Home » Budget Industry » Navy Studying New Hospital Ship, Intra-theater Mission Needs with Requirements Evaluation Team


Navy Studying New Hospital Ship, Intra-theater Mission Needs with Requirements Evaluation Team

The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is anchored off the coast of Bengkulu, Indonesia, in support of Pacific Partnership (PP) 2018 on March 30, 2018. PP-18’s mission is to work collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region and foster new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Pacific region. US Navy photo.

The Navy has created yet another Requirements Evaluation Team to look at filling a future fleet need, this time to analyze its need for a hospital ship and platforms for other intra-theater missions, the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems said in a hearing Thursday.

During the hearing, House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee chairman Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) said, “the Navy’s plan to essentially do a service life extension on the (hospital ship T-AH-20 USNS) Comfort I think becomes more of a challenge than what I think this nation is willing to accept as far as the risk it poses to us,” he said, noting the importance of having high-quality emergency medical care available for troops and for humanitarian assistance missions.

“We have made plans to do a service life extension of both ships – that’s a Role 3 level capability, those are floating hospitals. The problem with those ships is, there’s only two of them, and they’re big, and we’re moving to a more distributed maritime operations construct,” Vice Adm. Bill Merz said.
“So we have recently commissioned what we call a Requirements Evaluation Team to look at intra-theater missions, and there’s a whole collection of missions that we’re trying to get our arms around. One of them is a distributed hospital capability, and these are going to be fairly challenging requirements: it’s going to have to be able to support a V-22, for instance, so how do you manage the size of that and the speed and how it’s going to go. So there’s no lack of commitment; matter of fact, we’re taking a broader look at the capabilities on whether or not they are aligned with the way we plan to fight our future battles. So you’re going to see that requirement surface probably this year, and then we’ll start the process on how we’re going to fill that requirement.”

Under the RET process, acquisition, requirements and operational experts come together to discuss the Navy’s requirement to fill a particular mission, and they bring industry representatives in early on to discuss what material solution could be provided at what cost point. Under this model, all stakeholders – using computer tools that allow them to generate numerous iterations of a ship design very quickly – can debate and refine a program’s requirements much faster and come up with a more mature and technologically informed set of requirements, compared to older requirements-generation methods, USNI News previously reported.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts told USNI News after the hearing that the RET process is “a multidisciplinary team looking at all angles of a capability gap and then trying to determine from that the capability versus cost trade, and then putting those into requirements.” He said the Navy has used the process several times now and it seems to be working well.

Merz said the RET approach – which USNI News reported in December was being used to look at a cruiser replacement and the rest of the Future Surface Combatant family of systems, and had been used for the frigate program as well as to find a new mission set for the Zumwalt-class destroyers (DDG-1000) – “is already bearing fruit with the spectrum of designs we get to work through” due to bringing together not only Navy requirements officers and operators but also industry.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Anne Borrell and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force 1st Lt. Shimo Yama perform a tooth extraction for a Yap native during a Pacific Partnership 2018 (PP18) medical civil action project. US Navy photo.

The creation of the RET to look at the hospital ship mission is new. Merz testified to the same subcommittee on March 6 and said at the time that “we’re going to have to do something with the hospital ships.”

He acknowledged the need to extend the life of Comfort because “the replacement’s not ready, so we are evaluating what it would take to do a life extension on her. Her sister ship is in good shape, she’ll be around for quite a while, and there may be other opportunities to fill in the sea-based medical support that we need to provide. So we’re casting a wide net on how to meet that specific capability.”

Industry has proposed several potential solutions for a future hospital ship. The Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport ships (EPF-1) have a vast amount of space that could be turned into medical and surgical rooms – either as a standalone medical ship, or as something of an ambulance ship to treat patients while en route to a larger hospital ship. The Expeditionary Sea Base ships, such as USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) operating in U.S. 5th Fleet today, have already experimented with bringing on medical packages. The massive, wide-open ships have plenty of space to accommodate future additions for part-time medical facilities as needed, or could be purpose-built as a medical ship that more closely resembles Comfort and sister-ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19).

Wittman noted both these ideas during the hearing this week, and Merz replied that “everything’s a potential” at this point.

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and the joint high speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) transit in formation during Pacific Partnership 2015 on May 27, 2015. US Navy photo.

In the March hearing, Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for combat development and integration, said there were plenty of benefits to using a proven hull like the ESB or EPF to fill the medical ship role.

“When you talk about the industrial base and continuing to build ships, it isn’t always build the exact same thing, it’s how do you repurpose what you already have. And I look at opportunities there in the ESBs along with the EPFs,” Walsh said.
“Tremendous capacity and capability in both those ships to be able to use them for a lot of different reasons, and certainly on the medical side it’s very clear [there’s space and capability] to bring packages” onto the ships to create an expeditionary medicine capability.

In that March hearing, Merz referenced a Common Hull Platform design that could replace several sealift and other fleet needs such as a submarine tender and a command ship. The hospital ship mission could potentially be wrapped up in this “CHAMP” common hull design, which he said the Navy hoped to accelerate. Ingalls Shipbuilding has previously pitched its San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD-17) design as the basis for a common hull, which includes a hospital ship variant.

  • Desplanes

    I have concerns about expanding reliance on commercial grade ships for military purposes, such as the EPFs and ESBs.

    A different path could be use of the LPD hull as the basis for a hospital ship closer to the battle, with the containerized hospital on a commercial hull farther back.

    Maybe 4 or 6 LPD-based ships could replace the 2 existing hospital ships. ( I know….cost) The EPF could also be a useful shuttle between the forward and rear hospital ships.

    • DaSaint

      I see no need for the hospital ship to be naval rules. Commercial is sufficient. After all, they’re Hospital Ships, painted white, with a big red cross on them. They’re not supposed to be targeted.

      One of the issues with the Comfort and her sister is – they’re really slow, as are the ESBs. I’ve seen the model for Austal’s hospital version of their EPFs just today, and that seems to make more sense, either as a replacement for the Comforts, or as a complement to them.

      • Curtis Conway

        Remember that the uncivilized us the Red Cross to assist in aiming.

        • El_Sid

          It’s happened a bit with “irregulars” on land, but when was the last time a hospital ship was targeted? In general the red cross is pretty well respected in war, not many people are aware of the area set aside north of the Falklands for hospital ships in 1982, and they treated casualties from both sides according to need.

          Having said that, the modern RN prefers the protection of guns to red crosses, which is why RFA Argus is designated a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship rather than a hospital ship. She also has a secondary role in aviation training, another example of a dual-purpose ship in this area.

          • leesea

            I suggested an Argus model (or Bay class LSD(A) model) was roundly rejected since there were no rqmts or CONOPS for those ship types. Hogwash.
            In point of fact, the Argus model is a very good ship for several missions besides Medical Treatment Facility, HA?DR support and helo training

          • Murray

            The Australian hospital ship Centaur was sunk by a Japanese submarine off the coast of Queensland on 14 May 1943 with the loss of 268 lives (all non-combatants). The death toll from the Centaur sinking was the highest of any merchant ship sunk by a submarine in the Pacific during WWII. Not all countries play by the rules.

          • Secundius

            Ironic by a country that NEVER armed their OWN Merchant Ships through out WWII. Probably why the “Maru’s” were such easy pickings by ANY Single American Aircraft’s…

          • El_Sid

            So 75 years ago (in an age before social media etc) – and I’m not sure how naval rules would have saved the Centaur? Some torpedoes and sonar might have – but then you’re no longer talking about a hospital ship.

            As always it’s a balance between cost and capability – and I would guess that in the present circumstances there is greater risk to the team as a whole in using dollars to navalise hospital ships at the expense of better weapons/sensors on their potential escorts.

      • PolicyWonk

        I like the EPF idea as a compliment to the Mercy and Comfort – they can get into much shallower water, and are a lot faster.

        Using LPD-17 sea-frames as hospital ships is an interesting idea, but that would be difficult given the relative cost.

        • DaSaint

          As much as I love the LPD hullform, and the possible occasional benefit of the well deck, I think youre right that cost may be the biggest issue.

        • leesea

          The EPF could be used for much more than a connector tot the T-AH.
          See comment above about dumb ideas being sold by HII for LPD to be a hospital ship

          • PolicyWonk

            I see the EPF as a floating and more sophisticated MASH. Much closer to the action – helo deck on the top could come in real handy, having pontoons makes it stable, and fast enough to take a considerable of patients out to the larger hospital ships.

          • leesea

            very possibly. In point of fact the SPD has deployed with a containerized MTF, modular medical treatment facility, onboard for Southern Partnership mission.
            Pontoons a non-starter from construction POV.
            A super ride control system is more doable.
            It is all about the “Golden Hour”

          • USNVO

            They called the Westpac Express the vomit comet for a reason. Catamarans are far from “stable”, especially at slow speed where the stabilizers are not effective. But even then, couldn’t the Helo fly the patients direct to the T-AH and just avoid the whole connector thing to begin with? Especially if it were to arrive with its own squadron of MV-22s.

            Build a replacement T-AH on tanker hull with a big flight deck (say six spots with JPALS). Build a bunch of critical care modules for the MV-22. In time of conflict, just assign a MV-22 squadron to the ship. Pick up the patients at the forward aid stations and fly direct to the ship. Lots of range so distance is not a big deal. Simple, cheap (since you will probably never use it), uses existing assets (there will always be at least one squadron available somewhere). Shoot, you can even fly patients on the MV-22 to meet the C-17s somewhere after they are stabilized.

            And even better, you don’t need to try to transfer patients at sea. Notice how well transferring passengers at sea has worked out for the EPF in a seaway.

      • leesea

        The hospital ship is a passenger ship and built to USCG regs and ABS rules as such. The T-AH-19 slow speed are recognized negatives. The Austal model in NO way shape or form is a hospital ship. At best it is a APH, hospital personnel transport

        • DaSaint

          The ships are converted oil tankers. They were not built from the keel up as ‘passenger ships’. Whatever rules and regs that they comply with now are similar rules and regs, domestic and international, that any new hospital ship will have to comply with.

          An Austal version of a hospital ship can’t possibly have the same capabilities and capacities of the current class, but my guess is that no replacement will, and the Navy’s ok with that.

          Even the Ingalls version of their San Antonio class outfitted as a hospital ship wouldn’t have the same patient care capacities, but may offer other advantages such as increased aviation capability, greater speed, and logistic commonality.

          • leesea

            Regardless of what I was built on. And in fact, the tanker holds were opened up and complete modules dropped into them. The inside of the ship is built to USCG rules similar to a passenger ship. Connecting a future T-AH to an ad hoc construction done 30 years ago is stupid!

          • DaSaint

            LOL!

          • El_Sid

            Well, they’re talking about a modified MLP as one option, which is a modified oil tanker…

      • Desplanes

        That red cross of paint sure matters to the radar on an ASM.

        Search “HSV-2 Swift attack” to see what a c-802 did to your commercial grade aluminum ferry.

        • Secundius

          As I recall the HSV survived the Missile Attack with the loss of only two of it’s 36 crew members…

      • Secundius

        i.e. Ambulance Ship…

    • leesea

      WHY??? MSC has been supporting the US Navy since 1950 with mostly merchant ships. Do you have any specific concerns about naval auxiliaries or Sealift ships?
      The international treaty which covers hospital ships specifically forbids using warships as hulls for hospital ships.
      LPD these days cost over a Billlion Bucks. You want your taxes to go up more to pay for those?

  • Ed L

    I like the Idea of using the latest LPD Hull as a Hospital Ship. Eight of them would be idea. There could be one for each fleet area and a couple left over. using the Spearhead as a method of moving casualties from hazard area to a slightly less hazard area is not a bad idea either.

    • DaSaint

      I would propose 4 EPF-based Hospital Ships to complement the two massive and slow Comfort class Hospital Ships. Part of the problem I’ve heard with the Comforts is the tremendous distance from the landing pad to the operating theaters and labs.

      This is where speed can be helpful. A much faster, more compact, but numerous solution seems appropriate. They have to keep Austal USA going somehow…

      • Curtis Conway

        Just like the hospital helipad is near the trauma center, so should the design of the Hospital Ship flight deck and trauma center be so configured. Some thought to access for vehicles to the pier and back, and perhaps special provisions for boat traffic. I can’t imagine a Hospital Ship having a well deck, but for HA/DR operations it could come in real handy.

        Something else . . . we have quite a few heavies that need recapitalized/reconstituted (like hospital ships, sub tenders, Icebreakers, destroyer tenders . . . cruiser replacement). If a common nuclear hull were used with electric drive there are some advantages that could be exploited by all concerned. Perhaps use a CVN hull with two screws. Training schools for operations & maintenance personnel, configuration control for upgrades to common systems, and a lot of electrical power for off-board use during disaster relief would all be possibilities.

        Just a thought.

        • DaSaint

          Options abound. The maritime academies are getting new multirole training ships. Maybe a hospital version could be conceived, as it’s already a commercial design.

        • El_Sid

          Perhaps a more left-field solution would be to look at what Norway have done with the Maud, their version of the Tide-class tanker. They incorporated a 40-bed hospital complex with operating theatres, isolation/intensivecare wards and CT scanner, with a lift down from the hangar. So perhaps the T-AO’s or other supply ships could have hospitals built in? There’s many advantages in having hospitals in large hulls, eg from a space and seakeeping perspective, but a dedicated hull means you have a large expensive asset that is pierside for most of its life. It might be interesting to think about options that involve a dedicated say 50-bed hospital area on a ship with space for additional containerised capacity as required (but which could be used flexibly for eg HA/DR materiel at other times).

          The idea of a hospital ship with well deck is not a completely ridiculous idea, although it’s perhaps more suited to HA/DR and medical diplomacy – when the UK was contemplating downsizing the Bay-class fleet of LSDs, there was some enthusiasm for transferring one to the aid department as a HA/DR/medical diplomacy ship. I’ve suggested in the past that the USN could use a couple of Galicia-class LSDs (cousins of the Bays) forward-ported at Rota, they’re about 15000t but about a quarter of the price of a San Antonio and you could imagine them working quite well as hospital ships.

          It’s a fair point about using nukes for emergency electricity supplies – but it comes at a heck of a cost, as well as needing lots of scarce nuke engineers etc. The trouble is that nuclear power needs a ship to be travelling a lot to justify the costs – the numbers work far better for hard-worked CRUDES than for eg gators.

          • leesea

            sid you’re close. In point of fact the amphibs and some other USS ships have lower level hospital spaces. I saw a cost of $50 mil to upgrade a big deck to top level/tier MTF.
            My cost effective solution is to look Hard at the RFA Argus PCRS and/or the RFA Bay class LSD(A).

            Both proven designs aka apply the KISS principle.

            BTW the CLF have small hospital spaces but they go to OTHER places. so I doubt the Navy will spend money on those ships being modified?

          • El_Sid

            Argus has given terrific service over the years and the old girl will be sorely missed when she retires/falls apart but I’m not sure you’d want to follow that exact model. She’s kinda been pushed from pillar to post being a not-ideal solution to all sorts of problems, originally the hope was that she could be a poor-man’s LPH, but that didn’t work out (hence Ocean).

            Galicias have the advantage over Bays of proper hangar facilities – and if they were homeported in Rota you would have the existing Spanish logistics chain to hand. By the same token Osumis might work in Japan.

          • leesea

            sid, no not the same model Except the baseline worked out well. I.E. Contender Bezant was a container/RoRo ship so it had open internals and a flat main deck. That allowed the RFA to put what it wanted down below i.e. aviation M&R and the medical spaces. And then by expanding the superstructure, they got C3 etc,
            There are lots of similar ships (passed over by the market) including some Cape Rs in the MARAD RRF.

          • Curtis Conway

            And here I thought I was the only nut thinking about a well deck. A well deck open even pier side, and with vehicle traffic just forward into the parking area, would provide for ingress/egress even in inclimate weather. We are talking about a Hospital Ship not a combatant.

            Like the perspective on the nukes. I have often thought that a new surface nuke program is needed to help solve regional energy generation problems. The power stations should have trained operators coming from the ships. We can copy the French model . . . sorta. Common design ashore cookie cuttered across regions helping relieve the strain on the grid, and shipboard operators filling those ranks as they leave the service. We end up with a ready source of vetted and trained operations/maintenance force, and have a common configuration ashore, and perhaps at sea.

          • El_Sid

            I see a well deck as more use for HA/DR and medical diplomacy, where ports may be difficult and there may be a need to move heavy kit. In a pure hospital ship role then you’re likely to be moving casualties by helicopter.

            Realistically, the only way the USN is going to introduce another surface nuclear plant is if the Burke replacement is nuclear – and in that case I suspect what would have to happen is that you’d split the Burke mission into a high-end CGN for BMD and a smaller Hobart-type destroyer just on budget grounds.

          • Curtis Conway

            I wonder how hard would it be to reconfigure an LHD coming off the line into a Hospital Ship? Just gun and reconfigure from the inside out.

            Looked up the Norwegian Maud Class Tanker and that is one sharp looking ship. Looks very utile.

          • Secundius

            Actually it’s the “Tide” class, and it’s made in the UK. Maud was bought by the Norwegian Navy…

          • Curtis Conway

            Most of the pictures were Tide Class, and everyone’s version of it.

          • Secundius

            If “DMSE” was the same Shipyard? Then it’s still basically the same vessel, regardless on how it was outfitted once it got to Norway…

          • leesea

            Daweoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering

          • Secundius

            I suspect you had a reason for telling me this? But at the moment I don’t know why!

          • leesea

            The Tide class aka MARS program oilers were built in Korea at DSME shipyard as above. They were completed in England

          • Secundius

            And I suspect that you, through precognitive thought processes made the automatic conclusion that neither “Curtis” nor “I” knew that, when the two of “US” had our discussion. Good work “Arthur Fellig”…

          • El_Sid

            Looks like a post may have disappeared? But they’re both part of the Aegir family from BMT – Maud is derived from the Aegir-18R design (but has Norwegian details like a sauna!), and is about 2/3 the displacement of the Tides. Both were built in Korea and fitted out with military comms etc at home – well, three Tides are fitting out at the moment. Building in Korea wasn’t popular, but British shipyards were flat out on the carriers and it did mean that the UK got four tankers for the price the USN is paying for just one John Lewis tanker (of a similar size).

          • El_Sid

            The trouble with anything based on San Antonio is cost – LPD-27 was $2,079.2m in FY12, they seem to be looking at $1.6-2.0bn for the LSD replacements. Compare with the Bays costing ~$180m in the early noughties.

          • Curtis Conway

            Well then, what are the real differences in the standards of construction?

          • leesea

            Well yes, warships are by definition more complex and expensive to build than naval auxiliaries. Especially today Given how many specs the USN builds into to warships.

          • leesea

            All changes no matter when or how done cost Money. The stripped bare LPD-17 hull started at around $750 million. Start there and go up. Then go look up the cost of a modern cruise fully tricked out.

          • Curtis Conway

            An LHD coming off the Line cost you nothing.

          • leesea

            Not so. First you are going to pay for the exisitng hull and All the associated engineering and logistics. Then you are going to pay for the engineering revisions which can run up to $10 million between design and manufacturing work.
            All change cost time and money

          • Curtis Conway

            You are not buying a NEW SHIP. You are CHANGING AN EXISTING PLATFORM. Sure it cost money and time . . . what doesn’t? Then, what do you have. If YOU want a big flight deck ? . . hey, I’m trying to help you out here.

          • leesea

            so what when a ship design is changed their is re-engineering to be done, and then changes to the build process. All of that takes time and time is money.

            Hence ALL changes cost money.

          • Curtis Conway

            True, and dismisses innovation all together. Have you even reviewed what the LHA/LHD already brings to the equation?

          • leesea

            like I said, the cost to bring anLHA/LHD up to Level III medical capability was estimated at $50 million per class.
            IOW how much many missions do the Marines want to build into a amphib warship that already costs Over a Billion Bucks?

          • Curtis Conway

            Fundamentally that is not the question addressed here. We are talking about an LHD coming out of service, and being refit/repurposed for HA/DR and Hospital Ship operations. You have a huge flight deck, well deck, and more berthing space than needed. The hospital spaces can grow, and there are provisions for vehicle entry on the sides are easy enough on the ship. It is a viable option, though expensive.

          • leesea

            ok I see now you meant repurposing a warship. First off the old big decks as are most amphibs are pretty well worn out by the time they are decommed. I know I surveyed two old Gators and the costs to run their old plants and get all the known deficiencies corrected would again cost a LOT of money.

            Second since they are warship designs there will be many modifications to their interior layout to anything like what a T-AH has. Which is much more than a amphib has.
            (have you been on a T-AH or LPD-17 class?)

            I agree that the flight deck, and boats are needed. I will never accept the cost of a wet well to be worth its life cycle costs. Davits are cheaper. Slow landing craft are not needed, more like the MPF lighters which are designed for Lo/Lo.

            BTW the medical folks have some pretty specific rqmts for their spaces and gear these days.

          • Curtis Conway

            Never been on the Hope or Mercy. Saw one at a distance. I have been on all manner of surface combatant and amphibs. Ripping out knee knockers and revamping spaces on something nearly 1,000′ long would obviously be expensive, and many of those areas would be removed wholesale, and replaced with tailor maid spaces. AIMD and logistical support spaces for the AIRDET is already there. Engineering spaces would need a facelift, and new propulsion components installed for some items.

          • leesea

            Not AIMD, T-AH are basically mini-pads. Logistics is focused on handling patients. Whenever you talk about updating the propulsion plants especially of steam ships, your are in in to many millions $$

          • Curtis Conway

            I guess a future heavy nuke hull is out of the question for a hospital ship given some countries would not let it tie up in their ports. We have several new hulls needed for various missions, and a nuke would give them unlimited power and range. For HA/DR operations it could even provide Shore Power.

        • leesea

          Go read about the RFA Argus PCRS. Before looking at more Billion dollar hulls

        • leesea

          Curt see my note about. the Helo Deck and Reception area location is fine.
          The major design flaw on the T-AH was their inability to receive utility boats alongside. MSC has changed the cranes, changed the boats and done other fixes that make things work better. The HA/DR mission needs bigger flight deck, hangars and boats (other than lifeboats) in davits.

          Some of that also applies to Austal APH design

          • Curtis Conway

            Thanks for the input. Glad to hear Trauma Center – Flight Deck are more accessible to each other, as it should be. Expanding flight decks on the T-AH in its current hull configuration is probably not possible. That new T-AH flight deck should be able to recover multiple sorties simultaneously, some being heavy / tilt-rotor as well, which would influence spot. That requires a new platform. I would suggest the LPD-17 hull with the LHD-8 propulsion system. Keep the well deck, and jazz it up a bit for patient reception & transport. Some elevators in that area going to pre-op theater prep areas would be nice. If we get real carried away we can put moving walkway forward-to-Stbd and Aft-to-Port on that deck. Access to the pier for vehicles should be provided into the forward access of the well deck parking area on one side of the ship.

          • leesea

            The USN does NOT lead a billion dollar ship hull to fulfill its hospital ship rqmts. Are you believing Ingalls ads now?
            You should review the internal arrangement of the T-AH19 to understand why the docs like those.

      • leesea

        I believe the Navy’s idea is to get AWAY from using old slow T-AH19s. And the HSV hull can not provide the stable platform which a bigger ship can.

        • DaSaint

          Agree and disagree.

          • leesea

            read what CNO and admirals are saying

      • leesea

        You are Wrong about T-AH19 class, the helo deck was designed with casualty reception in mind. After being cleared on that level, there are elevators and even a spiral ramp going down to the ER.
        Speed only helps when there is some place to go to. Perhaps your are thinking of a land vehicle?

        • Curtis Conway

          The HSV has THAT solution too, on the stern STBD side. Wouldn’t work on a well deck equipped ship, but it would work well coming out the side of the ship to the pier.

          • leesea

            The stern quarter ramp would help loading patients etc on to an ambulance version IF the ship could get to a pier. My view is that most would come onboard from aircraft~

    • leesea

      Again hospital ships by international treaty can NOT be based on warship hulls. Not to mention, the USN does NOT need another Billion $$ ship

      • I’m not disagreeing with you, but which treaty?

        • Secundius

          Depends on the Source! The “Washington Treaty” of 1926, doesn’t all any arms of any kind being on Hospital Ships. While the “Hague Convention” of 1907, say that NO Medical Assistance to Military Wounded can be perform and that NO Military Personnel can be amongst the crew. AH-1, USS Relief, was the First Hospital Ship purpose built Hospital Ship from the Keel Up in 1921. The Judge Advocate General in 21 June 1921 called for a “Line” (i.e. US Navy) Officer to Command the Ship, which technically violates the Hague Convention…

          • leesea

            I believe the proper reference doc is the Hague Convention of 1904.
            Part of the reason for USNS hospital ships is they are placed in service with a CIVMAR master

        • Ed L

          The Washington Naval Treaty was thrown out by everyone in the 1930’s. The 111 year old Hague treaty is irevelant in the age if Air launch anti ship missiles, Cruise Missiles and Torpedoes that can be launched over 10 miles from a formation. But they can always be called a (PCRS) primary casualty receiving ship and put weapons on them. If you want a hospital ship then it never can steam in formation with warships. Otherwise during an attack the hospital ship will become the casualty

  • Why not just get a modified Mistrial class LHA and convert them to a Hospital ship

    • Scott Ferguson

      Because that’s a European designed assault ship….

    • leesea

      Why because the Mistral was originally a BPC and now an LHD and Neither are passenger ships which is what the T-AH are..
      Scott below also has a good reason.
      PICK the RIGHT TYPE SHIP FIRST

  • Phstok

    Have a committee of experts write specs for a specialized hospital ship, then have change orders one after another with everyone putting in their two-cents worth. Than have a mid-construction committee look at everything again. You’ll end up over-budget, late on delivery. Or buy a good-enough solution based on existing designs that can be fitted out with hospital kit.

  • Todd

    They need to follow the highly successful LCS model. Just think, we could get Lockmark to build a 40+ knot sea-frame, then fourteen years later they can start work on modules: such as X-ray module, surgery module, critical care module, doctor module, nurse module, etc. that way they can load the exact modules they’ll need for any situation, and after 20 years it’ll all be working great.

    • Secundius

      Or better yet the Gerald R. Ford model, that can’t even meet the Passable Operation Grade of 99.5% for it Aircraft Catapult Launching System. Current Percentage is a Low Bar of ~89.585%, which make her a ~$13.9-Billion USD, 110,000 ton failure and their building two more like her…

  • John B. Morgen

    Any new hospital ships (AH) should have a hangar deck, flight deck and dock well. The hull should be be over 700 feet, and must do 25 knots. Armor protection should designed into the ship for passive resistance.