The aim of the Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform (CHAMP) is to replace several aging classes of amphibious ships with new vessels based on a common design. The US Navy is seeking a platform that could undertake five different missions commonly undertaken by auxiliary vessels.
An industry day announcement and request for information (RFI), issued by the Department of the Navy on behalf of the Programme Manager for the Strategic & Theatre Sealift Programme Office (PMS 385), was issued for information and planning purposes. PMS 385 is conducting market research in support of strategic sealift and auxiliary ship requirements development.
As it noted, today the US Navy relies on an aging fleet of auxiliaries and sealift vessels built over several generations and approaching end of service life. Now, an era of rapid technological advancement requires a different approach to capturing requirements and ensuring future flexibility. Evolving threats and future warfighting challenges require multi-mission ships that provide improved operational depth. Expanding the number of distributed sea bases supporting expeditionary logistics, medical response, and command and control to keep the US fleet forward in the fight is critical.
With this in mind, the US Navy’s new construction plan includes a domestic common-hull design to replace aging mission-specific sealift and auxiliary designs to reduce life-cycle costs, leverage reconfigurable force packages and stabilise the industrial base. Additional potential missions include: sealift, aviation intermediate maintenance support, medical services, command and control, and submarine tending.
The common hull auxiliary multi-mission ship will be a non-developmental programme complying with American Bureau of Shipping Rules and US Coast Guard regulations and will utilise commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) systems and equipment.
It is intended that the common hull auxiliary multi-mission ship will be able to support roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) movement of combat equipment and expanded missions through the use of ‘force packages’ that will include accommodation including single to six-man staterooms, dormitory-style spaces and medical facilities (including surgical facilities and O2 generation); industrial shops; aviation intermediate maintenance facilities; and command and control and associated communications facilities, equipment and antennas.
PMS 385 is soliciting white papers addressing potential sources that can build ships and the current state of the industry for force packages and portable facilities as described below. Submissions were expected to be made by 25 June 2018.
PMS 385 is also soliciting white papers from potential sources that can build ships with notional base ship characteristics including a service life of 40 years, maximum full load draught of 35ft. The vessel must have a sustained speed of 18-24knots, endurance at sustained speed of 12,000nm and provide permanent accommodation for up to 120 (including Military Sealift Command personnel and a military detachment). Up to 800 additional personnel will be housed in portable accommodation modules and/or reconfigurable berthing in the deck house.
The baseline vessel would have an arrangeable enclosed deck area of 150,000-300,000 square feet at a deck height that allows stacking one 20ft-equivalent unit container on top of another and stowage of Army and Marine Corps combat equipment. It would be required to have a total ro-ro area (including enclosed deck area) of 200,000-400,000 square feet and arrangeable deck area loading capacity of 550 pounds/ft2. The vessel will also have ramps providing access to arrangeable deck area.
In terms of aviation facilities, it is required to have a flight deck to Level 1 Class 1 Aviation standard with landing spots for up to four MV-22s with access to an enclosed deck area designated for stowage and maintenance, stowage of two folded MV-22s on at least one enclosed deck and the ability to maintain and repair MV-22s in the flight ready position on at least one enclosed deck.
The US Navy also wants the vessel to have a slewing stern ramp to provide access to the enclosed deck area that is capable of interfacing with piers and existing roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities (RRDFs) for in-stream operations in Sea State 3 when the RRDF deck surface is assumed to be 2ft above waterline and pier surfaces are assumed to be between 2ft and 23ft above waterline. The platform is assumed to be 8ft from the pier when interfacing with it. Options for additional throughput such as a side-port ramp may be included.
CHAMP will have several fixed cargo cranes including 1 x 130 long ton unit or 2 x 65 long ton capacity cranes at lifting radius of 95ft from the ship’s centreline; two 2 x 17 long ton capacity crane(s) at lifting radius of 110ft from the crane pedestal, one port and one starboard. The vessel must also have the ability to stow, deploy, and retrieve 10,000ft2 of lighterage. Lighterage storage may overlap aviation landing spots. Innovative stowage and deployment approaches may be used.
Two 16,000lb cargo elevators suitable for use with containerised ammunition, stores/equipment, and suitable to be designated for use by personnel transporting medical patients are also specified. These will be capable of providing access all decks with replenishment at sea stations, cranes, and enclosed deck areas. The vessel will have a cargo magazine of 3,200ft2.
CHAMP vessels will have a replenishment-at-sea/fuelling-at-sea capability and will be able to stow, launch and retrieve four 11m rigid hull inflatable boats and provide capability for ‘skin-to-skin’ mooring operations for ships/submarines alongside.
The vessels will also need to be able to provide power to force packages and portable facilities, including 16MW of 440 VAC power to ships/submarines moored alongside in port. They will also be required to provide potable water to mission modules in arrangeable deck areas and to ships alongside, distilled water to mission modules in arrangeable deck areas and to ships alongside and receive liquid sewage and oily waste from mission modules and ships/submarines alongside and solid and liquid waste from ships/submarines alongside.
PMS 385 is also soliciting white papers on the current state of the industry for force packages and flexible/portable facilities in a number of areas, including accommodation as highlighted above, sanitary and laundry spaces, galley, messing spaces, and related storage spaces, both refrigerated and non-refrigerated, electric power generation and distribution, potable and distilled water production, medical facilities (including surgical facilities, blood bank, and O2 generation), personnel and casualty decontamination facilities, industrial shops, aviation intermediate maintenance facilities, command and control and associated communications facilities, equipment and antennas, spare parts and repair equipment storage and spaces capable of either serving as functional working spaces or other containerised solutions.
Information on modular facility arrangements, weights, building standards, interface standards, previous uses, and services is desired.