• Perceived combat threats and their concomitant vessel requirements are constantly changing, which poses a challenge to a 10- to 20-year design cycle for new technology integration on ships that often are expected to last 40 years.
  • The design process for U.S. Navy ships is extremely risk averse, with little reward for performance improvement and extreme financial penalties for structural failures.
  • Many factors—the difficulty of anticipating future threats, the limitations of cost models, and the desire to keep costs down in the near term—make it extremely difficult to buy ships based on life-cycle considerations.
  • By virtue of their size, large ships put a premium on material cost and joining technology.
  • Lightweighting technologies are generally developed on smaller craft (often recreational racing boats) that have shorter development cycles and place a premium on performance.

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