Delaying planned activities has drastic downstream impacts – injecting instability in the industrial base and creating large cost impacts and inefficiencies that can extend beyond the duration of the uncertainty.
Navy has undertaken a multipronged approach focused on increasing accountability and improving productivity.
In our public yards, we are growing the capacity of the shipyards to meet the workload demand, improving the training and productivity of the workforce, and making the needed investments in our shipyards to ensure they can support our growing needs.
In the private shipyards, we have focused on improving the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of planning; working with the Fleet to adjust maintenance schedules to level load the ports, revising acquisition strategies to improve stability and predictability, and streamlining Navy inspection points to improve efficiencies.
The Navy is preparing the second Long-Range Plan for Maintenance and Modernization of Naval Vessels to forecast maintenance workloads for all in-service ship classes over the next 30 years to establish the framework to effectively sustain our investments in today's fleet. The intent is to build a framework of continuous evaluation of the industrial base capacity and capability and provide the industrial base with stable and predictable workloads.
To get new hires trained more efficiently, the shipyards have transformed how they train their new employees through learning centers that use both virtual learning tools and hands-on work. The Navy has carried that innovative concept to the waterfront by developing “safe-to-fail” areas where artisans can experiment with new and innovative techniques to improve throughput or save time during an availability.
Navy is working to create efficiencies in workforce training by standardizing and reducing regional variability in processes across the public shipyards. Developing Navy-wide procedures in areas such as welding will enable authorized welders to work in different locations without the need to be requalified.
New technologies such as cold spray and hull crawling robots have the potential to produce significant results. Cold spray is a technology in which metal powders are accelerated at high speeds and sprayed through a nozzle, impacting and mechanically bonding to a surface. This produces high performance coatings that can extend the life of legacy weapon and hull mechanical systems, and reduces the time to accomplish valve repair from 10 months at a vendor site to three days.
Cold spray is currently in use at three of our naval shipyards and will be delivered to a fourth in FY 2020. Hull crawling robots are able to carry a variety of test equipment to conduct hull inspections, non-destructive testing and biofouling removal. This obviates the need for scaffolding or lifting equipment and is estimated to reduce dry docking periods
The innovation project team at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard accomplished a complete 3D imagining of a submarine, to plan and execute maintenance, reducing cost and schedule by limiting the need for travel, excessive interference removal and lost material.
Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard now has a mobile passive Radio Frequency Identification system, which is similar to a GPS that tracks material throughout the shipyard. This creates a way for material targeting to record the distance items under maintenance travel. It will also eventually reduce costs by eliminating lost material and work hours associated with locating misplaced material.
Navy is now in its second year of the planned 20-year, $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program SIOP that will fully transform shipyards, will deliver required dry-dock repairs and upgrades to support both current and future classes of ships, optimize workflow within the shipyards through significant changes to their physical layout, and recapitalize obsolete capital equipment with modern machines that will dramatically increase productivity and safety.
Navy and its industry partner tracked every aspect of the recent submarine maintenance availability to build a “Digital Twin” of the shipyard. This dynamic virtual shipyard will enable the Navy to manipulate data and measure the impact of moving certain shops and workspaces to different areas within the existing footprint. Once the full capability is delivered, the Navy will use this data to reimagine the shipyard to improve productivity and safety.
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility PSNS&IMF will be the second naval shipyard to have a Digital Twin built. To ensure the Navy properly understands the complex workflow, it will track both aircraft carrier and submarine availability.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard PNSY replaced an obsolete and maintenance-intensive lathe with a computer operated Horizontal Turning Center. The center will improve productivity at PNSY and reduces the maintenance burden on our workforce.
Work has also begun on Dry Dock #1 in preparation for refueling selected Los Angeles Class submarines. Efforts include building a super flood basin and P1074 which will be dedicated to the Los Angeles Class Service Life Extension. Work on PNSY’s Digital Twin is scheduled to begin in 2020.
Navy is in negotiations to award a contract to build a new defueling and inactivation complex that will replace a 25-year old facility. The new M-140 Complex will alleviate frequently required repair work and support the increase in submarine inactivations planned for the 2020s.
Navy also awarded a contract for a horizontal boring mill for NNSY’s Navy Foundry and Propeller Center to support Columbia Class and Virginia Class propulsor manufacturing. NNSY took possession of a Bridge Mill which replaces two obsolete and less effective machines to support aircraft carrier and submarine shaft, rudder, and fairwater plane work. The Navy plans to begin NNSY’s Digital Twin effort in early 2020.
The net result of all these integrated efforts is that the Navy is seeing positive results across the naval shipyard enterprise. This includes completing nine of the last ten CVN availabilities on time or early including the recent early delivery of USS Nimitz CVN 68, the Navy’s oldest combat ship, from a docking availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Currently, 13 submarines and two aircraft carriers are undergoing CNO-level maintenance at the four public shipyards. Of those, eight submarines and both aircraft carriers are on track to deliver on time.
Navy is focusing on several lines of effort in private sector maintenance. This includes improvements in planning, improvements in forecasting availability durations, working with the fleet to adjust maintenance schedules to level load the ports, and acquisition strategies that are designed to improve the long term stability and predictability of private sector surface ship maintenance planning and execution.
There are 45 CNO surface ship availabilities in execution at private shipyards across the country, and over 100 ships in planning. Successful execution of complex ship maintenance and modernization availabilities requires solid planning.
Accurate assessment of the ship’s maintenance needs, early identification of the scope of modernization, and timely procurement of Long Lead Time Material are all key tenets of solid planning. The Navy is accelerating its planning milestones to drive earlier identification of availability scope, ordering material earlier and soliciting contracts earlier - ultimately leading to earlier contract awards.
The migration to earlier milestones is enabled by improvements in the Navy’s ability to use maintenance data coupled with engineering analysis to determine lifecycle maintenance requirements and accurately estimate the scope of future repairs.
Navy’s goal is to award all contracts 120 days prior to the start of an availability vice 60 days, which gives industry double the time they previously had to develop planning products and buy materials. This initiative was informed by industry’s feedback, and has proven successful.
The Navy understands the importance of workload stability to a healthy and efficient industrial base. The method of contracting that workload is evolving from a complete one ship availability at a time strategy that did not provide long term workload predictability to a strategy that groups ship availabilities both horizontally and vertically to provide longer term predictability to incentive industry to grow the needed capacity. Vertical groupings for ships with similar start dates will include multiple overlapping availabilities within a single solicitation.
The Navy awarded the first three-ship vertical grouping contract. Horizontal groupings for ship availabilities occurring in a series will include multiple sequential availabilities within a single solicitation. Based on industry feedback on ways to improve, the Navy also recently awarded a double docking availability. By awarding multiple availabilities, industry gets a backlog of work that creates confidence in hiring and retaining a skilled workforce and investment in infrastructure.
Navy has implemented multiple initiatives that are improving performance in contract execution. Initiatives include utilizing pre-priced changes to eliminate previously-required approvals for small dollar changes, which typically account for 70 percent of growth work schedule delays. The approval cycle time was reduced to two days as compared to the historical average of 31 days. The Navy and industry also worked together to implement an initiative to right-size quality assurance checkpoints, reducing the number by 50 percent by eliminating overlapping or duplicative requirements.
The Navy has worked to become more proactive in availability planning by increasing directive maintenance strategies to improve the forecasting model for ship availability durations and port industrial capacity. All five of the FY 2019 availabilities that incorporated this model have delivered on time.
With better estimates of projected availability durations and capacity to accomplish the work, the Navy has been able to reduce workload peaks and valleys at each port to create a more balanced and executable schedule for the industrial base.
The Navy will need to balance the workload across the public and private sectors to support future maintenance and modernization as well as ensuring new ship construction efforts are adequately supported. The biggest risks to execution of this plan are continuing resolutions and lack of an on-time budget. Under a CR, the Navy has less cash available than requested which limits decision space for maintenance and operations. As a result, the Navy is forced to make hard decisions about what to fund and what to defer or cancel.
Budget uncertainty significantly undermines our efforts to provide greater stability and predictability to industry, and limits industry’s ability to plan for future work by hiring workers, ordering materials, and investing in maintenance and infrastructure upgrades.
Navy fully understands that the on-time delivery of ships and submarines out of maintenance availabilities is a national security imperative. The Department is taking a holistic approach to ensure both our public and private yards have the information, people, and equipment needed to maintain the world’s greatest Navy.
The Navy will continue to work with Congress and our industry partners to address our challenges and to efficiently maintain and modernize the Navy’s growing fleet by growing the capacity and capability of the industrial base.
The Navy does not believe that carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN-69 overran its last maintenance period because of classwide issues that could affect the next ships as they age, but rather the work tripled in length due to challenges specific to that hull and the shipyard at that time.
Lessons are learned and shared from each carrier maintenance availability, but the challenges with IKE – whose six-month work period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard more than tripled in duration – are something of a unique situation.
“In the case of Eisenhower, its not blaming the ship, but it was specific to the time and place of that ship and the work that went into the ship, and there were performance issues as well as material issues.
The delays were partly due to the age of the ship and partly due to the work that the Shipyard was able to perform at that time. “General terms: every single maintenance availability is its unique combination of the material condition of the ship, its required modernization, and workload capacity with some specific low-density/high-demand skillsets in the yard that’s been assigned the work. So it’s sort of a combination of all of the above. There are lessons learned – and they have been learned and shared.
“While no one is satisfied with making an avail longer than the notional, if that’s what’s required and we’re able to articulate those requirements ahead of time, it’s better for everyone to know this is going to be a long one so they can make the necessary adjustments to operational cycles than it is for us to push through an avail and have it run late.
Efforts are underway to facilitate conversations and coordination between the PEO, the shipyards, the carriers and the fleet, and to manage lessons learned, quite a bit of effort continues to go into “tweaking that class maintenance plan, making sure we’ve got the right time periodicity and condition-based periodicity for all the various systems and components on the ship.
It’s about building any unique availability work packages, … managing the modernization and configuration data management as well as ensuring that as we go through maintenance avails we’re getting actual cost data so we can better forecast and budget future avails.”
1. Difficulties in develop/producing systems to solve unplanned requirements
2. Reductions in the number of competitors in sub-markets
3. Losing tech/engineering work force and facilities capabilities
4. Strong barriers to entry in many segments
5. Declining numbers of lower-tier suppliers
6. Limited capacity to increase production rates
7. Inability to reduce the time required to deliver systems.
8. Difficulties incorporating commercial technology
9. Insufficient R&D due to focus on near-term fiscal performance
10. Excess competitive actions leading to delays and cost overruns.