Evaluation of the Navy's Decision To Replace Waste Heat Boilers on the DD-963 Class Ships

PLRD-82-102: Published: Aug 9, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's decision to convert the waste heat boiler system on DD-963 Class ships to an all-electric system. The review was requested because of allegations that such replacements would: (1) create even greater problems than those being experienced, (2) be significantly more expensive than the $500 million estimated for the conversion, and (3) be more expensive than other alternatives for resolving the boiler problems.

The Navy has 30 DD-963 destroyers in its ship inventory. Since the ships' commissioning in 1975, the Navy has experienced some operating and maintenance problems with the waste heat boilers. Although the ships' builder has made improvements to the boiler, problems continue, and correcting these problems will require design changes and ship modifications. A Navy review team was concerned that satisfactory levels of reliability and maintainability could not be achieved through modifications and recommended that the best long-term remedy would be to replace the steam auxiliary system with electric auxiliaries. The Navy's plan to convert the ships to an electric system was turned down; however, approval was given to a new program to develop, test, evaluate, and compare the reliability and costs of: (1) a prototype electric auxiliary system proposed for application on all DD-963 class ships, and (2) a new waste heat boiler system presently being installed on two other classes of ships. GAO concluded that the new approach to deciding which option is the most economical and effective for resolving the problems on the DD-963's was appropriate.

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