Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) /
Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV)
The Joint Requirements Oversight Council validates capability needs and reviews and approves the key performance parameters (KPPs) identified in the capabilities development document (CDD). A KPP is a primary requirement that is critical or essential to the development of an effective military capability. The CDD identified eight KPPs that the EPF vessel must meet:
- Transport Capability—move medium-size tactical units across operational distances at high speeds.
- Draft—maneuver in shallow waters and ports.
- Ramp—handle the full range of vehicles, roll-on and roll-off equipment, and sufficiently interface with anticipated land access systems and seabase platforms.
- Cargo Movement—cargo movement between mission deck and flight deck, and between pier and mission deck.
- Net Ready—continuously provide survivable, interoperable, secure, and operationally effective information exchanges.
- Force Protection—provide deterrence, detection, response, and mitigation of terrorist threats.
- Survivability—meet commercial standards for ship survivability.
- Mission Deck Loading—support the on and offload of large vehicles.
In addition, the CDD listed 25 additional performance attributes (APAs) for the EPF vessel. An APA is a performance attribute that is important enough to be included in the CDD but not important enough to be considered a KPP or a key system attribute, which is a secondary requirement.
Navy Instruction 5000.2E states that the Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR), shall conduct operational tests and evaluations on Navy ACAT II programs. COMOPTEVFOR is the independent test agency responsible for conducting operational test and evaluation for Navy, Marine Corps, and joint acquisition programs. COMOPTEVFOR tests and evaluates warfighting capabilities under realistic operational conditions to determine the systems’ effectiveness, suitability, and impact on the mission accomplishment.
COMOPTEVFOR, with assistance from the Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity, completed the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of the EPF program in January 2014. T he IOT&E is used to determine whether systems are operationally effective and operationally suitable. Operational effectiveness is the measurement of the overall ability of a system to accomplish a mission when used by representative personnel in the environment planned or expected for operational employment of the system. Operational effectiveness takes into consideration organization, doctrine, tactics, supportability, survivability, vulnerability, and threat. Operational suitability is the degree to which a system can be satisfactorily placed in field use with consideration to reliability, availability, safety, and other requirements. Following the IOT&E, COMOPTEVFOR determined that the EPF vessel was operationally effective and suitable for Fleet introduction.
In April 2015, COMOPTEVFOR, with assistance from the Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity, completed the follow-on operational test and evaluation (FOT&E). The FOT&E is designed to test system changes and verify whether the program continues to meet operational needs and retains its effectiveness in new environments or against new threats. COMOPTEVFOR updated its operational evaluation during the FOT&E. In November 2015, COMOPTEVFOR reported to Navy officials that the EPF vessel was operationally suitable but not operationally effective for conducting at-sea transfers.
Following the IOT&E and FOT&E, COMOPTEVFOR created operational evaluation reports and identified 28 deficiencies, which ranged from severe to minor. COMOPTEVFOR officials identified a major 2 deficiency during the IOT&E that related to the Transport Capability KPP. Major 2 deficiencies had a serious impact on mission accomplishment. Additionally, COMOPTEVFOR officials identified deficiencies related to the Net Ready KPP during the IOT&E, ranging from major 1 to minor. Major 1 deficiencies had a critical impact on mission accomplishment.
COMOPTEVFOR officials identified a deficiency related to the Transport Capability KPP. The EPF vessel was required to transport 1.2 million pounds of cargo for 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.11 D uring t he IOT&E, COMOPTEVFOR officials reported that the EPF vessel was only able to achieve weight capacity of 1.2 million pounds of cargo for 769 nautical miles at an average speed of 31 knots. Additionally, the DOT&E determined that the EPF vessel did not achieve the Transport Capability KPP because the EPF vessel was only able to achieve a weight capacity of 1.2 million pounds of cargo for 858 nautical miles at an average speed of 31 knots. DOT&E and COMOPTEVFOR officials recommended that the Program Office correct this deficiency. Program Office officials assigned the deficiency a status of open without resolution and did not correct the deficiency.
COMOPTEVFOR officials identified a severe deficiency during the FOT&E relating to the at-sea transfer capability. Program Office officials set an objective to transfer equipment between ships in waves over 1.25 meters, with a minimum requirement to make the transfer in 0.1 meter waves. The EPF vessel uses the stern ramp and mobile landing platform for at-sea transfers. The EPF vessel was able to complete a vehicle transfer in a protected harbor with 0.3 meter waves. However, the EPF vessel was not capable of making an open ocean equipment transfer in 0.5 meter waves. Additionally, the DOT&E determined that the EPF vessel was not capable of completing an at-sea transfer. The DOT&E reported that conducting vehicle transfers exclusively in protected harbors is not operationally realistic. This limitation precludes the EPF vessels from accomplishing the mission requirement of at-sea transfers. DOT&E and COMOPTEVFOR recommended that the Program Office correct this deficiency. Program Office officials assigned the deficiency a status of open without resolution and did not correct the deficiency.
NAVSEA recommended that Program Office officials continue to collect in-service payload, range, and speed data to facilitate better predictive tools for mission planning because the EPF vessel is a new ship class. However, Program Office and MSC officials did not collect this data.
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