PHILADELPHIA -- Engineers at Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station (NAVSSES), Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division are harvesting weapon system components from decommissioned U.S. Navy frigates (FFGs) for re-use on Coast Guard cutters.
The harvesting of components from four decommissioned frigates will result in more than $24 million in cost avoidance, with more expected from a fifth ship. The Navy's leveraging of decommissioned ships' assets shows a judicious use of resources and collaboration between services.
"The Navy's FFGs will all be decommissioned by the end of fiscal year 2015, but the Coast Guard cutters have the same gun weapons systems," said Abe Boughner, with Auxiliary Ships/Acquisition Support Branch at NAVSSES.
The equipment includes MK 75, 76mm/62 caliber gun mounts, as well as gun control panels, barrels, launchers, junction boxes and other components. The Coast Guard can use all of this equipment on cutters during the course of the ships' expected service life, which spans into the 2030s.
The harvesting effort began in December 2012 when Roger Raber of Naval Sea System Command's Surface Warfare Readiness Directorate proposed a plan to harvest equipment from five decommissioned FFGs docked at the Navy's inactive ship maintenance facility in Philadelphia. Raber coordinated with NAVSSES engineers E. Alan Karpovitch, the Navy's propulsion program manager, and Ashley Ferguson, mechanical engineer, to oversee the daily operations of removing items from the frigates. The Coast Guard also provided a team to assist with removal of components from the FFGs.
"If I get a request for a part and it's feasible for me to pull it off a ship, I will," said Karpovitch. "Many of the pieces of hardware on these ships are still serviceable and can be recycled."
Timothy Wallace, equipment specialist with the Coast Guard Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC), provided a logistics asset request for the gun mounts in early fiscal year 2013. The gun mounts were deemed serviceable and a plan was enacted to remove them from the frigates. The SFLC worked in conjunction with Stephen Remsey, the Navy's MK 75 In-Service Engineering Agent, to coordinate the transportation of the gun mounts to U.S. Coast Guard's Curtis Bay Yard inBaltimore, Maryland.
"From the Coast Guard's standpoint the FFG harvesting has been a complete success," said Wallace. "The final cost avoidance figure will not be known until harvesting of the fifth FFG is complete."
Some of the MK 75 mounts will be placed into the overhaul cycle at the Coast Guard Yard Ordnance Shop and returned to service onboard Famous Class cutters. One mount is slated to support the Coast Guard's sustainment program for parts no longer manufactured or in short supply. Other components will also be placed in the overhaul cycle for later return to service.
"This is the right thing to do," said Raber. "I sleep well knowing that we are outfitting the cutters with reliable equipment that is vital to their mission."
The Surface Warfare Directorate maintains more than 50 inactive ships for future disposal, donation, or transfer. It also provides follow-on technical support to more than 150 active ships in more than 50 partner navies and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Ship Systems Engineering Station, Philadelphia is a major component of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division. It is the Navy's principal test and evaluation station and in-service engineering agent for all hull, mechanical and electrical ship systems and equipment and has the capability to test and engineer the full range of shipboard systems and equipment from full-scale propulsion systems to digital controls and electric power systems.