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Acceptance grows for
classification of combatants
Naval classification continues to evolve as both sides involved – navies
around the world and the classification societies that have entered this
arena – gain a better understanding of each other’s needs and capabilities.
n the USA, for example, the features of large and small vessels that unnecessary duplication of work and
relationship between the US Navy are unique to naval service. Those promote greater understanding
and ABS, has expanded to include rules must then be maintained and

Provide training on naval rules to naval
major warships as well as medium-sized updated to reflect the latest technology personnel, designers and shipyard staff
patrol vessels and fast patrol craft. associated with warships so that all organisations involved have a
“There has been a learning curve,”

Develop and train technical staff, thorough understanding of the Rules and
says ABS Vice President, Government engineers and surveyors, who are the applicable classification processes
Operations, Glenn Ashe. “But the progress responsible for verifying compliance

Continue to update technical criteria
is identifiable and the relationship with naval rules. Staff must be familiar in the Rules through a programme of
continues to strengthen. For example, the with the application of processes and focused research and development and
US Navy is now not only applying class procedures specifically developed for investigation of lessons learned and
standards to the design and construction naval vessels. In ABS, for example, system failures. At ABS, a dedicated
of increasingly sophisticated warships, the basic classification functions Naval Technical Committee has been
it is also retaining the vessels in class of plan approval and survey have established to help with the definition
once in service, maintaining them to the been specifically orientated to the and adoption of new Rule requirements.
applicable class rules and requirements requirements of the ABS Naval It includes representatives from
and subjecting them to class survey.” Vessel Rules the armed services, shipbuilders,
Ashe says there are five key elements

Establish clear roles and responsibilities equipment manufacturers, academia
that must be addressed if classification of for the naval organisations involved in and the principal naval architectural
naval vessels is to be successful: design, construction and operation firms involved in warship design in

Establish appropriate technical criteria of a new warship, the class society the USA.
– rules for naval vessels must address and the shipbuilder, in order to avoid
At ABS, the classification process for
a warship is basically the same as a
commercial ship in that design drawings
are reviewed and approved for conformance
with the applicable rules, and fabrication
of components and overall construction
of a ship are subject to survey to verify
that the approved drawings are followed
and required tests are witnessed. The
unique difference between a warship and
a commercial vessel is the vessel’s mission.
Inevitably, this results in a more complicated
design and fitting out process, and issues
relating to its signature, survivability and
ability to perform its mission.
“It is important for the class society to
start working with navy organisations as
early in the concept design stage as possible,
The role that class can play making warships – such as this LCS, classed by ABS – safer in order to correctly apply the right class
and more reliable is increasingly recognised. designation and notation for a particular
Warship Technology January 2009 29
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