The objective of this project is to reduce the cost and weight of the AGS Pallets by investigating various production, manufacturing, processing and material enhancements. The manufacturing approach will be reviewed and opportunities for reduced cycle-time, enhanced material selections and alternative manufacturing approaches — such as friction stir welding or near-net-shape casting — will be identified. Proposed production methods will focus on decreasing the time and cost to manufacture the pallets, while maintaining the tight tolerances needed for the pallets to function properly.
The DDG 1000 will be equipped with two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS). The current design of the automated AGS pallet has a projected cost significantly higher than originally anticipated, adversely affecting the overall AGS production budget. Due to the rapid development and deployment cycle, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) determined it beneficial for NMC to conduct, in parallel with the ongoing development by the systems designer, a separate evaluation of the manufacturing materials and methods that the pallet system will require.
NMC will review the manufacturing approach and identify opportunities for reduced cycle time, enhanced material selections, alternate manufacturing approaches—such as injection molding or near-net-shape casting—and weight and cost reductions. Proposed production methods will focus on decreasing the time and cost to manufacture the pallets, while maintaining the tight tolerances needed for the pallets to function properly.
NMC has developed numerous manufacturing enhancements to reduce manufacturing costs, including incorporating friction-stir welding, which also decreases weight and pallet distortion; reducing part count and simplifying the aft projectile and propellant charge latching mechanisms; and modifying the shipping covers. These improvements could result in a per-pallet cost reduction of greater than $49K from the baseline per-pallet estimated cost of $233K – a savings of approximately 21%. With 75 pallets per DDG 1000, a total of $6.9M could be saved for the first two DDG 1000 hulls, not counting the additional 150 pallets anticipated for spares and replenishment.
The Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) will optimize the manufacturing approaches developed during Phase 1, using FSW and advanced machining and casting techniques to produce a prototype AGS pallet system that will be evaluated by the Integrated Project Team, including BAE Systems, the project prime integrator. A Technical Data Package of proven manufacturing improvements and cost reductions will be delivered to BAE Systems and NAVSEA PEO IWS 3C for implementation into the Low-Rate Initial Production builds of the AGS Pallet System early in 2011.