilities in either friendly or undefended territory, and in time of war, during phases of theatre development.

The Improved Navy Lighterage System is a redesign of the existing Navy Lighter (NL) system that has been around for almost 50 years, developed for use in World War II and used consistently throughout the years. Now, nearing the end of its useful life, the NL system with less cargo capacity and power needs to be more efficient and reliable especially in turbulent seas. INLS's flexibility and stability make it more resilient under such conditions.

The old system was limited to operating in a sea state two. The current system is capable of operating in a sea state of three and is expected to be survivable at a sea state of five. It is also designed and built with enhanced technology and is truly a quantum leap over the previous system.

The INLS consists of four platforms: roll-on roll-off discharge facility, causeway ferry, floating causeway, and warping tug. Each platform comprises a group of interoperable and interchangeable floating modules. The INLS side connector is used to connect modules to create the two subsystems: roll-on roll-off discharge facility and floating causeway.

The INLS consists of powered and nonpowered floating modules and barges that can be assembled into the following four platforms:

  • the roll-on roll-off discharge facility, which supports the discharge ramp from the cargo ship and serves as a pier to transfer rolling stock to a barge;
  • the floating causeway, which supports the discharge ramp from the cargo ship and transfers rolling stock across undeveloped shoreline;
  • the causeway ferry, which is used to transport cargo from ship to shore or to the floating causeway;
  • the warping tug, which is used for assembling, towing, anchoring, and salvaging operations;

INLS side connectors connect the individual modules or barges that make up the roll-on roll-off discharge facility and the floating causeway. The side connector is a two-trapezoidal box structure that houses eight bullets at top and bottom for connection. These eight bullets work in pairs and move inward or outward by hydraulic cylinders with controls at the topside of the connector. Each bullet engages with a female socket that conforms to the shape of the bullet. The female sockets are installed on the combination module. The objective is to use four side connectors holding together, side-to-side, two combination modules. For each connector, all eight bullets engage the female sockets to form a rigid joint. The hydraulic power is supplied by flexible quick disconnect hoses that connect to the top of the side connectors.

The side connector system receives its power (hydraulic and electric) from the containerized crew shelter. The remote control station cart connects to the crew shelter by two hydraulic hoses, an electrical power cable, and an electrical control cable. The remote control station cart interfaces with and controls the side connectors.

The remote control station cart is a single structure allowing for mounting of remote hydraulic power unit components and assemblies. The cart includes an electrical enclosure mount to house the proportional valve driver card and control circuitry. The manifold includes an electrically operated valve with manual override that provides for circulation of oil for purging air or warm-up. The remote control station, located on the remote control station cart, incorporates all electrical controls and gauges for use by the operator. The remote control station provides for operation and monitoring by one operator, is portable, and interfaces to the cart through a flexible interface cable no longer than 10 feet in length. The remote control station cart interfaces with the side connector by using a multifaster connector that engages the four hydraulic lines and any electrical control wires in one effort. A remote control station indicator light shows that the hydraulic power unit is operating and that the bullets are engaged.

The INLS program was developed as a result of the Joint (Army and Navy) Modular Lighterage System (JMLS) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program that took place from 1997 through 2000. The JMLS was to provide configurable platforms to move supplies and equipment from ship to ship and from ship to shore. The Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program tested and analyzed the JMLS platforms and concluded the JMLS would not meet Navy "logistics-over-theshore" requirements. In August 2001, the Army decided to withdraw from the program. NAVFAC investigated improvements to the JMLS, and starting in September 2002, proceeded under the INLS name.

When the Navy discontinued the JMLS program and initiated the INLS program, the Navy replaced the cam and ball configuration with a hydraulic system. The Navy replaced the cam and ball configuration because the operational requirements document required the INLS to be capable of meeting force projections and sustainment requirements in environments greater than "Sea State 2" for the movement of cargo to and from commercial and strategic sealift ships. The operational requirements document defined Sea State 2 as wave heights from 1.5 to 3 feet and wind speeds ranging from 5 to 12.6 knots. NAVFAC included the hydraulic configuration requirement in the INLS side connector solicitation to meet the sea state requirement.

The INLS side connector replaced the failed JMLS cam and ball connector. The cam and ball was a component of the JMLS connector, and the cam and ball required manual connection to activate the connection. When the Navy discontinued the JMLS program and initiated the INLS program, the Navy replaced the cam and ball configuration with a hydraulic system. The Navy replaced the cam and ball configuration because the operational requirements document required the INLS to be capable of meeting force projections and sustainment requirements in environments greater than "Sea State 2" for the movement of cargo to and from commercial and strategic sealift ships. The operational requirements document defined Sea State 2 as wave heights from 1.5 to 3 feet and wind speeds ranging from 5 to 12.6 knots. NAVFAC included the hydraulic configuration requirement in the INLS side connector solicitation to meet the sea state requirement.

INLS side connectors connect the individual modules or barges that make up the roll-on roll-off discharge facility and the floating causeway. The side connector is a two-trapezoidal box structure that houses eight bullets at top and bottom for connection. These eight bullets work in pairs and move inward or outward by hydraulic cylinders with controls at the topside of the connector. Each bullet engages with a female socket that conforms to the shape of the bullet. The female sockets are installed on the combination module. The objective is to use four side connectors holding together, side-to-side, two combination modules. For each connector, all eight bullets engage the female sockets to form a rigid joint. The hydraulic power is supplied by flexible quick disconnect hoses that connect to the top of the side connectors.



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