SPECIAL REPORT / MAINTENANCE, REPAIR & OVERHAUL
It is the unseen enemy that faces the U.S. Navy every day, threat- ening to wreak havoc on a ship’s
hull or even penetrate deep within
the vessel to destroy key compo-
Corrosion costs the U.S. Navy
billions of dollars each year, enough
to allow the service to put a few
extra ships in its budget if it no longer was an issue. And it is a huge
cost driver — often the biggest —
when it comes to ship maintenance.
But thanks to changes in how
ships are designed and advances
in technology, the Navy is starting
to get more sophisticated in how
it prevents corrosion and is able to
better limit the inevitable costs as
About six years ago, Naval Sea Systems Command
(NAVSEA) created the Surface Maintenance
Engineering Planning Program (SURFMEPP) in order
to “provide centralized surface ship life-cycle maintenance engineering, class maintenance and modernization planning and management of maintenance strategies,” Capt. David Bauer, commanding officer of the
SURFMEPP in Norfolk, Va., said in an e-mail response
to Seapower questions.
After all, NAVSEA’s No. 1 priority is the on-time
delivery of ships and submarines from maintenance and
modernization availabilities, and corrosion is a major
factor that can get in the way of that.
Within SURFMEPP is the Corrosion Engineering
and Planning Division, which works to develop maintenance strategies to make sure workload capacities
and funding are all in balance. It does this by developing a maintenance strategy to keep a typical ship availability from being too overburdened with new work
related to corrosion.
“A key enabler to creating this balance is ensuring
requirements are well defined upfront,” Bauer said.
“This allows SURFMEPP to provide effective, predict-
able and executable availabilities which reduce risk to
SURFMEPP has seen some real gains when it comes
to shipboard tank maintenance. Only 60 percent of the
ballast, bilge and assorted other tanks in the surface fleet
had reliable data in the Corrosion Control Information
Management System (CCIMS) in fiscal 2011, but that
increased to about 98 percent in 2016.
“The baselining of Surface Navy tanks has now
allowed NAVSEA to accurately project coating survivability to precisely determine expected coating and structural
conditions in advanced planning,” Bauer said. “The 2
percent of tanks that are still unknown are branded mandatory (A1) and programmed into the BAWP [Baseline
Availability Work Package] process for survey and maintenance at the highest priority and not approved for
deferral without technical adjudication by the NAVSEA
05 (Naval Systems Engineering) technical community.”
Navy is developing new ways to fight back against corrosion
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent
Controlling a Cost Driver
The Navy is starting to get more sophisticated in how it prevents
corrosion and better limits the inevitable costs as ships age.
n The Surface Maintenance Engineering Planning Program includes
a Corrosion Engineering and Planning Division, which works to
develop maintenance strategies to keep a typical ship availability
from being too overburdened with new work related to corrosion.
n New technologies and industry innovations, such as composites, improved paint systems and robotic controls to apply coatings in a more consistent manner, are playing a “major part” in
combating corrosion on surface ships.
n Potential future advances include self-healing materials that are
able to repair themselves somewhat if scratched or scuffed.