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A Traditional OEM’s Perspective

Mr. Hulina is a principal engineer in the Government Marketing &Contracts Department of the Electro Mechanical Division of the Westinghouse Government Services Company. He is responsible for the coordination of navy renewal pans and service business for the division. Mr. Hulina earned his BSME from the University of Pittsburgh and MBA from Widener University. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas and Pennsylvania. His publications cover material residual life prediction and innovative repair technologies for power generation equipment.

The DoD has started down the path to a transformation in military affairs from the traditional.fight and hold posture to one of rapid insertion and control over vast areas, then rapid withdrawal. U.S. defense strategies and forces, according to the congressionally mandated QDR, will focus on countering the threat itself instead of a specific country or group.1 The Navy’s Submarine Force, with it’s suite of capabilities, present and proposed, will support this transformation.

Transistioning from their blue-water role as tactical sub hunter-killers and strategic weapons platforms to operations in-close to shore will require our nation’s attack and ballistic missile submarines to augment their already considerable stealth and endurance. With an enemy threat that is perhaps without boundaries and often providing only a fleeting glimpse, this will require our force to stay on station gathering intelligence and performing surveillance tasks for longer periods. The stealth and endurance of our Submarine Force is ideally suited to develop a common picture of any operational theater and enable a seamless joint-fighting network that can consert action against any enemy. The brief, fleeting glimpse the enemy might provide must be countered with an even quicker strike capability.

With the advent of a more capable Tomahawk cruise missile, the Navy has configured attack submarines to become conventional weapons platforms. Transformation of the Submarine Force will also be in evidence with the conversion of some strategic submarines to guided missile platforms. With space for special operation forces and their inherent stealth, they can deliver Navy seals right into the enemies backyard. It is left to the Submarine Force industrial base to provide the designs and technologies necessary to support these capabilities.

Industry Must Keep Pace

With clear goals and a spirit of innovation, the nation’s submarine industrial base will keep pace with the transformation. Systems are designed with stealth and endurance as primary requirements. Enhancements are modularization to enable plug and fight capability and made more affordable through increased use of COTS and MOTS based architecture. Risk reduction is accomplished through emphasizing the use of more proven technologies and improved use of existing materials instead of developing entirely new systems that promise to provide something better tomorrow.

Technology is keeping pace with the transformation. Westinghouse and others in the power generation industry have developed homopolar generator and motor designs that can deliver more power efficiently and quietly over conventional multiple 2-4-or 6-pole designs. These DC machines with their improved power control electronics are typically much lighter and smaller in volume for a given power level. Future developments in the field of superconductivity will produce even greater power level increases. With weight/volume reductions up to 50 percent or more possible, increased payloads and flexibility in ship design will result.

The secondary propulsion system {SPS) developed by Westinghouse originally for SEA WOLF will be applied to USS JIMMY CARTER, a multiple mission platform, as well as the Virginia class, our nation’s newest attack class submarine. The system is designed to facilitate backfit of the propulsion system and variants of it to the SSGN converted platforms. The SPS introduces an increased level of stealth in the littorals due to it’s extremely quiet operation. Manuevering capability is enhanced by its ability to rotate[train] the propulsion motor 360 degrees.

Quiet operation is the hallmark of our LSR generator rotor design. Used today in the ships service generators of the strategic ballistic missile submarines, attack submarines can also benefit from this step-level improvement in quiet operation.

The need for increased surveillance for longer periods of time will be supported with improved sensor arrays and devices. Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, are small, light weight devices that provide for sensing and monitoring as well as active vibration control. New materials known as electroactivated polymers and the application of existing materials that exhibit shape-memory will enable propulsion system breakthroughs and increased stealth. Some materials will conduct self-diagnostics and exhibit self-repairing capability.

Modular designs that can be backfit, repair kits, and dockside parts containerization will facilitate improvements in total logistics support. The total life cost of every platform must be reduced. Through batch ordering of small items and the resulting reduced handling fees, vendors are able to pass on significant cost reductions. Introduction of modernization packages over the life of the systems onboard comprised of fewer parts and in modular fashion acts to reduce the logistics footprint required to maintain the vessels on station for longer periods.

Industry to Reshape Itself As Well

Westinghouse has reshaped it’s aftermarket business approach using the resource planning tools now available and, as a result, shortened the logistics support wait time to furnish parts and service. The new process has 50 percent fewer handoffs, which translates into time and cost savings to the fleet. Further, system delays are eliminated as needed parts are obtained from our transportable, walk-in Dockside Partshouse. Shorter cycle times assist in reducing length and frequency of future yard maintenance periods.

To align itself with limited funds and increased pressure for affordability, the defense companies will continue to overhaul and streamline themselves. The overhaul will most likely take the fonn of more consolidation. Small-to-mid size cap companies supporting the Submarine Force will combine or, in a strategy to increase scope of supply, large companies will acquire these smaller, niche-product lines. The competitive balance between industry players will remain in a state of flux. Lower-tier suppliers within their own ranks will come under increasing pressure to meet more demanding cost[ product value], quality and delivery expectations. The integration of small, mid and large companies should provide economies of scale and reduce total life costs of the platforms. The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will take this opportunity to further squeeze suppliers for price and other concessions, driving some from the market place or into the arms of would-be buyers. The integration of former serial-type production OEM plants into more responsive single entities should improve delivery of new technologies to the Submarine Force.

Economic Outlook Brightens and Better News Is Coming

Congressional support, through timely funding and a long-range view to continued support of the transformational needs, is not certain. In the fall, the U.S. elects a new House of Representatives and a full third of its Senate. The Congress must balance continental US (CONUS) civil support and homeland defense against the emerging needs of the force as part of the overall transformation in military affairs.’ Economic forces and not politics must drive any industry restructuring. The government must set the priorities and establish an equal playing field for all participants.

In pursuit of scale through mergers and acquisitions the major systems integrator must keep focused on new technology insertion. People [engineering and manufacturing] and their contributions to a strong fighting U.S. Submarine Force must not be taken for granted. Acute shortages of some types of skills and specially trained individuals would result. Excess capacity, price pressures and financial [funding] considerations are apt to trigger restructuring initiatives, according to some merger-and-acquisition specialists. 6 The end result-an effective structure and competitive products [choices] for our Submarine Force.

The Administration and Congress recognize the world terrorism threat. This writer believes the need to reinforce the world coalition against terrorism will keep Congress focused on the transformation and support the Submarine Force. However, homeland security and other domestic needs will compete with the transformation. In response, industry and defense programs will be properly bundled to show support of our nation.

While overall U.S. manufacturing activity is still shrinking as of this writing (the Institute for Supply Management index of factory activity, a leading indicator, is still below 50.0), ISM surveys of defense related new orders and production show growth. 7 The transformation will boost this trend. The industrial base that remains will be financially strong and able to weather the congressional funding swings as they inevitably occur. Fewer yet leaner organizations will drive the industry to economies of scale.

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