Cost-benefit study of implementing current and future technology for enhanced station-keeping during underway replenishment operations
Williams, Marc K.
Mutty, John E.
Hatch, Bill D.
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This thesis analyzes the feasibility of using new technology such as laser rangefinders to enhance ship stationkeeping during Underway Replenishment (UNREP) Operations. The introduction of new technology is the single best method to reduce manpower requirements on board Navy vessels today. UNREP at sea is the most manning intensive evolution required by the Navy for Commanders and sailors to execute. This research explores new methods to communicate and determine approach and alongside ranges between ships at sea. Research was conducted on five classes of combatants using laser rangefinders. Laser rangefinders were found to be the only mature, suitable technology to replace the Phone and Distance line legacy system. An analysis of alternatives based upon cost estimates and observed benefits revealed that using lasers could provide enhanced situational awareness to ship Commanders, Officers of the Deck and Conning officers. A modest investment in laser rangefinders for each ship in conjunction with billboard range displays on replenishment ships and reconfigured sound powered phone lines would cost effectively simplify Underway Replenishment evolutions by reducing time alongside, increasing safety to personnel and vessels at sea, and sailors Quality of Life.
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