Shared Modular Build of Warships

How a Shared Build Can Support Future Shipbuilding

by Laurence Smallman, Hanlin Tang, John F. Schank, Stephanie Pezard


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Some recent shipbuilding programs in the United States and Europe have involved multiple shipyards constructing major modules of each ship for final integration and testing at one shipyard. Most modern shipyards have the capability to build and integrate modules, whether those modules originate at that shipyard or at another. Some yards might need to modify their facilities, however, to handle large blocks, rather than completed vessels, at the waterfront. Shared build might not maintain skills at all shipyards equally, but it might help maintain skills at multiple shipyards.

It requires the cooperating shipyards to set aside any competitive tendencies and help each other to the overall benefit of the program.

Potential benefits include maximizing the learning curve, cross-yard learning, and outsourcing benefits. The Navy needs to decide what it wants from a shared-build strategy, then monitor and manage the program to ensure that it delivers the required outcome, as well as the vessels called for in the program.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Choosing Shared Build

  • Chapter Three

    Workload-Allocation Strategies

  • Chapter Four

    Contractual Arrangements

  • Chapter Five

    Design Software and Information Technology Systems

  • Chapter Six

    Cost Implications

  • Chapter Seven

    Shipyard Collaboration During Shared Build

  • Chapter Eight


  • Appendix A

    DDG-51 Deckhouse Case Study

  • Appendix B

    DDG-1000 Case Study

  • Appendix C

    LPD-17 Case Study

  • Appendix D

    Virginia Case Study

  • Appendix E

    UK Type 45 Destroyer Case Study

  • Appendix F

    UK Future Carrier Case Study

  • Appendix G

    LHD Mistral and Tonnerre

The research described in this report was prepared for the United States Navy. The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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