ADC(X) Auxiliary Dry Cargo Carrier
The primary mission of the ADC(X) is to provide a steady stream of ammunition, spare parts and provisions (dry, refrigerated and frozen) to naval forces at sea in its role as a shuttle ship. The ADC(X) would provide logistics lift from sources of supply such as friendly ports or at sea from specially equipped merchant ships for further transfer at sea to ships of a naval battle group. The existing shuttle ships (AE and AFS) are single product ships which specialize in either combat stores (food and spares) or ammunition. Their primary role as shuttle ship is to resupply the station ship. ADC(X) may be a single product ship or potentially a two or three product ship. The Navy is currently performing a study to determine the most cost effective means to resupply the battle group at sea.
The ADC(X) would also have the capability to remain on station with the battle group if the situation so dictates. Remaining on station with the battle group is a secondary mission for the ADC(X). These ships may be required to operate in concert with a T-AO class ship as a substitute station ship to provide direct logistics support to the ships within a battle group. The T-AO class ship, which carries liquid cargo, and the T-AKE class ship, which carries dry cargo, when operating together in lieu of a station ship, would provide the Battle Group with products equivalent to an AOE 1/6 class ship. The on station role with the battle group is typically carried out by a fast combat logistics support ship normally referred to as a station ship. Station ships carry all three types of products which the battle group needs to stay at sea for extended periods of time. The three categories of products are dry stores (food, consumables, spare parts), ammunition (bombs, missiles) and fuel (oil, jet fuel). A station ship provides the ships of the battle group with one stop shopping. All three products may be transferred to the customer simultaneously.
The ADC(X) was envisioned to be a conventional monohull. The size, speed (20-26 kts), and cargo mix (single or multi product) would be the result of various ongoing trade-off studies. The upper limit of size is that of the AOE 6 Class station ship (length 754 ft, beam 107 ft, displacement 48,500 long tons). The ships' propulsion plant would either be diesel, gas turbine, or electric drive. The ship shall be designed and constructed to provide a 40-year service life with minimum maintenance and repair.
The ADC(X) would use standard US Navy Underway Replenishment (UNREP) equipment or improved systems developed by industry. The transfer rates for ammunition and stores must be at least equal to those of the AOE 6 Class. The ship would be capable of landing, fueling and maintaining two H-46D helicopters (and its follow on replacement), with hangar space for both helicopters.
The ADC(X) would be built to commercial standards to the extent practicable in order to minimize cost and accommodate the possibility of civilian manning (Military Sealift Command (MSC) crews). The Government is interested in industry innovations and invites recommendations on commercial alternatives that would reduce life cycle cost and improve efficiencies.
The ADC(X) program would be especially critical to demonstrate America's ability to produce affordable and flexible container-type ships without going overseas. These ships would contribute to America's overall shipbuilding infrastructure because their design would be a common hull having tremendous application to the civilian shipbuilding industry. ADC(X) represents the re-capitalization of the Navy's sealift needs, and would greatly impact America's ability to competitively build ships on the civilian market. Although the final determination has not been made, ADC(X) would likely be a "Charter and Build" program similar to production of the successful MPS ships in the 1980s. The Navy was were asked to pursue Charter and Build by DoD's Defense Planning Guidance (DPG). The ADC(X) program would provide additional work for commercial US shipbuilders, and would utilize the US Merchant Marine by employing the expertise of the industry and providing additional sea-going jobs.
The end force structure would be such that it meets the requirements of the CLF Master Plan, which is being developed as a product of the ADC(X) Analysis of Alternatives (AoA). The preliminary results of the AoA indicate a need for 10 to 15 ADC(X) Class ships to meet the peacetime and wartime lift requirements. Details of the acquisition strategy for use of this performance specification are in the formative stages; however, approximately 12 ships of the T-ADC(X) line are anticipated. Initial procurement would commence in FY 2000. Achieving Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in FY 2005 is desired and would occur after lead ship Post Shakedown Availability (PSA).
The FY 2001-2005 shipbuilding program procured 11 T-ADC(X) dry-cargo ships, completing the planned 12-ship buy. The program also accelerated the procurement schedule relative to previous plans, funding three ships per year in FY 2002 and FY 2003. These new multiproduct vessels would replace aging T-AE and T-AFS ammunition and dry cargo ships and AOE-1 fast combat stores ships. They would be used to carry both dry and refrigerated products as well as ammunition and a limited amount of fuel. To improve affordability, the ships would be procured using commercial business and construction practices to the maximum extent possible.
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