Bayou Manufacturing Capabilities for FFG(X)
Our aluminum processing, machining, and modular fabrication form the core of our capabilities that can support the success of FFG (X)
FFG (X) Affordability
The US Navy has set a high goal for FFG (X) affordability to showcase new design-build processes that can set new standards for project management. The goal is to build the hulls for less than $800M for the production run of 20 ships. There are significant risks to the shipbuilding industrial base for other Navy and Coast Guard programs if the FFG (X) can’t be designed for manufacturability in a way that keeps the cost under the goals. There will be a question of how many shipyards become involved if the initial builds are not on the learning curve built into the estimates.
Bayou manufacturing has the capability to produce extremely high-quality modular panel kits in aluminum using its long friction stir welding process line, the longest in the USA. Bayou is a leader in Navy, USCG, and commercial modular aluminum shipbuilding. Our track record of excellence is well known by shipyards such as Austal (FCS), Ingalls (LCS and USCG OPC), and Eastern Shipbuilding (Staten Island Ferries). With a wide range of metalworking machinery and high-tech expertise, Bayou has delivered large complex modules for many successful projects.
On “affordability”, Bayou has a strong track record of meeting aggressive cost goals. We can produce panels, kits, modules, and components more effectively than any shipyard. With our sister company Bayou Metal Supply, we can deliver the lowest possible raw material pricing as one of the largest aluminum metal suppliers in the Southeast USA. Transportation costs of our finished modules are minor compared to the cost savings we can achieve in materials and welding processes.
Streamlined Acquisition, Design, and Construction Planning
With FFG (X), the Navy plans to set a new standard for integrated acquisition, design, shipbuilding planning, and actual ship construction. The time reduction and potential cost reduction is huge, assuming the project is executed properly. An estimated six years is expected to be cut vs. a traditional lead ship program. In the case of the existing contract, this is made a bit easier because Marinette is starting from an existing Fincantieri of the successful Italian FREMM design.
With Bayou Manufacturing on the FFG (X) team, the large aluminum module partner will be a strong part of the team that can fit right into the existing design work and is ready to deliver modules ahead of the planned schedule. Building on the idea of using an existing Fincantieri design, using a proven modular shipbuilding partner like Bayou makes a lot of sense.
Bringing Bayou Manufacturing onto the FFG (X) team will be a positive step in reducing risk, meeting cost goals, and continuing the great work of streamlining the whole shipbuilding process.
How is FFG (X) different?
FFG (X) Accelerated Timeline
With FFG (X) on a timeline to start construction in early 2022 and delivery in 2026, the shipyard(s) will require partners that are nimble, experienced, and proven to be able to partner in the design process. There is little time to slowly ramp up to first ship production and then slowly improve processes in a shipyard to work down a shallow learning curve. The best way for Marinette to avoid the Navy bringing on a second shipyard for production is to exceed the timeline goals which will reduce cost and get the ships into operation sooner. The US Navy needs a win like that for its surface fleet shipbuilding.
Bayou has the expertise to hit the ground running fast to coordinate modular manufacturing procedures with the shipyard. We have done these many times before and proven our capability. Because we are a medium-sized company, extremely flexible, and smart, we make an excellent partner for any shipyard. We control the raw material delivery with significant flexibility to never wait for out of stock material. Our executive team is made up of proven project managers who know how to deliver to a schedule. `
FFG (X) Risk Reduction
The US Navy has put a lot of effort into structuring the FFG (X) contract to reduce risk and be sure the project can deliver as planned. Congressional Oversight is strong and other recent programs provided many lessons learned to apply to FFG (X). Particularly on the lead ship, the oversight will be intense. The pressure to reduce costs can’t be so blind as to bring on suppliers without experience in aluminum shipbuilding. The smallest problems, like small cracks in welds, can easily blow up into major cost and schedule delays. Many recent shipbuilding programs have seen the results of not managing risk upfront. Managing risk in a shipbuilding program means choosing the “best” partners for the job, having flexibility in schedule and budgets to adjust priorities as the design and build progress, and lastly, the project management to see problems realistically early on when they are identified and take aggressive action to fix them.
Bayou Manufacturing has the executive project management team and the manufacturing processes in place to deliver on a major project like FFG (X) starting today. There is a very little learning curve for Bayou because we are so experienced at exactly the kinds of modular ship construction essential for a successful FFG (X) shipbuilding program. Our quality programs are in place and proven to produce superior aluminum ship modules. We have the capability to hold inventory at any step in the production process to maximize the cost efficiency for the program team overall.
Flexibility as the Ship Capabilities Grow
Flexibility is built-in at Bayou Manufacturing. Located in Slidell LA, the heart of the USA workboat building region, we have seen requirements and designs of all types.
The US Navy fully expects the FFG (X) capabilities to grow as new weapons and sensor systems are added to the design. As the traditional slowly developing electronics and weapons systems move from R&D to production significantly faster, the newest Navy ships have to adapt. High energy systems will surely create growth in these ships’ electrical systems. The old days of shooting down a missile with a missile are numbered. Typically, these kinds of changes wreak havoc on the ship’s design and production processes. Back up the learning curve, the shipyard will go unless flexibility is built in at the yard and with all their hull module partners.
Our commercial customers demand high flexibility, speedy ship module deliveries, and the ability to change as their needs change. We have worked with multiple yards which means we have seen all their processes and have adapted the best of those to our own design and production capabilities. We expect change and are ready for it.
Additionally, Bayou brings a wide range of metal manufacturing capabilities that can deliver many types of module kits to support FFG (X). Our bending and forming facilities are well equipped to deliver a wide range of finished components in large or small sizes from any metal. Though we specialize in aluminum metalworking, we are very experienced with steel and stainless steel. Our welding process and people can deliver many different results, again in large or small-sized.
Friction Stir Welding
Dissimilar Alloy Welding
Dissimilar Butt Thickness Welding
Framing is an important part of any modular shipbuilding project and Bayou brings a wealth of experience in virtually every form of Aluminum framing. Our aluminum processing, machining, and modular fabrication form the core of our capabilities that can support the success of FFG (X).