Saturday, November 22, 2014

RANGLer – LNG-Fuelled Tugs Would be Great for RCN Tug Replacement Program

Robert Allan

There is no question that LNG is presently emerging as the most viable alternative fuel to conventional diesel for many classes of ships, and in the tug market this is certainly also the case. The principal attraction of LNG is the ability to achieve low emission standards without the costly and bulky after-treatment components required on diesel engines, which also result in much larger casings and exhaust trunks, thus impeding operational visibility. The downside in a small vessel such as a tug however is the large volume required to accommodate LNG storage tanks and their associated control systems. Ultimately the range and endurance of a tug with LNG is severely compromised in comparison to a diesel-powered tug of the same dimensions.
LNG tug concepts promoted to date all take the traditional tugboat configuration and squeeze in the storage tanks, most typically severely impacting the space available for storage and the crew accommodation. After studying many options for LNG-fueled tugs, the design team at Robert Allan Ltd decided to take a completely fresh approach to an LNG tug design and not be constrained by conventional tug layouts. Starting with the essential basics of tug design and operations, we first looked carefully at the primary working deck layout and ensured that was not compromised. The next priority was to examine the LNG storage and distribution requirements with the associated engines etc., and determine where in the tug that was most efficiently located. Then we worked to fit the rest of the design requirements (accommodations, control rooms, stores etc) into available spaces in a logical and sensible manner.
One primary target for review was the aft deck. On many tugs today, especially those dedicated to terminal support or escort towing, the aft deck is essentially redundant. A well-designed modern terminal tug should be able to tow and manoeuvre equally well going in either direction, hence has no need for an aft winch. The aft deck space on many tugs is thus often just a large empty area. We considered this to be prime real estate for locating the accommodation facilities displaced by the LNG tanks.
After numerous iterations and concept exploration studies a completely fresh idea for a truly modern LNG powered tug design was born; the RANGLer class. (Robert Allan’s Natural Gas (Liquefied) [tug]!) Departing from “traditional” diesel tug designs, the RANGLer deckhouse is biased aft to provide excellent visibility from the wheelhouse and an efficient working deck forward The spacious crew accommodations are located within a stern “castle” replacing the below deck accommodations of conventional tug designs. The space forward of the engine room is used for maximum LNG storage capacity, and is configured to allow easy installation and removal of the entire LNG tank system as an “LNG Fuel Module”.
The LNG Fuel Module includes not only the IMO Type C LNG storage tank and gas processing equipment, but also the bunkering station, engine gas regulation units, controls, gas-related ventilation fans, enclosures and access ways. By integrating all the key LNG-related equipment into a single module that can be tested and approved ahead of time, the final installation of the LNG fuel system is made a much more straightforward and time-efficient and less risky process than if equipment is installed separately in a more piecemeal way.
The first of this new series, the RANGLer 3600 design, illustrated on the accompanying drawings is a twin Z-drive terminal support and tanker escort tug, designed specifically to maximize the benefits of natural gas as fuel.

Robert Allan
The RANGLer Series also embodies the now very well-proven sponsoned hull shape of the popular Robert Allan Ltd. RAstar Series, providing truly enhanced indirect escort towing performance and highly effective motion damping in a seaway.
Working with closely with both Bureau Veritas (BV) and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) on the LNG safety aspects of the design, Robert Allan Ltd is pleased to announce that the RANGLer 3600 Class concept has received Approval in Principle from both classification societies for either single gas fuel or dual fuel engines.

The particulars of this new LNG tug design are as follows:

  • Length, Overall: 36.5 m
  • Beam, Moulded: 15.4 m
  • Depth, Least Moulded: 7.1 m
  • Draft, Navigational: 5.8 m (above bottom of drives)
  • Installed Power: 2 x 2430 kW
  • Complement: up to 10 crew
  • LNG Capacity: 80 m³ (gross)

The predicted performance of the RANGLer 3600 is as follows:

  • Vessel Speed, ahead: 14 knots, approx.
  • Bollard Pull, ahead: 80 tonnes, approx.

The use of LNG in smaller vessels such as tugboats is an extreme challenge. Simply adapting existing design configurations to this new fuel does not appear to offer very effective working arrangements on the tug. Fresh, innovative thinking as illustrated by the RANGLer design concept is required to make LNG a truly viable fuel option in working vessels of this type.

Friday, November 21, 2014

21 USS Somers and Its Wartime Encounters with Exploding Ships

USS Somers (DD-381) underway at sea, circa 1944, with several escort ships in the distance. Her camouflage is Measure 32, Design 3d. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. NHHC photo
USS Somers (DD-381) underway at sea, circa 1944, with several escort ships in the distance. Her camouflage is Measure 32, Design 3d. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. NHHC photo
USS Somers and Its Wartime Encounters with Exploding Ships
From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

It was early in the morning, 72 years ago today, when the crew of USS Somers (DD 381) got word about a suspicious freighter within its area of operation. The Somers-class destroyer was patrolling the South Atlantic on Nov. 21, 1942, always on the lookout for German blockade runners.
Since taking over the French community of Bordeaux in June 1940, the Germans used the port as a base for its 12th U Boat Flotilla. It was also where blockade runners would load up with supplies for Japan, such as rubber, tin, hemp, high-grade specialized machinery, ball bearings, special chemicals, and prototypes of purchased military materials.
Allied air patrols had spotted a suspicious freighter earlier in the month, so USS Somers was on alert as they closed in on the ship. But as they got to within 1,900 yards, fires broke out onboard the freighter and the crew began lowering boats into the water. As the boarding party neared the freighter, the ship was racked by a series of three explosions. Despite flooding on the ship and the obvious danger of the fire, the boarding party salvaged the ship and determined it was the German blockade runner Anneliese Essberger. After the ship sank, survivors were rescued by light cruiser USS Milwaukee (CL-5).

USS Omaha (CL-4), in right center, standing by the German blockade runner Odenwald, which has a U.S. boarding party on board, in the South Atlantic, Nov. 6, 1941. Photographed from USS Somers (DD-381). NHHC photo
USS Omaha (CL-4), in right center, standing by the German blockade runner Odenwald, which has a U.S. boarding party on board, in the South Atlantic, Nov. 6, 1941. Photographed from USS Somers (DD-381). NHHC photo
It was not the first time USS Somers had outwitted a German blockade runner. Since the spring of 1941, the destroyer had been doing neutrality patrols from Trinidad to Recife, Brazil. On Nov. 6, 1941, just weeks before Pearl Harbor brought the United States fully into the war, Somers was patrolling near the Cape Verde Islands when she chanced upon a merchantman flying an American flag. On her hull, she was purported to be Willmoto out of Philadelphia.
But the freighter took evasive action when approached by Somers and USS Omaha (CL 4). Failing to stop, the merchantman signaled it was on fire and began lowering life boats. The Omaha sent a boarding party and soon heard explosions. Further investigation revealed the merchantman’s crew was attempting to scuttle the ship, which turned out to be the German blockade runnerOdenwald.
Omaha’s boarding party saved the ship and the captured blockade runner was sailed to Puerto Rico. Six years later, the crews from Omaha and Somers were awarded salvage money for their “prize.” Because the ship had falsely claimed American nationality and the crew had “abandoned” ship by trying to scuttle her, it was determined the crew of Omaha and Somers could split the value of the ship, coming to around $3,000 for members of the boarding party and two months’ pay for the rest of the crew on both ships. It was the last prize taken by the U.S. Navy.Somers remained in the South Atlantic after the United States formally entered the war in December 1941.
Following the sinking of Anneliese EssenbergerUSS Somers escorted the French battleship Richelieu from Africa to the U.S. during Jan.-Feb. 1943. A third German blockade runner, the Westerland, was intercepted at the beginning of 1944, with Somers‘ gunfire being partially responsible for sinking the enemy ship.

USS Somers (DD-381) at the Charleston Navy Yard, S.C., Feb. 16, 1942. She is wearing Measure 12 (modified) camouflage. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. NHHC photo
USS Somers (DD-381) at the Charleston Navy Yard, S.C., Feb. 16, 1942. She is wearing Measure 12 (modified) camouflage. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. NHHC photo
It was a particularly fitting career for the destroyer, named for Master Commandant Richard Somers. A former commander of the schooner Nautilus, he and his crew sailed with Commodore Edward Preble, the commanding officer of the Constitution and his squadron in action againstBarbary pirates.
Somers was commanding the bomb ketch Intrepid for a special mission on Sept. 4, 1804. The ship had been fitted out as a “floating volcano” to be sailed into Tripoli Harbor and blown up in the midst of the corsair fleet under the walls of the city. But once underway in the harbor,Intrepid exploded prematurely, killing Somers and his volunteer crew. Their names are immortalized on what is known as the Tripoli Monument that was on display at the Washington Navy Yard during its burning in 1814, then, after a short tenure on the Capitol grounds, was moved to its current location at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. It is the oldest military monument in the United States.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Moog Awarded Contract for Mission Critical Actuators for US Navy Virginia-Class Nuclear Submarines

East Aurora NY November 20, 2014 - Moog Inc. announced today that has been awarded a $33.8 million contract to supply more than one thousand actuators for the next 10 Virginia-class nuclear submarines. This is part of the multi-year Block IV procurement, under which General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding will construct and deliver the 19th through 28th submarines of the Class between 2014 and 2023. The U.S. Navy recently procured the Block IV boats through a multiyear contract approved by Congress in 2013 and awarded by the Navy on April 28, 2014.
Actuators provided by Moog perform a variety of functions in the Virginia-class submarine, ranging from controlling the flow of ballast water to performing elements of the torpedo launch sequence. Moog provides a number of components under the SUBSAFE quality assurance program that are critical to submarine survivability and crew safety. Moog actuators are a key part of the system for forcing high-pressure air into the boat's main ballast tanks to initiate an emergency surfacing maneuver.
"We design and manufacture these actuators to have low structure-borne vibration signature. In other words, we're moving systems within the boat without making a lot of noise," said David Hodge, business unit director for Naval Systems at Moog. "Throughout the process our staff maintains a quality-first mindset as the safety of the crew and the success of the mission depends on Moog technology."
Moog's Orrville, Ohio facility has installed its technology on every U.S. nuclear submarine starting with the George Washington class in 1958. The Company has been supporting the Virginia-class program since the SSN 774 USS Virginia began construction in 1998. The facility will continue to support the fleet with spare parts provisioning and repair service out of its Northeast Ohio facility.

Kaman Announces Contract to Support the Upgrade of SH-2G Super Seasprite Aircraft for Peru


Bloomfield CT November 20, 2014 - Kaman Corp. today announced that it has entered into a contract with General Dynamics Canada to remanufacture and upgrade four Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite aircraft and provide support for the operation of a fifth aircraft for the Peruvian Navy. The program value to Kaman is expected to exceed $40 million.
Gregory Steiner , President Kaman Aerospace Group said, “We are very pleased to support this effort to provide the Peruvian Navy with the advanced capabilities of the Super Seasprite. This is an important milestone for Kaman as it will extend the length of the SH-2 program and provide additional long-term service and support revenues. In fact, upon delivery of these five aircraft to Peru, the SH-2 flying fleet will have grown by more than 40% in less than three years. We are pleased that Peru will become the latest military to place its confidence in the SH-2 platform and Kaman.”
The aircraft are being transferred through a Memorandum of Understanding between, the Peruvian Ministry of National Defense and the Government of Canada’s international government-to-government contracting organization, the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC). General Dynamics Canada is under contract with the CCC to lead this program and provide the Integrated Mission System for the aircraft.
“We are pleased to be working with Kaman Corporation on this important program” said Brian Fava , Vice President General Dynamics Canada. “The successful delivery of this upgraded aircraft will greatly enhance the Peruvian Navy’s ability to conduct modern maritime missions.”
The SH-2G Super Seasprite is an advanced maritime weapon system and proven day/night/all-weather multi-mission helicopter. Originally designed to meet the exacting requirements of the U.S. Navy, the SH-2G Super Seasprite has the highest power-to-weight ratio of any maritime helicopter, assuring a safe return-to-ship capability even in single-engine flight conditions. Its robust design, outstanding stability, and excellent reliability have been proven through more than 1.5 million flight hours. The SH-2G is a multi-mission maritime weapon system designed to fulfill anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), over the horizon targeting, surveillance, troop transport, vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and utility missions. It is the largest, most powerful small ship helicopter in use today and is recognized for its mission effectiveness, support, and unmatched performance. The SH-2G Super Seasprite is currently operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Egyptian Air Force and the Polish Navy.

Two US Naval Ships Collide In Gulf of Aden

Manama November 20, 2014 - Two U.S. Naval supply ships collided in the Gulf of Aden Nov. 20 at 5:26 a.m. (GMT) with no injuries to crew members.
USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6) and USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193) collided as they were beginning an underway replenishment operation. 
Initial reports indicate only minor damage to both ships. The ships are operating under their own power and are continuing their assigned missions.
The Navy will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the collision.

China, Russia to conduct joint military exercise in Mediterranean Sea in 2015

Sergei Shoigu
Beijing November 19, 2014 (ChinaMil) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia and China will conduct joint naval exercises in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and in the areas of the Pacific Ocean in 2015, according to the RIA Novosti.
After the talks with the Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan on November 18, 2014, Sergei Shoigu pointed out that both sides noted that the scope of the joint activities in the military field "has been apparently expanded, and is featured by systematicness".
Sergei Shoigu said that the third "Maritime Joint" Russia-China naval exercise was successfully conducted in May this year, during which the naval forces of the two countries rehearsed the combat mission in teaching as the members of a mixed fleet for the first time.
"We plan to conduct joint naval exercise again in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea in the spring of next year.
We also plan to hold joint naval exercise in the areas of the Pacific Ocean," Sergei Shoigu continued. He added that the Chinese teams had outstanding performance in the Tank Biathlon World Championship and the "Aviation Dart 2014" International Competition in 2014.
"We have very big potential in military cooperation, and the Russian side is going to maximize such cooperation," he concluded.

U.S. Navy commemorates C-2 Greyhound’s 50th anniversary of first flight

Nov. 18 marked the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Navy’s C-2A Greyhound. The “workhorse” of the fleet took to the skies Nov. 18, 1964, from Bethpage, N.Y.
NAS Patuxent River November 20, 2014 - For nearly 50 years, the C-2A Greyhound has carried passengers, essential supplies and letters from home to U.S. Navy carrier strike groups around the globe. Last year alone, this Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) aircraft transported almost 4 million pounds of cargo and mail, and more than 23,000 passengers between carriers and shore bases.
So, when the Greyhound celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first flight Nov. 18, today’s Navy leaders and industry partners, who were involved in the earliest days of the C-2’s development and testing, reflected on the legacy of the venerable aircraft.
“The first flight of the Greyhound marked the beginning of 50 years of air combat logistics support. The introduction of the C-2 provided a capable and powerful ‘workhorse’ to meet the fleet’s COD requirements,” said E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office (PMA-231) Program Manager Capt. John Lemmon. “From 1964 to today, the Greyhound continues to serve the needs of the fleet safely and reliably.”
Thirty-five C-2A aircraft are currently in service, divided between two C-2 squadrons, a fleet training squadron and a test and evaluation squadron. A derivative of the E-2 Hawkeye, the C-2A boasts a wider fuselage and a rear ramp for quick loading and unloading.
The first of two prototypes flew in 1964 from Bethpage, New York, said Dave Seeman, senior project pilot for aircraft manufacturer Grumman, later Northrop Grumman, on the first flight. It was a successful, “non-spectacular” event due to the crew’s experience with a prototype E-2 aircraft, he said.
“[An aircraft’s] first flight, if it is done right, should present no tremendous challenges,” said Seeman, who also acknowledged the importance of the C-2 to the Navy. “The first flight went very, very smoothly. 
“The Navy needed a transport that could do more than the C-1 aircraft (the previous COD platform),” he continued. “As your ships and air groups got bigger and requirement for support exponentially increased, you needed an aircraft with greater range and capacity — and the C-2 met these requirements,” said Seeman, a 1957 U.S. Navy Test Pilot School graduate.
Production on the C-2 began in 1965, and the aircraft became part of the Navy’s logistics team in 1966. Nearly 20 years later in 1984, the Navy awarded a contract for 39 new C-2A aircraft to replace the earlier airframes. The older models were phased out in 1987, and the last of the reprocured C-2A Greyhounds delivered in 1990.
“In the past 50 years, so many people have put so much of themselves into the C-2 to get it to where it is today,” Seeman said. “The C-2 is essential to the resupplying of the combat group and has proved itself to be a very utilitarian machine.”