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Title: Affordable Future Surface Combatants: Challenging the Ship Design & Construction Paradigm

Author(s): Chris Deegan and Tom Schubert; Gibbs & Cox


The traditional timeline of new combatant design and construction (15-20 years from Concept to fleet delivery) does not support the pace of capability improvement in mission systems.  This results in new ships being delivered with outdated capability, only to be upgraded during post-delivery availability.  New approaches are needed to allow parallel development of ship designs and mission systems to improve capability at ship delivery.  Employing flexible warship tenets from the outset of the design will facilitate more frequent mission systems upgrade and tech refresh during pierside availabilities throughout the life of the ship, rather than deferring significant capability improvements until a major mid-life availability. Affordability throughout the life cycle can be further enhanced by maximizing common configurations, systems and equipment across the full spectrum of future surface combatant programs.  In this presentation, the authors suggest three fundamental recommendations for future surface combatant programs (Maximizing re-use of design elements; Establishing design boundaries and interfaces early through open architectures; and Employing flexible warship features for technology insertion), and illustrate how these recommendations will improve affordability and capability in the future surface combatant fleet.