Author Kremer, F.G.J. and Takken, E.H.
Title Development Overview of a Launch and Recovery System Standardization
Conference/Journal 12th International Naval Engineering Conference and Exhibition (INEC), Amsterdam, Netherlands
Paper no. 042
Month May
Year 2014

Development Overview of a Launch and Recovery System Standardization
Recent naval developments have shown some interesting trends, especially in the western world, where the financial crisis led to often severe reductions in defence budgets. Both total number of ships and number of discrete ship types have been reduced, requiring the remaining ships to perform a wider range of tasks. Consequently, flexibility has become a key attribute of these multi-functional platforms. Simultaneously, an increasing use of smaller organic craft for specific tasks – such as intelligence, surveillance, mine countermeasures, oceanography, etc. – can be observed. The rapid development of such craft, both manned and unmanned, is enabled by the latest technology developments in e.g. sensors, miniaturization of electronics, control, and so on.
Further observations can be made. For cost saving reasons, the lifetime of platforms is being extended and new platforms are designed for operations with smaller crew. A lifetime target for the platform towards 40 years is observed. This contrasts to the small craft, which undergo a fast development and rather short product life cycle, especially for unmanned craft. Consequently, the platforms will outlast multiple generations of smaller craft. The challenge is that today’s launch and recovery systems are craft dedicated, leading to either expensive platform modifications or stringent restrictions on dimensions and other characteristics when taking a new craft into service.
Finally, a growing need for interoperability can be seen, both within and between navies. However, the launch and recovery system is often so specific that such an operation is not possible or only in very restricted conditions, such as a calm sea state, daylight and zero ship speed. Combining the above trends and developments clearly gives arguments to review the interface between the platform and craft. A generic launch and recovery system appears to be an obvious solution to obtain large flexibility , enabling simultaneous reduction in operational and platform costs. In order to achieve such a goal the need for development of standards in launch and recovery systems is apparent, allowing industry to come up with working solutions in healthy competition.

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