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Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) - Program

USNI News reported 18 June 2021 that the Navy had issued “concept design” contracts to five companies for the Light Amphibious Warship ahead of the Fiscal Year 2023 design selection. Fincantieri, Austal USA, VT Halter Marine, Bollinger and TAI Engineers were selected for the contracts, Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Alan Baribeau told USNI News. “A Concept Studies (CS) contract has been awarded to five offerors with a follow-on option for Preliminary Design (PD),” Baribeau said in a statement. “The CS/PD efforts include engineering analyses, tradeoff studies, and development of engineering and design documentation defining concepts studies/preliminary designs.” Baribeau confirmed to that the total combined amount of the contracts was less than $7.5 million. The service is slated to issue the construction award in FY 2023, Baribeau said.

The Navy is definitely challenging all assumptions, looking to take a light hand by the Navy. The Navy has a large appetite for deliverables, but has to live in an uncomfortable situation. The Navy needs to curb its appetite for information to do this as quickly and affordably as it wants. When the studies are done, there will be multiple awards for preliminary design. Then down select for a prototype. No plan for multiple yards and designs like LCS. It’s too hard of a logistics tail. But options are open if it is cheaper/faster. The Government wanted to field as rapidly as possible, and believed that using multiple yards is not the best and most affordable path.

The Navy's FY 2021 research and development portfolio will devote $30 million to a “next generation medium amphibious ship will be a stern landing vessel to support amphibious ship-to-shore operations”. New intra-theater vessels are to be able to support both Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) and Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE).

In July 2019, the new Commandant of the Marine Corps - Gen. David Berger - was installed. After Berger took office, he proposed to build new amphibious combat capabilities, including the development of a new, smaller and more flexible amphibious ship in addition to various large amphibious ships in service (LHA / LHD / LPD / LSD, etc.). The ship can more widely carry Marine Corps personnel and equipment to the offshore area for combat activities.

Navy budget The documents said the FY ’21 funds will “support concept evaluation/design, industry studies and exploration for a medium lift intra-theater amphibious support vessel. Efforts include requirements development, systems engineering, naval architecture and marine engineering, and operations research analysis.” The $30 million is divided into $21.5 million for industry studies and design, $6 million for project management and engineering support, $2.5 million for special studies, and $1 million for a U.S. government indicative design.

The FY ’21 budget document also explained the new logistics vessel effort comes in the wake of the Navy establishing an Intra-Theater Auxiliary Logistics Platform Task Force to evaluate the next generation medium platform solutions for logistics mission requirements that also support LOCE and DMO. “This includes a family of vessels with commercial designs tailored for military applications,” the documents said.

Sea Transport Solutions (STS) provide specialist marine design and consulting services worldwide specialising in commercial vessels including Ferries, Transhipment and Cargo/Workboat vessels. Sea Transport Solutions provides innovative and functional ship design services from inception to completion. From concept design, hull optimisation, advanced structural design, Classification and Statutory approval and production (CNC) detail.

Adapted from successful commercial craft working in remote areas under difficult conditions, STS offers simple solutions for military challenges of the 21st century. The patented SLV was a result of focusing on possible answers to the operational problems of conventional landing craft. The proven successful solution to the landing craft was the Stern Landing Vessel. The triple screw, twin skeg hull form is the most viable answer for the amphibious support craft to succeed in the military’s operational envelope.

Although relatively easy to build, a standard landing craft has significant drawbacks. A Stern Landing Vessel (SLV) was developed in the 1980s as an alternative design. The first prototype was built in 1988 and there are several vessels currently operating. These SLVs incorporates a shallow "V" hull with two side pods, together with off-centre shafts and a beaching/protection/aft skeg arrangement.

According to USNI News, the United States Navy and Marine Corps previously mentioned that new medium-sized amphibious ships may refer to previous Offshore Support Vessel (OSV); Naval Sea Systems Command has Participation in OSV's experience, which is an overseas arms sales project targeted at the needs of the Iraqi Navy. In addition, the US Navy also stated that the ship design of the new medium-sized amphibious ship may provide a reference for the ongoing large unmanned surface vehicle (LUSV). For example, in September 2019, Frank DiGiovanni, deputy director of the Expeditionary Warfare (OPNAV N95B) of the Office of the Secretary of Operations (CNO) of the United States Navy, revealed that OPNAV N95B has been evaluated and considered the value of OSV operations at LOCE and EABO. Admiral Weiberg's approach after taking office has increased the urgency of demand. Frank DiGiovanni said that they did not call this kind of ship OSV, but a concept of small, variable size, high maneuverability and flexibility.

Later, the U.S. Marine Corps had a new view on the demand for medium-sized amphibious ships and believed that it should not be limited to existing ships or conceptual designs; the Marine Corps hoped that this medium-sized landing ship could not only carry Marine Corps equipment To a certain distance close to the coast, but can really connect to the shore (similar to a landing vehicle), allowing the troops and equipment carried on board to get on and off the ship directly. This concept is similar to traditional landing ships that have disappeared from the US Navy for a long time, such as LST and LSM.

The acquisition approach the Government intends to follow will award multiple preliminary design efforts to support robust competition for Detailed Design and Construction. The Government is also considering non-traditional acquisition strategies such as Middle Tier Acquisition (Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Fielding). The top Government priorities are affordability and fielding the capability as quickly as possible, therefore Industry is encouraged to propose teaming ideas or acquisition strategies in their RFI white paper responses that further these goals.

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Page last modified: 24-06-2021 18:06:09 ZULU