issue with just commercial equipment that typically
has a 20- to 25-year lifespan and we’re replacing those
kinds of things, such as air compressors, oily water
separators and pumps.”
Built to commercial standards, the Kaisers undergo
stress in the steel cage surrounding the liquid cargo
tanks. MSC conducted a spectral analysis to determine
possible weak points in the structures so that it could
monitor the health of the structures as the end of their
life cycles approach.
A diminishing supplier base combined with obsolete equipment also poses challenges in keeping the
Kaisers in top shape. George said the Navy has completed a class analysis to determine the measures needed to keep the ships going for a 35- to 38-year life.
Equipment targeted for replacement include main control console and cargo control console equipment and
power takeoff controls.
MSC uses commercial shipyards for maintenance of the
oilers, both in the United States and overseas. The overhauls are put out for bid using Navy contract guidelines.
George also is the MSC representative for the T-AO(X) requirements process.
“We’re looking for good supportability, maintain-ability,” he said. “We’re also interested in energy efficiency because over a period of 40 years if you have a
little bit more efficient equipment over a long haul, it
really helps to lower total ownership costs across
many, many years with multiple numbers of ships.
“I believe that most of the users and operators of oil-
ers felt [that in] the Kaiser configuration, we got it
right,” he said. “We want a vessel that is much like
what we have now. Obviously, there are certain capac-
ity, speed and endurance requirements and we’re
always going to make sure that we accommodate the
mariners in accordance with the mariner standards.”
George said the reason for requesting that the T-
AO(X) have twice the capacity for frozen/chilled stor-
age is that oilers, because they deal with liquid cargo as
the main product, “are going to see the customers
more frequently than anybody else for [underway
replenishment] ships. About 30 percent of all dry
stores that are delivered to the combatant fleet are
delivered by oilers and, in most cases, that’s food.
“We’ve also asked for helo refueling capability just
to allow for a lily pad benefit,” he said. ■
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