January 18, 2003

Blohm + Voss MEKO corvette

Lockheed Martin teams with Blohm + Voss for LCS solution
Lockheed Martin and Germany's Blohm + Voss have signed a memorandum to cooperate to offer the U.S. Navy a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) solution capable of meeting the Navy's stated requirements of speed, range, payload, cost, capability, survivability and supportability.

In turning to the yard that built the Bismarck, Lockheed Martin is bringing to the LCS party Blohm + Voss's pioneering--and extremely successful-- MEKO concept of the modular warship.

The memorandum of understanding calls for a continuance of the relationship established between both companies for the Navy's ongoing Ship Concept Studies. The scope of work to be performed consists of integrated modular designs for both onboard and off board systems as well as development of an advanced propulsion system for a Focused Mission Ship (FMS). The FMS is a proposed ship design intended for the Navy as a tool to evaluate a range of technology options, particularly in the areas of design and modularity, for an eventual LCS.

Carol Hulgus, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems (NE&SS) vice president and "capture team" leader for LCS, said "We conducted a worldwide search for an industry leader that has consistently utilized best practices and delivered on their commitments to customers. Lockheed Martin and Blohm + Voss are committed to the success of the LCS program and look forward to working together on this revolutionary ship that will transform how the U.S. Navy fights in the littorals."

LCS, a transformational new ship class for the Navy, will be expected to engage numerous threats in the littoral environment, the most significant of which include diesel submarines, small boats engaging in swarm warfare, and mines. A key element to the overall ship design will be the development and integration of different modules, easily interchanged with LCS, to address the various threats in the littorals.

Dale Bennett, Lockheed Martin NE&SS-Marine Systems vice president and general manager, stated "Blohm + Voss understood the need for modularity in ship design and integration as early as the 1970s, by developing flexible mission modules that provide for ease of spiral upgrades to systems over time. This approach to modular ship design resulted in the extremely popular MEKO-class ships, found in 11 navies worldwide today."

Dr. Reinhard Mehl, Blohm + Voss executive board member, expressed his satisfaction with the new strategic partnership, and believes his company's experience with the MEKO ships will be of critical importance to LCS.

"We have learned many lessons along the way in refining the MEKO design that we expect to be of great significance for our LCS efforts," he said. "particularly in the areas of signature reduction, enhanced survivability, advanced propulsion systems, fully integrated warfare systems based on an open system architecture, damage control and integrated monitoring and control systems. We look forward to leveraging this experience with Lockheed Martin as we work together to provide the U.S. Navy with a very capable LCS solution."

MEKO modular approachThe MEKO concept: Blohm + Voss has contracted, delivered or presently has under construction a total of 60 Naval combatants for 11 Navies worldwide. The latest delivery was the new German Frigate F124, which will be followed by five German Corvettes Type K130, for which the contract was signed in Dec. 2001. After 25 years of operation, the Meko design concept is still the most advanced widely applied modular ship design in the world.

Many Blohm + Voss Meko vessels have been equipped with Lockheed Martin equipment such as Vertical Launching Systems, MK 41. Both companies felt, that Blohm + Voss with its experience in design and construction of Frigates and Corvettes and its 25 years successful application and integration of modular weapon and electronic systems and Lockheed Martin as a major player in System Integration and Defense Technology could jointly and successfully raise a highly efficient and financially attractive design for the future LCS for the USN. Such a modular design would facilitate the multiple task operations and nevertheless offer better interoperability with other friendly navies, allowing high adaptation of systems due to its modular structure in hard- and software.

Blohm + Voss's MEKO ship platforms are designed specifically for the varied deployment of standardized modules (weapons, electronics and the ship's technical equipment) which, in addition, are connected with the power supply, the air-conditioning and ventilation system and the data network for example, via standardized interfaces. All the components needed to run a specific system are accommodated in a single module.

Depending upon the particular task they are required to perform, a distinction is made between weapons, electronics and the ship's technical modules.

Containers, pallets and mast modules are installed during the construction phase.

Modularity allows a wide range of choice in the selection of the on-board systems, whether it be with regard to the integration of customer supplied systems or the use of products that the customer already has in service from various manufacturers.

By simultaneously building the ship's platform at a shipyard and the modules at the suppliers' premises, a significant savings in both time and cost can be achieved. The modular construction principle also reduces the costs of maintaining and modernizing the vessels. Availability and readiness for action are thus improved.

Accurately defining the interfaces for the modules clearly delineates responsibility between the yard and the suppliers. Furthermore, says Blohm + Voss, building and testing the modules in the suppliers' workshops decidedly improves product quality.

The X-formSignature reduction: A further characteristic of the MEKO concept is the continuous reduction in ship signature.

Blohm + Voss says the radar reflecting surface has been drastically reduced by the systematic use of the X-form in the design both of the hull area and of the superstructures.

The infrared signature has been significantly reduced by dispensing with stacks and, instead, conducting the exhaust to the rear. Seawater spraying into the horizontally arranged exhaust pipeslowers the emission temperature to less than 100C.

Acoustic and magnetic signatures have been reduced by paying special attention to fine-tuning the long established and well-proven concepts, such as degaussing systems and flexibly mounted bearings.

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