The maritime coastal defence vessel project from project definition to in-service support

Tags:  papers 
Author: Ron Rhodenizer
Published: Apr 12th 1996
Updated: a month ago

[This paper has been taken from an INEC 96 (Institute of Marine Engineers. International Naval Engineering Conference and Exhibition) paper published in April, 1996. Every attempt has been made to retain all text but some photos and figures may have to be added later]

The maritime coastal defence vessel project from project definition to in-service support
R J Rhodenizer, BEng, MSc
Fenco MacLaren Inc, Canada

The maritime coastal defence vessel (MCDV) project started in 1988, with the first vessel being delivered in mid-December 1995, and will complete in early 1999. ln order to deliver all the items required of the MCDV project, within the cost envelope, it was necessary to adopt a ‘design to cost’ approach. This included innovative design decisions and using commercial off the shelf equipment and commercial or tailored military design standards wherever possible. Through analysis of the original naval requirements and the careful selection of systems, the contractor was able to identify equipments that could be designed into the vessel but not actually fitted. This would allow the Navy to fit these items later when further incremental funding became available. ln many cases commercial design practice was used to reduce the cost often experienced with a military approach. The results of the decisions taken were most positive as demonstrated on sea trials of the first MCDV in November 1995. The in-service support contract concept is a new method of supporting naval vessels through commercial means, where all support is provided by industry, including documentation, maintenance, logistics, engineering and inspections. The use of commercial means to support naval vessels has proven to be successful in both timeliness of repairs and overall personnel efficiency. Significant savings have been achieved via the Canadian Navy’s minesweeper auxiliaries in-service support contract. This support concept is now being applied to the new MCDVs.

Author’s biography
Mr Rhodenizer graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada and the Royal Naval Engineering College. He served in the Canadian Navy for 22 years, retiring at the rank of Commander. In 1989 he joined Fenco MacLaren, as the MCDV Systems Integration Manager. He subsequently became the MSA ISSC Manager. In 1995 Mr Rhodenizer was appointed In Service Support Project Manager.


Vessels for the Canadian Navy have been built in the past using both commercial and military standards. Examples of each include the Fleet supply ships HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver, built to Lloyds’ Standards and the recent Canadian patrol frigates (CPFs), built to military standards. The last two major Canadian Navy vessel projects, the CPF and the Tribal Class Update and Modernization Project (TRUMP) were implemented by private industry, who competed for the contract, designed the product and managed the implementation. The 1987 Defence White Paper indi­cated that a number of 30-SOm auxiliary vessels would be added to the Canadian Naval Fleet. Based on the role, a decision was taken to build these vessels to commercial standards. A further decision was taken to follow the CPF and TRUMP experience and place the project in private industry’s hands. This decision process evolved into the maritime coastal defence vessel (MCDV) project in 1988.

The aim of this paper is to show how the MCDV experi­ence is extremely relevant to future projects where a commercial approach may be utilised to achieve military requirements. It does not deal with ship production details since they were considered more appropriate for another paper. The paper has been structured to give an overview of the design, followed by highlights where commercial ap­proaches were adopted and where military approaches were tailored to meet the needs of the project. The process of arriving at the final design is described and the results attained is presented. Finally the new concept of in-service support contracts for naval vessels is introduced with an assessment of areas where it can pay dividends in the future. The contents of this paper reflect the perspective of the MCDV project prime contractor and the in-service support contractor (ISSC). The MCDV project encompasses the de­sign, build and delivery of 12 coastal defence vessels, seven operational payloads (two minesweeping, four route survey and one bottom object identification) and four shore stations (two differential global position systems (DGPS) and two route survey data analysis facilities (RSDAF)). The minesweeper auxiliary (MSA) in-service support contract (ISSC) is a project to provide documentation, maintenance, logis­tics, engineering and inspection support to the Canadian Navy’s two MSA’s. The MCDV ISSC for the12 new MCDVs is a project similar in concept to the MSA ISSC.

Fig 1 Launching HMCS Kingston on August 12 1995 (photo courtesy of Beverly Jean Taylor)

Fig 2 MCDV centre line inboard profile (courtesy of Halifax Shipyard Limited)

The MCDV project was initiated in 1988, to equip the Canadian Naval Reserve with 12 coastal defence vessels and a mine countermeasures capability, by issuing a request for proposal to Canadian Industry for a one year project definition contract. This resulted in proposals from five teams. Two of these teams were awarded contracts in July 1989 to carry out the project definition phase. This led to the award of a contract, in May 1992, to the author’s company and its subcontractors to complete the MCDV detail design and supply 12 MCDVs with their supporting payloads and shore stations. The subcontractors included the following compa­nies:

  • Halifax Shipyard Limited - Design and construction of the vessels.
  • Thomson-CSF Systems Canada Inc. - Design and supply of the vessels’ combat suite, two payloads and two DGPS shore reference stations.
  • MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd - Design and supply of the route survey systems, five payloads and two RSDAF shore stations.
  • Eduplus Management Group Incorporated - Development and delivery of the training systems.

Over the course of the project some company names and contractual arrangements have been adjusted slightly. The above names reflect the present contractual situation.

Table I Principal dimensions of hull form

Parameter Dimension
Length overall 55.31m
Length between perpendiculars 49m
Moulded breadth 11.30m
Depth to main deck 5m
Depth to lower deck 2m
Design draught 3.40m
Speed 15 kn
Endurance 20 days
Range 5000 nm
Deep displacement with minesweeping payload 970t

The first MCDV (HMCS Kingston) was launched on August 12 1995. Figure 1 shows the vessel during the launching. The Navy subsequently took possession of HMCS Kingston on December 18 1995. The remaining 11 vessels will be delivered over the next three years. The payloads and shore stations will be delivered throughout this year. On November 27, 1995 the author’s company was awarded an interim contract to pro­ vide in-service support to HMCS Kingston. The Canadian Navy’s first in-service support contract waslet in 1991 for its two MSAs, as a pilot project. This contract proved .i success and was re-competed in 1993 and won by the author’s company. This later contract led to the issuing of a request for proposal in 1995 for the in-service support of the new MCDVs. The author’s company was subsequently an­ nounced the winner of the MCDV ISSC competition on December 1 1995.



This section presents an overview of the MCDV design. Further information on each system is contained in Appen­ dix 1 for reference. The overall MCDV design approach was to maximise the use of commercial, readily available equip­ ment witha proven in-service record in the marine industry. This equipment was referred to as commercial off the shelf (COTS). To themaximum extent possible, commercial speci­ fications were utilised to reduce the high cost of militarised equipment. Common·equipments were used wherever pos­ sible toavoid duplication, tosimplifyspares,and tooptimise the interaction between systems. The ship complies with requirements of Lloyd’s Register of Shipping,+ IOOA1 mine­ sweeper, ice class ID +LMC, coastal defence vessel (CCS), cargo ship requirements. It is designed to comply with the requirements of the Cm.ida Shipping Act Regulations, IMO and SOLAS to the extent specified by the Navy, Equipment was designed or selected to meet requirements of Lloyds’ type approval scheme or classifica­ tion requirements, where applicable. Accommodation is provided for 37 persons. A centre line profile of the MCDV is shown in Fig 2.


The hull form is a double chine type with principal dimen­sions as set out in Table I.

Marine systems

The propulsion system is an alternating current to direct current diesel electric drive with two Z drives and fp propel­lers. The machinery plant is controlled and monitored from a machinery control room. At three bridge stations the ship’s speed and course can be controlled. The central electrical plant also provides power for all other services throughout the ship via a motor alternator with auxiliary and emergency diesel alternators for back-up. Commercial auxiliaries are provided to support the propulsion plant and provide for the ‘hotel’ services.

Combat systems

The combat systems consist of equipment for coastal surveil­lance and patrol and a weapons suite including a 40 mm gun and two .50 calibre machine guns in each vessel. The combat systems also include four route survey payloads for collect­ing bottom details, two minesweeping payloads for clearing tethered mines, and a bottom object inspection payload for investigating underwater objects, all capable of being fitted to any MCDV. The MCDV as a total system is unique in its capability to carry out geocoding of the ocean floor at a speed of 10 kn. This was made possible by the highly accurate navigation system and the newly developed sidescan sonar, all integrated to provide a 10m root mean squared (RMS) accuracy of the location of bottom objects. As well, the MCDV is fitted with a sophisticated communications suite to provide the capability to communicate with other plat­forms and home base while on patrol.



When the project started the Navy provided all the potential contractors with a full technical statement of requirements (TSOR) which they were required to meet to the maximum extent possible within the costing envelope. With a full TSOR and overall project costing constraints as a guide, the contractors were in competition to produce a design with the maximum appeal to the Navy. The TSOR had been devel­oped with input of the many technical sections within the Navy all wanting the best possible system in their discipline. Notwithstanding significant effort by the Navy’s project management team to adjust the TSOR to meet the cost constraints realistically, the TSOR when delivered to the contractors still represented a requirement far in excess of the costing envelope. The contractors were faced with a dilemma, where the Navy’s stated requirements (defined by the TSOR), exceeded the Navy’s envelope. The following subsections describe the process the author’s company took to achieve a winning design.


In some cases the specified items were far beyond the costing envelope. In this respect decisions had to be taken by the contractor to delete any capability it considered would have minimum impact. Two examples that readily come to mind are the autonomous mine hunting system and the nuclear, biological and chemical warfare protection system. With respect to the autonomous mine hunting system, the contractor convinced the Navy by the middle of the project definition phase that it was beyond the project costing envelope and they agreed to delete the requirement. The TSOR called for a full nuclear, biological and chemical warfare protection system within the vessel. It became the contractor’s strong opinion that this would add consider­ably to the vessel size and cost. As well this did not appear to be a major requirement for the MCDV in the Canadian context. Thus it was deleted in the final submission to the Navy at the end of the project definition phase.

Fit for but not with

Another strategy used to remain within the cost envelope was to adopt a ‘design for but not with’ approach wherever possible. The following paragraphs describe some of the items that fell into this category.

It was clear that a full mine countermeasures (MCM) capability could not be provided in every vessel. Thus it was decided that the best alternative was to make sure every ship was designed to accommodate the complete MCM suite and that a complete set of each MCM subsystem was designed and provided such that it could easily be fitted when re­quired. This would allow for the purchase of further MCM subsystems when funds became available later. Within this approach each MCM subsystem was designed around a standard 20 tonne equivalent unit (TEU) shipping container. These units are designed to be secured to the vessel using the commercial container ship twist lock stacker. Each payload is provided with an umbilical cord designed to provide both power and communications via a ship connection, just like shore power and shore telephone lines. With these types of enhancements, payloads including minesweeping, route survey and bottom object investigation could be installed and tested in a vessel within a 24h period. This concept could also be used by the Navy to install other types of systems later. At the same time every effort was expended to design the MCDV itself for self-contained coastal defence opera­tions. In this regard it is specifically outfitted with the features necessary for the ship to carry out routine transit and surveillance while being operated with a minimum number of personnel. For example, the ship can sail, navi­gate, transit to an operational area and conduct a routine patrol without having to operate any equipment from the operations room and with a crew of 21.

A degaussing system was specified to ensure that the ship met signnture requirements corresponding to 1000 nanoteslas worldwide in accordance with AMP-14. In order to remain within the costing envelope and still prove the capability, a full degaussing system is only being fitted in the first three ships of the class. The remaining nine ships will be fitted with degaussing cables only. Controls and power supplies can be added later to these ships, at the Navy’s discretion.

When the azimuthing thrusters (Z drives) were selected it became clear that the vessel was endowed with considerable manoeuvrability. At this time a conscious decision wns taken to delete the bow thruster. Since the Navy had clearly stated a requirement for a bow thruster it was decided to provide a reserve of space, weight and power for this unit, if the Navy desired to fit it later. However, after sea trials it became very evident that the vessel’s inherent manoeuvra­bility obviates the need to fit such a device and thus the reserved space, weight and power may now be more effec­tively used for some other purpose.



Having first taken the budgetary approach where an item that could not be fully justified, based on the maritime coastal defence vessel concept of operations, was therefore deleted or substituted, the next stage was a more difficult one. In this stage innovative ways of optimising the design had to be found. In the request for proposal, the Navy recommended that the best way to carry out this project successfully was to introduce the use of commercial specifications and use COTS equipment wherever practical. This recommendation thus led the contractor to investigate ways of blending commercial (classification society and general standards) with military standards. In some cases the dis­proportionately high costs of meeting military standards dictated a different concept than called up by the TSOR. In others, the schedule and technical risks were such that full compliance was not in keeping with the overall program objectives. This section highlights some of these areas.

Hull form

From the outset it was assumed that an optimum perform­ing hull would of course have a round bilge form. However, a chine hull form was chosen in the expectation that it would be easier (and hence less expensive) to build. In particular a chine hull form would allow the easier fit of plates and better control of adjacent units and blocks. While a single chine option was considered it was discounted on the grounds that the hull could not be made sufficiently fair and that excessively high resistance could result if the flow lines crossed the sharp single chine. In the initial design iterations effort concentrated on the development of a hull form that would have optimum form coefficient values for the MCDV. This analysis used a methodology found in Ref 1. This hull form had been optimised by the authors for 14 kn and good sea­-keeping in moderate conditions. The contractor’s approach was to maintain similar coefficients to the paper’s design example. Further refinements were carried out to the aft end lines in way of the azimuthing thrusters to improve flow into the propellers. The decision to persist with a hard chine form was further justified by the results of the resistance and propulsion and sea-keeping calculations/modlelling, which demonstrated that the double chine hull form provided a platform that met the vast majority of the MCDV require­ments.

Hull structure

The TSOR required that the hull maintain watertight integrity after exposure to an underwater explosion with shock factor of 0.6 (metric), ie a 1000 kg TNT charge at 50m stand-off distance. However, as the concept of operations became clearer this requirement was adjusted with the Navy’s approva1 to a shock factor of 0.1 (metric), ie a 1000 kg TNT charge at 600m stand­-off distance. The justification for this change was that the vessel could send a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) out to 600m and thus, once a potential mine had been located, the ship could approilch to a stand off distance of 600m and further investi­gate the target. In addition, all the Lloyds’ stuctural require­ments had to be met. With this in mind, an analysis of the hull material and the use of symmetrical and unsymmetrical hull stiffeners was conducted.

The TSOR requirements were for CAN-3-G40.21-M81,300 WT Category 2 steel, a commercial extra notch tough grade, for all plates and stiffeners. The Lloyds’ requirement for a ship length less thnn 250m, plate thickness less than 15 mm, not intended for arctic operations is the Lloyds’ Grade A steel. A comparison was carried out between the Lloyds’ Grade A and the TSOR steel to determine if the Lloyds’ standard would suffice. This analysis confirmed that Lloyds’ Grade A could be used for the deckhouse and funnels only. As a side note, during the implementation contract negotiations, the main hull shell plates were upgraded slightly at the Navy’s request.

The two contenders for hull stiffeners were’T’ section and commercially available angle bar. The ‘T’ sections were recognised as providing a more stable structure than inverted angles of similar modulus. The cheapest method when using ‘T’ bar is to purchase ‘I’ beams and remove one flange as necessary to obtain the required web depth. How­ever, the wastage and labour makes the resultant product more expensive than angle bar. On the other hand, angles offered savings in the ease of fitting and connecting during construction. Initially, it was ascertained that the required calculated modulus from Lloyds’ Rules would have to be increased by 47% for inverted angles used in areas that are likely to be subjected to underwater explosions. However, when the required shock factor was reduced from 0.6 to 0.1 it became clear that the Lloyds’ rcquirements would suffice. Thus it was decided to use inverted angle stiffeners throughout the structure, to Lloyds’ standards.

Vessel size

In commercial construction a vessel’s size is dependent totally upon the amount of cargo the owner wishes to carry at a specific cost of operation. As long as that is met the final displacement is somewhat irrelevant. In military construction the main concern is that the installation of weapons, sensors and support equipment can be achieved. In most projects the naval staff will set a displacement as a target to work toward in the design evolution. When the Navy started the MCDV project in 1988 the perception gained by the contractor was that the Navy desired a vessel in the order of 750t displacement. Thus, through the competitive project definition phase every effort was expended to restrain the vessel as close as possible to that displacement, notwithstanding there was approximately 200t of growth during this phase. It was also considered that tight control on the vessel’s displacement was necessary to keep within the cost envelope. There is no doubt now that the decision to adopt a diesel electric propulsion package, while very attractive in itself was a real estate intensive decision. Thus the ship designer had little latitude to fit all the equipment into the ship. The prime contractor probably kept the pressure on the ship designer too long to constrain the size. By the time it became clear the size should be increased, everyone was reluctant to make changes due to the cost and schedule implications of the significant amount of rework required. It is this author’s opinion that some further increase in vessel size would have improved both the project results and the ship itself. An increase in the order of an additional 200t displacement, 10m in length and 700 mm in height distributed over a number of decks would have been ideal. This would have resulted in additional head room in the machinery spaces and would have allowed much more room for operational and maintenance access. It would also have reduced the design and production costs significantly. However, the downside to these changes would have been an increase in the vertical centre of gravity and a decrease in stability.

Platform controls

The TSOR implied a fully integrated platform control sys­tem (IPCS) similar to that fitted in the CPF and TRUMP was a desirable feature. While the implementation of such a system would have resulted in extra points to an assessment of the proposed MCDV design, the cost far exceeded the benefits. Thus it was decided, by the contractor to meet the IPCS requirements with COTS stand alone equipment in accordance with the Lloyds’ unattended machinery space requirements and commercial specifications such as the Marine Automation Standards TP2069. In this approach, each control and monitoring system was made up of COTS components and integrated together only in the sense of the person machine interface at the machinery control room console. Within this console are the power generation and control system, power and auxiliary mimics, motor speed controls, central alarm and monitoring system and integrated fire and damage monitoring system.

Command and control versus mine countermeasures system

The TSOR called for a limited command and control system (CCS) and a control system for minecountermeasures (MCM). This appeared to be significantly in excess of the true re­quirement, thus studies were conducted to determine if cost sawings could be achieved by using a common system for the CCS and MCM requirements. In an effort to use mature commercial equipment, a formal industry survey was per­formed to locate a suitable COTS solution. At the same time an internal design was produced integrating mature COTS hardware and software components with new application software. During this process, trade-offs were performed to evaluate prospective architectures, hardware platforms and other major components. Included in the design considerations was the relationship between the shipboard MCM and CCS components and the shorebased elements of the RSDAF. The responses to the formal survey and the internal design were then evaluated to determine the best overall solution. The vendor responses indicated that none of the offered solutions were strictly off-the-shelf. It appears that two main factors caused this. The first factor was that the use of commercial gradeequipment in a military environment was new at the time and the vendors were either in the process of developing their next generation of CCS into ruggedised commercial equipment or migrating existing systems from military specifications to ruggedised equipment. The second factor was the relatively limited and specialised functionality required for the MCDV as compared to that of more complex warships. The higher priced systems, in general, required modifications to remove extra features and add MCM -pecific features. From this analysis it was concluded that the internal design was the most cost effective choice, for it could be developed specifically to meet the base require­ ments. The final selection satisfied the requirements of both a limited CCS and enhanced MCM system and became known as the mine warfare control system (MWCS). As the development of the MWCS proceeded it took on two major COTS subsystems. The first was Offshore Systems Limited’s ECPINS system and the second was ORE Track Point Two Acoustic Positioning System. Each of these were integrated into the MWCS with little difficulty and at a fraction of the cost of a procuring a conventional naval CCS.

Exterior communications

The exterior communications system requirements outlined in the TSOR were a major concern in that they contained apparently excessive requirements when compared to the concept of operations. In this respect the following were investigated to determine if the exterior communication system could be simplified:

  1. number of circuits;
  2. communication control and monitoring system (CCMS) requirements;
  3. message processing system (MPS) requirements;
  4. use of either narrow band or wide band;
  5. extent of communications integration; and
    G. remote radio access.

In analysing the TSOR it appeared that, in general, the circuit requirements were a little excessive. The CCMS basic functions of circuit reconfiguration and performance moni­toring appeared reasonable but the more advanced features such as ‘automatic reconfiguration’ were excessive. Study of the MI’S requirements indicated that the latest system fitted in the CPF would not even meet the TSOR requirements. The wide band system was discovered to be impractical mainly due to antenna separation limitations on such a small vessel. It was further determined that the concept of a fully integrated interior and exterior communications system was beyond the scope of this project.

In summary the following conclusions were derived for the final design of the MCDV exterior communication sys­tem:

  1. provide a reduced number of HF circuits;
  2. provide two UHF circuits with expansion capability;
  3. provide CCMS capability to address basic circuit reconfiguration and performance monitoring based on ruggedised, TEMPEST qualified, COTS computers;
  4. provideaslightly less than compliant COTS-based MPS;
  5. dismiss the wide band requirement; and
  6. provide separate radio remote (voice) control system, not integrated with the interior communication system.

Electromagnetic compatibility/interference (EMC/EMI)

The TSOR called up MIL-HDBK-237A and MIL-STD-461C for the MCDV EMC/EMI design aspects. Compared with those of modern commercial marine practice, the MlL-STD-461C tests are three times as numerous, cover a much wider range of frequencies, and must be carried out in a laboratory as opposed to being done in the manufacturer’s plant. The MIL-STD-461C standards of acceptable interference generation and immunity are much more demanding than the commercial standards. Application of MIL-STD-461C testing and conformance requirements to all electrical and elec­tronic equipment in the ship would, in many cases, double or triple the price of equipments. Within MIL-HDBK-237A and MIL-STD-461C there is clear guidance that states thefollow­ing:

  1. EMC/EMI problems should be tailored specifically to the mission and mission requirements, including intended EM operational requirements; and
  2. emphasis must be placed on implementing practical requirements and procedures to meet the desired EMC requirements with available resources.

Having reviewed MIL-STD-461C extensively the contractor inferred that those standards may be appropriate for a sophisticated warship but inappropriate for the MCDV. The contractor recognised that EMC considerations must be addressed with respect to the proper functioning of systems as well as radiation protection of personnel, ammunition and explosives. In this regard an Electro Magnetic Compatibility Analysis Board, having authority to control EMIi EMC aspects in the design, was established. In turn a deci­sion was taken to ensure the following were carried out:

  1. acquire critical equipments to commercial limits on EMI generation (BS1597, dated 1985) and immunity (Lloyds’ type approval scheme 1985);
  2. complete the shipboard installation in accordance with BS 5260, dated 1975 and CCG DCGT-69(E);
  3. measure and document the shipboard EM compatibil­ity through appropriate sea trials;
  4. suppress any EMT which prevents systems or equip­ment from passing acceptance trials; and
  5. if necessary determine and record the source of any noticeable EMI which exceeds the aforementioned com­mercial standards.

The standards referred to are practical commercial standards which can readily and economically be met by manu­facturers of modern commercial marine equipment. In the end all equipment essential to propulsion, steering control and combat system functions were selected/designed and constructed to achieve EMI immunity as per Lloyds’ type approval scheme 1985. Acceptable limits of conducted interference in the 30 Hz to 15 kHz range were derived from the Canadian Coast Guard DGTE - 69 standard. Acceptable limits of conducted interference in the 15 kHz to 100 MHz range were derived from the BS1597 standard. Some special care was taken with the COTS equipment to ensure that the degaussing system would not interfere with them. One example was the radar displays, where an electro magnetic field sensor, shielding around the CRT yoke, and an active coil around the perimeter of the CRT were added. In addi­tion, a cable separation matrix was developed based on DGTE - 69, EMI/EMC evaluation data of the CPF project, IEEE-STD-519 and a DNV paper published in June1980.[2] For reference generally a separation of 450 mm was specified in the cable matrix for cases of dirty power (600V propulsion and degaussing) to sensor cables. In some cases this separa­tion was reduced to 200 mm and 100 mm when a less sensitive sensor cable was placed next to a clean power run (ships’ service power). The philosophy on ship trials was to run all equipment at the same time and determine if there was any interference. This proved to be a successful strategy since only two minor EMI problems were observed in the first vessel.

Human/safety engineering

In the area of human engineering (HE) and safety engineer­ing (SE) the TSOR called up MIL-SID-1472 and referred to WE Woodson’s Human Factors Design Handbook[3] Knowing that to follow a full military standard approach would be expensive and yield little return on investment the contrac­tor set out to write both human engineering and systems safety plans following the outline of the military standard and using criteria in Woodson. Once written and agreed to by the Navy, these plans then superseded the original references and set in place important design tools for project implementation. This effort ensured that all HE/SE consid­erations were analysed in developing the optimum human­ machine interfaces in the design. In, particular, full scale mockups of the four major control spaces (machinery con­trol room, bridge, communications rooms and operations room) were produced and given a full HE/SE evaluation before the design was frozen. All equipment and systems were given an HE/SE review prior to implementation to a level specified in the plans consistent with the maturity of the items. These efforts resulted in exceptionally well laid out and designed control spaces. Within the HE/SE pro­gram the contractor adopted a military approach to produce operational sequence diagrams for certain activities. These diagrams allowed the designer to ensure all communica­tions and processes were clearly catered to before the design was finalised. As a result of these initiatives, the final product was deemed to meet all the project HE/SE requirements.

Tailoring software standards

The TSOR required that all software be developed using the Ada language following DoD-STD-2167A. While the initial prospect of this concept appeared to be expensive, there were two major ways to reduce the complexity. The first was to produce a software plan modelled on DoD-STD-2167A that specifically identified all the design processes that were appropriate for the MCDV project. The second was to search for COTS software to meet various requirements and implement them, where possible, into the design. Significant effort was expended in writing nnd negotinting the software plan and ensuring that both the contractor and the Navy were comfortable with the result. It should be noted that DoD-STD-2167A is designed to be tailored to meet specific project needs. Through extensive market research it was determined that a large number of COTS packages were available. One good example was the ECPINS system. This system, along with other COTS software packages, was subsequently integrated into the mine warfare control sys­tem. In hindsight the software approach was very positive but one aspect that could have been improved was the accommodation of commercially available software tools for design documentation generation.

Diesel electric propulsion system

With all the emphasis in this paper on providing the best possible product within a restrained cost envelope the reader could logically ask, ‘why a diesel electric propulsion system chosen as opposed to a direct diesel drive?’. Within the TSOR there was an implication that a diesel electric plant would be highly desirable. In the late 1980s,when the design decisions were being taken, the US Navy wns carrying out extensive electric propulsion research and development and the Royal Navy was commissioning the Type 23 with its electric pro­pulsion plant. In this context offering a diesel electric propul­sion system for the MCDV was considered to be attractive to the Navy and thus would enhance the overall proposal assessment. Other aspects that influenced the decision were that a diesel electric plant that would enhance the reliability of the propulsion plant, would be easier for the shipyard to install and would have the greatest capacity for Canadian content. Full details of the propulsion system selection arc contained in Appendix 2.

Fig 3 HMCS Kingston on sea trials (photo courtesy of The Canadian Forces)


In many warship programs certain parts are designed and built slower than others. A good example of this is where a significant amount of software and electronic development is required. In these cases the vessel build and delivery may be slowed by the time required to get such a system developed. For a prime contractor the ideal situation is to ensure no single subcontractor’s performance can impact any of the other subcontrators. To implement this in the MCDV project an approach of design segregation was followed. In this case, design segregation was enhanced by the payload con­cept. Significant development work was required for the payloads. Thus space, weight and power were set aside for each payload and the ship design/production proceeded without having to wait for the payload design to be com­pleted. For example, while the first ship was delivered in December 1995, the first payload will not be tested until mid-1996. The delivery of the payload will not impact on the ship delivery activities and thus reduces the complexity of the project critical path. This approach paid dividends and it is highly recommended for future projects particularly where a prime contractor must manage the efforts of a number of subcontractors.


Being a military project, there was a requirement from the outset to produce a significant amount of design documentation and to conduct extensive formal design reviews. The contractor expended significant effort to reduce the com­plexity of these requirements by first fully defining the contents of the various deliverables and secondly by converting the formal design reviews into a period where the Navy could pose questions on previously submitted design documentation. Design reports were issued to the Navy one month in advance of each formal review. The Navy then provided the contractor with detailed questions approxi­mately one week in advance of the review. These questions were subsequently dealt with at the review instead of going through the detail of presenting the design. Through this approach the Navy was given extensive insight into the design and ample opportunity to comnwnt upon it. The key to this process is a clear plan and definition of each deliverable for the various reviews. In the MCDV project the systems engineering plan was the guide for design reviews and it worked well. It is recommended that every effort be expended to generate such a plan early in future projects that describes the full design process for all participants to fol­low.


When the project definition phase started, considerable time and effort was spent in defining how each system would be tested. The concern was two-fold, first to reduce the actual testing time after build to a minimum and second to ensure there wasa clear means of proving that the final product had met all contract requirements. In this regard, a very detailed test and trials plan was written and included in the contract. This plan set out the trials process and contained definitions in table form of which items would be tested, how, to what extent, and where. For each item an indication was provided to identify where factory, harbour and sea trials would be employed. In each test area the table defincd the general extent of testing required at each trial/test.

Fig 4 ISSC work process

Through the development of this test and trials plan it was possible to condense the trials period considerably from that of normal naval trials period. Later in the implementation phase the initial definitions were further developed into a more de­tailed matrix of how each item in the contract specification would be verified. This is a common military practice where a verification cross reference matrix (VCRM) is generated. The VCRM proved successful in the MCDV project, as it was a logical means of proving that all requirements had been met, thus speeding up the acceptance process.

In the MCDV project, emphasis was placed on completing the test and trials agenda at the end of design before production started. This was not always possible but just setting the requirement ensured that the trials plans were available and agreed to when trials started.

Within the VCRM as many requirements were identified as possible for proving through vendor certificates and factory tests. Thus harbour and sea trials were limited only to the essential requirements that could not be proved prior to this. Before trials started on each system an extensive inspection was carried out to ensure that the system and components were installed in accordance with the drawings and contract specifications. These inspections were gener­ally carried out at the same time as the set to work activity.

Befpre each trial a test readiness review was conducted to ensure that the trial could proceed. This resulted in success­ful trials that were completed quickly. Like many commer­cial vessels the sea trials were completed within a one week period (as planned), much shorter than the normal naval sea trials. JHMCS Kingston met all expectations and, in some areas, pleasantly exceeded the contract requirements. In particular the speed was almost 1 kn greater than specification, the acoustic positioning system worked to almost twice the required range, the vessel was exceptionally quiet in all the control spaces, and manoeuvrability was outstanding. Figure 3 shows HMCS Kingston on sea trials in November, 1995.



The privatisation of vessel support is another example of activity by the Canadian Navy to reduce operating cost. Within this concept the traditional naval vessel support aspects are dealt with by private industry including documentation, maintenance, logistics, engineering and inspections. In this concept the Navy turns over to the contractor the vast majority of spares and documentation for a vessel or class of vessels. The contractor is paid a fixed management fee to manage the documentation, recommend to the Navy what planned maintenance should be done and when, arrange for repair agents to carry out all maintenance (planned and corrective), manage, procure and issue spares as approved by the Navy and carry out inspections to ensure the vessels remain within a baseline standard. The contractor carries out engineering work as an approved extra to the contract. Expenditures for the maintenance labour and the spares/parts are dealt with as approved extras to the con­tract at the cost incurred by the contractor.

In order to complete the in-service support contract re­quirements the contractor needs three types of personnel. The first is a ‘waterfront person’ who can deal with the naval st.iff, control/audit the repair agents and identify all spares and services required. The second is a ‘data manager’ who can manage all the databases for documentation, spares, work requests, purchase orders and invoices. The third is a manager who can pay service providers, compile reports, make claims and manage the engineering aspects of the operation. These personnel require some support staff and the overall numbers are of course dependent upon the volume of work and number of vessels to be managed.

The day-to-day process revolves around a work estimate action form (WEAF). This is used by the ship’s staff or the shore control authority to demand spares and maintenance assistance. In addition, naval shore authorities can use the WEAF to initiate updates to documentation, engineering work and special inspection services. All work is tracked by the WEAF where the estimates, approvals to carry out the work, and its successful completion are recorded.

Figure 4 shows the process by which work is requested, carried out, inspected and approved for payment.


The Canadian Navy has been operating an ISSC since 1991 for its two minesweeper auxiliaries (MSAs). The same ap­proach to vessel support is now being applied to the MCDVs. Each of these vessels is manned by naval reserve personnel with little maintenance capability. This ISSC experience has been successful in saving the Canadian Navy significant funds. Through the ISSC the vessels have been docked and overhauled in commercial facilities. Emergency support has been provided at short notice during the middle of the night and over holiday weekends with little difficulty. Spares have been readily made available from commercial sources and generally obtained within 24h notice. When the ships were away from home port it has been possible to provide deployment support in various size ports along the east coast of North America as required for the vessels to con­ tinue to meet their operational commitments. The ISSC concept has been a tremendous success and it is considered that in time it can be expanded for other Canadian Navy vessels and other Government Agencies.

Advantages of ISSCs

There are a number of major advantages to the ISSC concept. First it reduces the effort required by the Navy to manage all aspects of support. The ISS contractor for a group of up to six ships can easily be monitored by one senior naval technician who approves all spares and maintenance work for the ships, one engineering manager who approves all other work, and one financial manager who oversees all expendi­tures and claims. This clearly reduces the personnel over­head in the Navy’s operation.

Secondly, ships’ staff are freed of all maintenance plan­ning and can concentrate on operations, defect identification and carrying out minor maintenance. Minimal tools and spares arc required in the vessels. In addition, the vessel’s crew can be sized to meet operational requirements only.

Thirdly, the requirement to maintain a ‘walk in’ capability within a ship repair unit/dockyard is reduced. Skilled staff are only hired for specific tasks and there is no overhead associated with keeping these skills available when they are not required.


One would now logically ask if the ISSC concept will work for all situations. In the experience of the author’s company, the answer to this question is no. When vessels are operating from a major seaport and the work involves standard marine equipment the process works exceptionally well. ln smaller ports support may be more difficult to find. Also, the re­sponse time for repairs can be slower when there is compe­tition with other commercial users. Finally, complex special­ised equipment cannot be easily repaired and spares cannot be easily found for this equipment hy the !SSC because of lack of access and information. Some examples include military radios, weapons and sensors. However, significant work can be achieved by an ISSC and significant savings can be obtained on the vast majority of equipment. For those considering implementing an ISSC it is rccommended to proceed slowly. Put a simple class of ships out to !SSC first. Add other classes and more complicated equipment as the success of the process is proven. With the ISSC’s success the laws of supply and demand will ensure appropriate repair agents are available when required. Finally do not expect an ISSC to immediately take over all complex systems. Appropri­ate support within the Navy will still be required for some of these. Through a measured implementation approach the most effective areas for privatisation will be identified over time.


Military standards and specifications often cover a wide spectrum and may not be exactly applicable for all project objectives. However, these standards and specifications pro­vide an excellent framework for a designer to start from and tailor a project plan to meet various needs. With this framework and some hard investigation of the open literature it is possible to find information that can be brought into a project plan designed for specific project requirements.

The project has also shown how COTS equipment can be used in military projects. However, care must be taken during packaging and installation to ensure performance and reliability do not suffer. The initial advantage of COTS is the implementation of cost reduction. Also, COTS pro­vides for savings throughout the service life.

The initial task of winning the MCDV contract required innovation and the fortitude to take some drastic decisions. Some requirements had to be deleted, some requirements had to be reduced and a number of inexpensive and efficient ways had to be found to complete the design to the Navy’s satisfaction. In many aspects of the design process, commercial techniques and equipment were adopted and proved to be very successful. Now in the same way commercial techniques, not unlike those used by commercial oil companies to support their offshore supply vessels, are being adopted by the Navy to support the MCDVs. The results of the greater use of commercial standards have been most satisfactory and have shown that there is a lot of scope for this approach in future military projects.


In writing this paper many associates have made significant contributions. The author first wishes acknowledge all those who contributed to the successful implementation of the MCDV project, which was necessary to allow this paper to be written in the first place. 1n particular, the author wishes to acknowledge the Government of Canada agen­cies, MCDV subcontractors and their staff. Many of the initiatives discussed in the body of this paper were originated by government personnel and nurtured through their support of the MCDV project. The MCDV project subcontractors designed and implemented many parts of this project under the management of the prime contractor. They did the research and found ways to implement the ideas as they were collectively generated by the overall project team. Representatives from each of these organisations helped the author in recalling those events of the last eight years dis­cussed in this paper. The author also wishes to extend a special thank you to the following Fenco Maclaren col­leagues who assisted in editing and finalising this paper: Robert Mustard, MCDV Project Manager Anthony Thatcher, Combat System/Software Manager; Mrs Anne Whalen, ISSC Documentation Manager; Mrs Madeleine Guibert, Industrial and Regional Benefits Manager; John Haywood, Contracts Manager; Charles Rate, Director of Engineering; Michael Legoff, Special Disciplines Engineer; Jerry Wagner, ILS Manager; Daniel Lapierre, Test and Trials Engineer; and Ralph McClean, Director of Support Services.

Finally the author wishes to acknowledge his personal friend, Mr Lawrence Taylor, who encouraged him to write this paper and Mr Taylor’s late wife, Beverly Jean, who took and provided photographs of HMCS Kingston’s launching, one of which is included in this paper.


  1. Van Wijngaarden, ‘The optimum form of a small hull for the North Sea area’, International Shipbuilding Progress (July 1984).
  2. ‘Electromagnetic interference: guidelines for the installation and test of equipment’, DNV Paper No 80, p008 (June 1980).
  3. W E Woodson, Human Factors Design Handbook, McGraw Hill, New York (1981).
  4. S F Love, Planning and Creating Successful Engineering Designs, Advanced Professional Development Inc (1986).

Throughout this paper the term Navy is used. This simplified term refers to all the Government of Canada Agencies including the Canadian Navy and Public Works and Government Services Canada involved in this project.



Propulsion and power generation systems

The MCDV main propulsion and power generation system is a diesel electric system based on a central power plant concept. It consists of four major subsystems each made up of the following equipment:

  1. Main propulsion plant:
    a. four main power and propulsion diesel alternator sets;
    b. a main power and propulsion switchboard;
    c. two SCR controlled dc electric motors; and
    d. two azimuthing ‘Z’ drive thrusters with fp propel­ lers.
  2. Ships service power generation:
    a. an electric motor alternator;
    b. auxiliary diesel alternator; and
    c. ships service switchboard.
  3. Emergency power generation:
    a. an emergency diesel alternator; and
    b. emergency switchboard.
  4. Control and monitoring:
    a. bridge consoles;
    b. MCR console;
    c. ship manoeuvring controls (steering and speed);
    d. power generation and supervisory control system (PGSCS);
    e. central alarm and monitoring system (CAMS); and
    f. integrated fire and damage monitoring system (IFDMS).

Auxiliary systems

The auxiliary systems consist of the following subsystems:

  1. A central heating, ventilation and air conditioning plant with some local air conditioning in the control spaces and electric blast heaters in dispersed areas.
  2. Two food refrigeration units with three storage rooms.
  3. A wet firemain with two pumps.
  4. Fire extinguishing equipment consisting of carbon di­oxide cylinders for the main motors, aqueous film form­ing foam for both machinery spaces, a karbaloy spray within the galley exhaust hood and normal naval port­able firefighting and damage control equipment.
  5. A hull and ballast system with an eductor and bilge pump.
  6. Fresh water system consisting of two reverse osmosis desalination units, pressure system and hot water sys­tem.
  7. Fuel system with transfer pump, coalescer and centri­fuge.
  8. Compressed air system comprising two air compres­sors and four air receivers.
  9. Lubricating oil system comprising clean and dirty oil storage.
  10. General purpose crane.
  11. Environmental pollution control systems comprising black and grey water, and oily water treatment system.
  12. Mooring and towing system comprised of an anchor windlass and capstan.
  13. Normal life saving equipment with a 4.4m rigid hull inflatable rescue boat.

Combat systems

The navigation system comprises the speed log, gyro com­pass system, differential global positioning system, loran C, meteorological system and echo sounder.

The interior communication system consists of the main broadcast, intercom, voice recorder, automatic telephone, sound powered telephone and entertainment package.

The exterior communication system comprises the radio communications system (RCS), communications control aml monitoring system (CCMS), message processing system (MPS) and signal lights.

The degaussing system consists of three types of coils (M, L and A), coil junction boxes, a bridge control unit, a de­gaussing control unit and coil power supplies.

The passive ESM system is a VHF maritime mobile com­ munication direction finder.

The radar suite is made up of two independent radar systems (navigation and surface search) with three interswitched automatic radar plotting and true motion rasterscan displays.

The oceanographic system consists of the expendable bathythermograph and the expendable sound velocimeter capability.

The mine warfare control system consists of two data analysis subsystems; a tactical control subsystem with bridge display; and an acoustic positioning subsystem.

The MCDV armament includes one Bofors 40 mm gun mount, two .50 calibre Browning M2 machine guns, 13 C7 5.56 mm rifles, three pistols, two line throwing rifles and two pyrotechnic pistols.

Table II - Propulsor option analysis results

Factors Weight Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Operational capability 0.2 15.60 14.10 19.30
Engineering and maintenance 0.15 13.95 13.73 14.78
Supply support 0.1 9 8 9.80
Manning and training 0.1 8.40 7.80 8.40
Cost 0.3 26.52 26.88 29.64
Risk 0.15 11.36 11.09 13.32
Total 1 84.83 81.60 95.24

Table III - Prime mover analysis results

Item Weight factor Option A Option B
Cost 0.190 18.63 14.10
Operational capability 0.180 11.40 17.78
Canadian content 0.120 6.40 12
Environmental requirements 0.009 0.90 0.90
Safety design 0.009 0.90 0.90
Human engineering 0.009 0.90 0.90
Reliability criteria 0.153 10.78 15.30
Design growth 0.050 3.40 4.57
Manning 0.010 1 1
Engineering and maintenance 0.190 15.28 19
Supply support 0.070 5.70 7
Training 0.010 1 0.60
Totals 1 76.29 94.05

[Table discussions follow]


The minesweeping payload is a conventional, off-the-shelf system composed of a USN SSDD winch, two davits, a spare wire reel, USN SQL 36 ‘wet-end’ equipment and a storage container.

The route survey payload consists of the following main components: towfish containing the sonar imagery sensor; and detection processing equipment.

The bottom object inspection payload consists of the following: the control and display console; the ROV portable control console; the ROV handling subsystem: and the ROV.

Shore Stations

There are two differential global positioning system (DGPS) shore reference stations each consisting of: the GPS equipment; communication equipment; a portable generator; and an enclosure.

The route survey data analysis facilities (RSDAF) consist primarily of facilities, data and functions necessary to create, update and control a route survey database. There are two RSDAFs each consisting of four work stations.



To select a propulsion plant many detailed trade off studies were conducted. One of the major references used to guide these studies was Planning and Creating Successful Engineering Designs by S F Love[4] The first study investigated the possible propulsion options while not addressing the prime mover options themselves. The propulsion system options came from the Navy’s recommendation for consideration within the TSOR and included the following:.

  1. option 1: twin propellers;
  2. option 2: single propeller; and
  3. option 3: twin ‘Z’ drive units.
    Both cp and fp propellers were considered to be admissi­ble for all these options.

Option 1 was similar to the Royal Navy Hunt class and the US Navy Avenger class MCMVs. This option had a conven­tional dual shafting layout with each shaft connected to a gearbox. Two rudders and a bow thruster were included in stem thrusters for manoeuvring.
Option 2 was similar to the Tripartite and the Lerici class MCNVs. It was a single shaft conventional drive from a multi-input gearbox with single propeller. This option included a single rudder and two small retractable azimuthing stern thrusters for manoeuvring.
Option 3 was developed by the design team to include two vectored thrusters and a bow thruster. This arrangement was similar to the Royal Navy’s Sandown class SRMH and the US Navy Osprey class minehunter. Initially this option considered cycloidal propellers (Voith Schneider) but was later replaced by Z drive units which were cheaper, built in Canada and used extensively on both the Canadian East and West Coasts.

These options were fully evaluated against the factors including operational capability, engineering and mainte­nance, supply support, manning and training, cost and risk. Operational capability was further broken down to emphasise flexibility, track keeping, towing, position keep­ing, speed, endurance, and other manoeuvring require­ments. On the basis of the complete analysis, option 3 (Z drive), was superior to option 1 (twin propeller) and option 2 (single propeller with azimuthing stem thrusters) in all categories. The overall summary of the comparative scores by category and total is shown in Table II.
The following is a summary of the advantages of option 3 over the other options:

  1. excellent manoeuvrability and position keeping capa­bilities of the Z drive in high sea states;
  2. flexibility of the propulsion Z drive for applications other than position keeping;
  3. simplified and relatively inexpensive control system required;
  4. fewer hull penetrations;
  5. compact arrangement enabling more flexibility in ves­sel design;
  6. low acquisition cost;
  7. high probability of exceeding the Canadian content requirements; and
  8. relative ease of repair by replacement for gearing and propellers, without drydocking.

[Figure 5] MCDV diesel electric propulsion system

Having identified the ideal propulsor arrangement the next study was aimed at determining the best means of powering these units. Initially the following five systems were considered:

  1. geared mechanical (direct drive diesel);
  2. variable speed electric (dc diesel electric);
  3. slip clutch mechanical;
  4. constant speed low voltage electric (ac diesel electric); and
  5. constant speed high voltage electric (ac diesel electric).

As these were studied it was determined that only the first two were well suited to the Navy’s requirements and merited further investigation. The slip clutch mechanical was inferior for the following reasons:

  1. lowest operational availability;
  2. poor low power manoeuvring response;
  3. prolonged low load operation of the diesel prime mover during remotely operated vehicle operations; and
  4. least proven technology in similar applications.

The ac diesel electric options were dismissed for the following reasons:

  1. Custom design two speed propulsion motors and start­ing equipment required. Potential central power voltage and frequency stability fluctuation resulting from rapid load changes were probable.
  2. A minimum of two propulsion generator sets would be required to achieve a reduced voltage propulsion motor starting and maintain system stability.
  3. Fault finding diagnostics and computer aided prompt­ing of the platform operators is not normally available with this type of equipment.

With the elimination of the three less favourable options the study was confined to a geared mechanical, option A, and a dc electric, option B, each using high-speed (1800 rev/min) diesels.

Option A consisted of the following:

  1. two geared 1500 BPH main diesels;
  2. two Z drives with cp propellers;
  3. two small electric motors for slow-speed operation;
  4. four 300 kW generators; and
  5. a 100 kW emergency generator.

Option B consisted of the following:

  1. four ships service 715 kW 600V ac diesel alternators;
  2. two 1150 kW dc propulsion motors, each controlled by a dedicated SCR;
  3. two Z drives with fp propellers;
  4. a 250 kW motor generator backed up by a 250 kW auxiliary diesel alternator; and
  5. a 100 kW emergency generator.

Table Ill shows the results of this study.

While the full details are not discussed here it can be seen that the dc electric diesel plant was far superior to the geared diesel plant. The high points of this analysis were the follow­ing:

  1. The diesel electric plant provided superior manoeuvrability for the mine counter measure operations. Also it incorporated fp propellers with advantages in reduced costs, efficiency, noise reduction, reliability, and reduced maintenance.
  2. The redundancy in the diesel electric plant provided tremendous advantages in meeting the high reliability requirements of the project.
  3. The flexibility of the plant to power ROVs and poten­tially other payloads made it very attractive.

The only area where the geared diesel plant was better was its lower cost. In the final analysis it was concluded that the extra cost was justified by the advantages the diesel electric plant would bring to the design. With this decision made the next step was to issue request for quotes for a total tum key propulsion package based on the selected design. Four serious contenders came forward and an exhaustive evaluation was conducted to select the most compliant proposal with the greatest capability of producing a quality end product at the best price. The end result was the selection of Jeumont Industries as the propulsion system integrator for the MCDV project. The layout of the total system, as supplied, is shown in Fig 5.