with all due respect guys, but phillbob makes a good point: if the USN can keep building it's main frontline combatand on the same hull for 30 years, why would they not do so with a tanker?
the differences in the hull are simple, only the environment rules (double hull required for tankers, mostly)(on tankers, double hulls actually are worse for safety). all other modernisations are in superstructure and accomodation layout, engines, (unmanned engine room), computers and possibly the propeller. so, why not start out with an existing, proven hull design and fit an all new superstructure on it? the ship is also build following civilian standards, and apart from the UNREP masts these ships have a lot in common with the tankers that sail around the world as we speak. so, keeping that in mind, no design would be that different from what they have now!
crew saving can be done in more ways then designing a new ship....... and on the crew there is, they save a lot because the sailors already know how to handle the ship. while an new design also has it's benefits, we can not (especially not without knowledge of changed requirements etc) condemn a vessel because it looks a lot like the earlier design.
EDIT: oh and colombamike, that french design is unrelated to the US competition - it is not a tanker/oiler (it can refuel but it is not purely an tanker, having repair, command, and solid stores replenishment capability equally promoted by DCNS) is too small (the USN requires at least 3 replenishment points per side), is probably built to military standards, looks armed, is thus probably military crewed, and it is designed and built outside the USA when half the point of the procurement is to keep both shipyards capable of both designing and building ships. Modularity also seems wasted on a single purpose ship that is going to be doing one thing its' entire life - the only advantage I can see of the 'Brave' design is the fact that it looks a lot more modern, which in this case has drawbacks for it actually being usable and acceptable to the people making the decisions on which ship to order
Drawings are credited with J.Scholtens
I ask of you to prove me wrong. Not say I am wrong, but prove it, because then I will have learned something new.