April 2002 Excerpt
Navy Lighterage System
Navy Lighterage System (INLS) is comprised of powered and non-powered floating
platforms assembled from interchangeable modular components. The INLS will
support the Navy’s Logistics Over-the-Shore (LOTS) operations. The modules,
in their assembled configurations, will be used to transfer cargo between
strategic sealift ships and the shore. INLS will provide LOTS cargo throughput
capacity through sea state 3 (SS3) in the most cost-effective manner and in
the shortest reasonable time. The INLS requires full operation of all module
assemblies in SS3 (threshold). The modules must endure SS4 with minimal damage
and survive SS5, meaning repairable non-catastrophic damage.
The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Sealift Support Program
Office, sponsors the composite INLS project. The project leader at NSWCCD
is Himatlal Garala (6551).
NSWCCD is tasked to develop a 24-ft wide by 40-ft long composite flat-end
module to be integrated with future INLS systems. This project follows a very
accelerated, demanding schedule culminating in a successful demonstration.
The use of composite materials for the main box portion of a larger, redesigned,
flat-end module will meet the operational requirements, minimize corrosion,
and reduce weight significantly. Improved steel connector system and module
alignment devices are also being developed.
The flat-end module was developed and designed by the Structures and Composites
Department at NSWCCD. The module is comprised of composite materials and new
end connectors constructed of steel. A redesigned connector system having
more tolerable dimensional requirements has been developed and features an
automatic engagement mechanism. The new connector will improve personnel safety
when the modules are connected together. A patent application has been filed
for this new connector.
A contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS) in August 2001
to fabricate the composite module. NGSS was selected in a competitive procurement
within the Composites Consortium under agreement between the Office of Naval
Research and South Carolina Research Authority for Composite Manufacturing
Technology. Three divisions of NNGS, the Full Service Center, Ingalls Shipbuilding
and Avondale, make up the performance team. A single full-scale prototype
module (40-ft x 24-ft x 8-ft) is being fabricated to validate the materials
and fabrication process selected for module manufacturing. Fabrication of
the module has been completed on schedule and within budget. The module arrived
at NAVFAC’s Little Creek, Virginia, facility on March 27. The module
was ready for display during a visit by the Under Secretary of Defense, the
Honorable Dr. Dov Zakheim, and Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) on
Operational tests to demonstrate that the module meets all program requirements
are scheduled in April. Subsequently, NAVFAC plans to issue a request for
proposal (RFP) for low-rate initial production (LRIP) in May 2002. A contract
for LRIP will be awarded in November 2002. Operation and test evaluations
will be conducted during FY 03 and FY 04 on the LRIP modules. An option for
full-rate production can be exercised in FY 05. Total acquisition of this
program through FY 09 is budgeted to about $1,000M.
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