T-AOE(X) Replenishment Ship / Triple Product Station Ship
The Navy plans an open competition to follow current oilers with a so-called T-AOE(X) Fast Combat Support Ship replacement platform. New PMS 325 ship acquisition projects could include, but are not limited to, Maritime Prepositioning Force Future (MPF(F)), next generation triple product replenishment ship (T-AOE(X)), Landing Craft Utility Replacement (LCU(R)), High Speed Ship (HSS), and a next generation submarine tender.
The Navy is planning the development of a next generation triple product replenishment ship to replace the aging AOE-1 Class for underway replenishment ship missions. These AOE-1 Classes are scheduled for decommission in FY06-07. The new T-AOE(X) class will provide a next generation of triple product replenishment capabilities for the Carrier Strike Group. This will include the simultaneously delivery of ship petroleum products, ammunition, provisions and stores and redistribute these items.
The Navy plans to buy two T-AOE ships in FY-09.
T-AOE(X) will be employed as a triple-product fast logistics support ship serving as a station ship assigned to the Expeditionary Strike Group. It will receive petroleum products, ammunition, provisions and stores and redistribute these items simultaneously to the Carrier Strike Group using both underway replenishment and vertical replenishment with embarked helicopters.
In 1992 N42 developed a mission needs statement (MNS) for an Auxiliary Dry Cargo Carrier that covered both station-ship and shuttle-ship missions. In 2003 N42 asked CNA for an analysis of alternatives for the T-AOE(X). When the T-AOE(X) Integrating Integrated Product Team (IIPT) met to receive approval to enter concept refinement and formally begin the AoA, the outcome was less than optimal. OSD AT&L asked to be briefed further on the history of the program, on how T-AOE(X) fits into the bigger Naval picture, and in short, why the program office was using a 12-year-old MNS to justify a new start program.
N42 asked CNA for a second briefing, telling the "T-AOE(X) story." CNA showed that, since 1992, six major studies have examined the station-ship requirement. All of these studies addressed different conditions, yet all concluded that at least 8 AOEs and/or T-AOEs are needed. The IIPT members seemed pleased, and the sponsor developed a draft initial capabilities document with our results attached. The sponsor hoped this will suffice and the AoA can begin in 2004. This chain of events is another illustration, along with MPF(F), that the AoA process is changing and that CNA was changing with it. In the new system, preparations leading to the AoA may be as important as the AoA itself.
A 2002 study by the fleet suggests two feasible near-term Combat Logistics Force (CLF) alternatives (one with 12 T-AKEs, 18 T-AOs, and four T-AOE#6s and the other with nine T-AKEs, 14 T-AOs, four T-AOE#6s and four T-AOE(X)s and recommends the latter as more flexible. Previous studies have used, among other techniques, steady-state analysis and simulation to analyze the CLF. Descriptive models, such as simulations, do not allow us to determine the full potential of the force, and steady-state analyses can easily miss critical details such as constraints on scheduling that can significantly impact performance.
On July 29, 2004, the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics signed an Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) designating the Navy as the lead Department of Defense component for the T-AOE(X) fast combat support ship which is a pre-Major Defense Acquisition Program. The Navy was also given permission to enter into the Concept Refinement Phase of acquisition. Additionally, the Navy was directed to carry out an Analysis of Alternatives for the T-AOE(X) program.
An optimization model prescribes a near-optimal schedule for shuttle ship deliveries to battle groups for a dual MTW scenario. Data adapted from the fleet study included the force supported, the areas of operation, capacities and consumption rates of DFM, JP5, dry stores, and ordnance. To account for transit times precisely, a global sea-route model shows where any shuttle ship would travel to deliver to any battle group. The results suggest how to employ the shuttle ships, including where they should be pre-positioned. These results also allow us to compare various performance measure evaluated for each CLF alternative in an effort to quantify flexibility. In addition, the combatant off-station times resulting from using a T-AOE station ship versus a T-AO and T-AKE acting as a substitute station ship is compared, and for a 26-knot station ship versus a 20-knot station ship.
The concept of the evolving "sea-bases" - no footprint onshore but platform bases on the open seas - will give the Navy unimpeded maneuver space, reduced vulnerability and increased agility and speed. Sea basing is a concept that allows the U.S. to circumvent access limitations and diplomatic entanglements (such as those posed when Turkey refused to allow U.S. troops to invade from its soil) and also precludes the necessity of a buildup of large logistical establishments ashore.
From a programmatic perspective, potential major acquisition program beneficiaries of Sea Basing and the At-sea transfer technology include the Maritime Preposition Force Seabase (Future) or MPF (F), the replacement fleet oil tanker or T-AOE(X), the Combat Logistics Force (CLF), the next-generation aircraft carrier (CVN21), the next-generation destroyer (DD(X)), the littoral combatant ship (LCS), and the Navy's high-speed vessel (HSV) programs.
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