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The Navy's new Riverine Command Boat (RCB-X)  (Source: NAVY.mil)
Navy hopes to cut its fossil fuel consumption in half by 2020

It seems these days that many people/organizations are trying to go green. We have companies like Dell installing solar panels in parking lotsnumerous auto manufacturers are selling/developing full-electric and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles; and even homeowners look to reduce costs by using fluorescent lighting and eco-friendly building materials.

Not to be left out, the U.S. Navy is showing its "green" side with a new 49-foot Riverine Command Boat (RCB-X). The boat is powered by a 50/50 mix of NATO F-76 fuel and algae-based biofuel.

Although there is no talk about an increase (or penalty) in fuel efficiency by using the the fuel, it appears to be more of a policy decision with regards to stepping up the use of alternative fuels in the Navy's fleet.

"Going green is about combat capability and assuring Navy's mobility," said Rear Adm. Philip Cullom, director of the Chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division. "It is not just about natural security; it also strengthens national security. By having reliable and abundant alternate sources of energy, we will no longer be held hostage by any one source of energy, such as petroleum.”

As with all new and experimental technology, the price to use such fuel in this prototype vehicle is astronomical. And when we say astronomical, we mean it -- the Marine Corps Times reports that the Navy bought 20,055 gallons of algae-based biodiesel at a jaw-dropping cost of $424 per gallon.

According to Wired, the Navy uses 80,000 barrels of oil per day to fuel its ships and wishes to cut that number in half within a decade through the use of biofuels and nuclear power.

"First and foremost, energy conservation extends tactical range of our forces while also preserving precious resources," Cullom added. "Our goal, as a Navy, is to be an 'early adopter' of new technologies that enhance national security in an environmentally sustainable way."



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RE: Volume and production
By Solandri on 10/29/2010 11:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do the $500 hammers have these properties, though?
I didn't work on military hardware, but I did work on military software. If the hammers had to meet specs anything like what we had for our software, then yes they probably did have to have those properties. The specs and requirements given to us for our software looked like they threw in everything they could think of that they'd like, then asked their spouses what else might be useful.

You have to keep in mind that the military folks writing the specs are still government. The officer in charge of the project gets a budget each year, and has to spend it all or it gets reduced the following year. They're very, very good at making up BS specifications to pad the bottom line.

(The exception is the Marine Corps. It has something to do with them technically being a sub-branch of the Navy. They don't control the funds they get or they have to justify every cent they spend or something. They went through their required spec list and our proposals with a fine-toothed comb, trying to cut whatever costs they could and eliminating features they felt weren't worth it.)

That's not to say there isn't any bilking going on. I'm sure there is. But the fault lies with both ends. That's why it's called the Military Industrial Complex, not the Industrial Complex which happens to make military stuff.

quote:
In this situation, wouldn't it be better just to buy a few extra $100 hammers and dispense with the cost/difficulty of cleaning a hammer, and just replace it instead?

The mindset is that in an all-out war situation, you're not going to be resupplied. Whatever equipment you have is what you're going to be stuck with, and in a contamination situation you have to assume everything will be contaminated including spares. So better make sure it can withstand anything you might encounter.


RE: Volume and production
By theapparition on 10/30/2010 11:00:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The specs and requirements given to us for our software looked like they threw in everything they could think of that they'd like, then asked their spouses what else might be useful.

That's where a bulk of the cost lies. It becomes very difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Requirements review is a huge issue, and those specifing things do tend to go overboard. If certain requirements were eliminated, costs could drop dramatically. However, in doing so, that assumes some risk, something that government is not willing at this time to do.

Government contractors do make money, but on some contracts they lose money if it's bid as a firm fixed price and they overrun.

quote:
The mindset is that in an all-out war situation, you're not going to be resupplied. Whatever equipment you have is what you're going to be stuck with, and in a contamination situation you have to assume everything will be contaminated including spares. So better make sure it can withstand anything you might encounter.

Thank you. You stated it better than I could.


"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain














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