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The MEKO [Mehrzweck Kombination - system for building ships in containerised modules] modular frigates have done well in the market. These ships are easy and inexpensive to build and adaptable to the customer’s system requirements. The MEKO® concept has continually proven itself since the 1970s. Navies from 20 countries have deployed or ordered ships based on the MEKO® system since its introduction in 1980.

The MEKO® A-200 SAN is a new generation of MEKO® frigates. Four ships of this class were built for and delivered to the South African Navy. The proven standards have been optimised to offer additional advantages: systematic signature reduction, increased load capacity, integration of an innovative propulsion concept and higher crew accommodation standards. The MEKO® CSL Corvette is a further development of the successful MEKO® and VISBY Classes. Because of its high degree of modularity it is tactically flexible and can be adapted within a very short time to a wide range of mission requirements in terms of functionality and combat capability.

Standardized Operating Units

In a warship of this kind a significant rationalisation is obtained during manufacture in that the weapon units, the fire control units, the floodlight units and/or the position finding units are prepared on standard platforms outside of the ship in special factories, and in that the standard platform provided with the unit then only needs to be mounted on a standard foundation provided in the hull of the ship. The known system of standardised operating units not only makes it possible to manufacture warships economically but also makes it possible to change out obsolete units in a simple manner, simply by removing the standard platform carrying the old unit from the standard foundation and by replacing it with a platform equipped with a modernised or new unit. This can take place within a very short period of a few days, whereas previously months of conversion work were necessary for this purpose. The modernised or new unit can namely also have been previously prepared in a special factory on a suitable standard platform.

To the extent that apparatus located outside of the container, for example an antenna mounted on a mast, needs to be arranged relatively high above the deck of the ship, the container can be housed at a suitable location in the ship, and can be connected with the apparatus mounted at a remote location via a line. The command post unit is also preferably housed in a container in the interior of the ship.

All the units mentioned here are standardised operating units which is intended to mean that, as far as possible, all of the total elements necessary for the operation of the unit are contained in as compact a form as possible in the unit so that a complete interchange of the unit is possible without a great deal of disassembly work. The standard operating units are in particular housed in containers which--to the extent that they are not located in the interior of the ship--should each be closed at the top by the mentioned standard platform on which the apparatus belonging to the unit (for example a cannon) is mounted. Two or more different standard foundation/standard platform types (for example of different dimensions) can also be provided.

A problem with the known system of operating units lies however in the fact that information transmission lines between the individual units of the ship and between the units and the command post unit must be present in a very large number. By way of example approximately 200 km of data cable must presently be laid within the ship in order to be able to effect all the information transmissions between the units and the command post unit. For this purpose cable tracks must be constructed and the cables laid, secured, cast to the bulk heads, and provided with plugs. This not only signifies a considerable amount of work but also brings about a quite considerable increase in the weight of the ship which is undesirable. Particularly disadvantageous is the fact that on replacing old units with modernised or new units all the cabling apart from the current supply must be newly executed. Despite the advantages provided by the system of standardised operating units this represents a considerable disadvantage and it should be born in mind that some of the standardised operating units require up to 40 pjugs with, in each case, up to 40 pins in order to be able to effect the required exchange of information with other units or with the command post.

The object is to provide a warship in which the mechanical standardisation through provision of standardised operating units, and in particular standard foundations and standard platforms carrying the units, is supplemented by an electronic standardisation which makes it possible not only to considerably reduce the costs of and effort of cabling between the units and the command post, but also makes it possible to dispense with the need for new cabling each time some or all of the standard operating units are replaced by new or modernised standard operating units, likewise mounted in standard containers and in particular on standard platforms.

The standard foundations which are fixedly built into the ship are supplemented by a standard transmission line system which is built into the ship in just the same way as the standard foundations and can be used for all the units built into the standard foundations by means of standard platforms. The standard information transmission line system is only individualised to a degree such that only fire control units, for example, can be built into specified standard foundations, that only abovewater or underwater weapon units, for example, can be built into other standard foundations and that the command post unit, a fire control unit or the like can only be mounted at specific locations in the ship. In other words only one specific type of unit, such as a weapon unit or a position finding unit can be built into each standard foundation, the type or special construction of the unit is however in other respects immaterial, by reason of the standard information transmission line system of the invention, because the data processor built into the unit can bring all the data into a form compatible with the standard information line system.

It is for example possible to mount a modern rocket weapon in place of an obsolete cannon, or a modern fire control unit in place of an old one, in a standard foundation by means of a standard platform without requiring new cabling. A command post unit contained in a container can also be replaced by a new one at any time. The fact that only crude information is exchanged between the units, which cannot be prepared by the individual data processor provided for each unit, is particularly significant for the reduction in complexity of the cabling. Thus every avoidable transmission of information and data between the units themselves and between the units and the command post is dispensed with. The crude information, for example in the case of a weapon, can relate to aiming, to ballistics, to munition specific data or to restrictions on the range of the weapon.

The decentralisation of the control of the units brought about in this way has the great advantage that the individual units remain operable to a restricted degree on destruction of the operations center during battle. For this purpose, in accordance with a preferred embodiment, keyboards for hand control can be provided at each controlled unit. The individual weapons can thus still be operated using this keyboard because the characteristic data for the particular weapon is present in decentralised form in the associated data processor.

A particular advantage resides in the fact that shipboard units which at the present time still operate extensively in analog manner can readily be made suitable for the standard information transmission line system of the invention by analog/digital converters built into the data processors. For future units which from the outset will operate in digital manner the compatibility with the standard information transmission line system of the invention is present from the very beginning.

Standardized Piping Systems

Ship piping systems for the conveying of fluids such as water, oil, air, steam, etc., arranged on a deck located in the interior of the ship, and in particular, on the floor of such a deck. Such piping systems, according to conventional prior art construction methods, are arranged at the bottom of ships in very close-packed crowded arrangements. Because of the considerable packing density of the individual pipes under the floor and in the bilge, it is frequently not possible to clean and maintain the bottom of the ship without partially dismantling the pipes. In addition, repairing of damaged pipes or removing rust from the pipes is also rendered extremely difficult for these reasons, especially lack of access. These problems could only be solved by removing bunches of entire assemblies of pipes from the piping system in order to create the necessary access. This procedure, however, requires considerable effort in that the removed pipes have to be rewelded, and is furthermore disadvantageous in that, subsequent rewelding of pipe sections may result in leakages and accidental removal of paint, causing additional difficulties at a later time.

The object of the MEKO system is to provide a ship of the type described at the outset, in which the installed pipes as well as the floor of the ship supporting the pipes can be made accessible with relatively little effort and in which the installation of piping systems is considerably simplified during original construcrion of the ship. Rapid changeover to another piping system using the invention should also be possible, which is advantageous, for example, if the ship is to receive a different type of drive, for example, when changing over from a gas turbine drive to a diesel engine drive. To solve this problem, the MEKO system provides that the piping system is subdivided into individual piping units or modules at predetermined intervals in the longitudinal and/or lateral direction along vertical lateral or longitudinal dividing planes, said units being arranged on removable pallets located on deck or on the floor of the ship, and that the open ends of corresponding pipes of adjacent piping modules are arranged at corresponding coordinates of the dividing planes and the corresponding mating pipes are connected in a fluid-tight manner by means of removable pipe connectors or joints, such as flanged joints.

One particular advantage of the MEKO system is during construction of the ship, since the piping units on the pallets can be prefabricated in suitable workshops outside of the ship simultaneously with the manufacture of the hull of the ship. Upon manufacture of the pallets, equipped with piping units, for assembly, these must then only be passed into the ship's hull through suitable assembly openings, mounted at the appropriate location and then connected to adjacent piping units by means of the pipe connectors.

Standardized Access Ways

The installation and removal, specifically of rather large components, is becoming increasingly difficult on ships especially because of an increase in packing density of equipment to be installed inside modern naval vessels. This becomes even more important, the farther inside the ship the components in question must go and the bigger the components become. It is known that access openings and access routes especially designed and aligned can be provided for this purpose inside the hull of the ship. For each different type of ship, the access openings and access routes must be determined and established in time-consuming tests, on the basis of the equipment, apparatus, pallets, etc., to be installed. This results in a series of disadvantages, both in the area of design and fabrication. One of these disadvantages consists of the non-uniform dimensions of the access openings which must fit the type of ship and also must take into account strength requirements for the ship on the one hand, and the access routes which are required by the positioning of the equipment, apparatus, etc., on the other hand. As a result, in many cases access openings cannot be located vertically above one another. In many cases, only welded access openings can be considered, and this results in limitations on the maximum size of components to be incorporated, which necessarily has a negative impact on the development of large functional units to be introduced into the ship.

The object of the MEKO system is to provide a ship in which it is possible to erect and remove equipment, machines, frames, pallets, containers, etc., with comparatively little effort inside the ship, through all the decks, down to the inside bottom, so that it is possible to introduce components with predetermined maximum dimensions simply and easily by means of a crane and a horizontal transportation system. This objective is achieved by the fact that the longitudinal beams and framework girders of different decks or of the inside bottom are each arranged in predetermined vertical planes. In at least some of the rectangles defined by longitudinal beams and framework girders, there are access openings located vertically above one another in all decks and connected with one another.

Because of the configuration, it is generally possible to combine equipment, apparatus, etc., into rather large functional units and place them in the ship, whereby many repair activities can be performed outside the ship. This results in improved quality and time saved, because of the possibility of parallel fabrication and repair. There are also savings during the on-board erection. Before the introduction of the components, the rooms and deck areas in question can be completed, for example, the insulation, pipelines, cables, and cable tracks can be completed by the time the equipment, apparatus, functional units, etc., are simply and economically installed. Finally, the access openings can be easily covered by a standard access cover and sealed in a water-tight manner.

MEKO® 2030 The all-electric ship.

The MEKO® 2030 concept is based on game-changing technologies. This revolutionary ship features considerable space and weight advantages delivered by High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) power generation systems that will be harnessed to directed energy weapon systems such as the Free Electron Laser, Electro-Magnetic Railgun and High-Power Microwaves.

This frigate-sized vessel will also utilize technologies now close to market readiness, as for example integrated sensor + communication masts and autonomous vehicle systems. The novel propulsion concept features a submerged waterjet for high speeds. Cycloidal rudders deliver slow, economical patrol speeds and exceptional manoeuvrability abilities.

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