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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 7/22/2008 5:30:14 PM EST
Another Seawolf? So what'll the "cheaper" replacement be?


DDG 1000 program will end at two ships

By Christopher P. Cavas - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Jul 22, 2008 19:28:29 EDT

The once-vaunted Zumwalt-class DDG 1000 advanced destroyer program — projected in the late 1990s to produce 32 new ships and subsequently downscaled to a seven-ship class — will instead turn out only two ships, according to highly-placed sources in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill.

Instead of more 1000s, the Navy will continue to build more Arleigh Burke-class DDG 51 destroyers, construction of which had been slated to end in 2012.

Top Navy and Pentagon brass met Tuesday to make the decision, which means the service will ask Congress to drop the request for the third ship in the 2009 defense budget and forego plans to ask for the remaining four ships.

Each of the two ships now under contract will be built, according to the new decision. That means the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine will build the Zumwalt, DDG 1000, and Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls yard in Pascagoula, Miss., will construct the yet-to-be-named DDG 1001.

According to sources, the Navy also considered canceling the second DDG 1000 and building just one, but potentially high cancellation costs led to the decision to keep the ship.

The reprogramming decision was made at a conference Tuesday hosted by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and attended by Navy Secretary Donald Winter, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and Pentagon acquisition chief John Young.

Officials were busy throughout the day and into the evening making personal phone calls to senators, congressmen and government and industry officials notifying them of the decision. Initial reaction on Capitol Hill seemed to be largely positive.

The move appears to be based on fears that potential cost overruns on the Zumwalts — estimated to cost about $3.3 billion for each of the two lead ships — could threaten other Navy shipbuilding programs. The service declined comment on the July 22 decision, but in a statement released July 17, Navy spokesman Lt. Clay Doss provided some insight.

“We need traction and stability in our combatant lines to reach 313 ships, and we should not raid the combatant line to fund other shipbuilding priorities,” Doss said. “Even if we did not receive funding for the DDG 1000 class beyond the first two ships, the technology embedded in DDG 1000 will advance the Navy’s future surface combatants.”

If the fears that rising costs could torpedo other new ships are indeed behind the decision, it is a tacit recognition that repeated warnings by budget experts from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Government Accountability Office that the ships face huge potential cost overruns — up to $5 billion each and more — were correct.

Ron O’Rourke of CRS testified March 14 before the House Seapower subcommittee that cost overruns on the first two ships could drive their combined cost to $10.2 billion — an increase of $3.9 billion. Using CBO’s figures, O’Rourke pointed out that the remaining five ships, projected by the Navy to cost about $12.8 billion, would likely jump about $8 billion.

“The combined cost growth for all seven ships would be roughly $11.8 billion in then-year dollars, which is a figure roughly comparable to the total amount of funding in Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy (SCN) appropriation account in certain recent years,” O’Rourke testified at the hearing.

Publicly the Navy has long resisted the notion of building more DDG 51s, noting no more of the ships were needed — the class had been planned to end with the 62nd ship — and significant improvements to the design were hard to come by. But in March acting Navy acquisition chief John Thackrah told an audience that the service was looking at working in to the design a new SPY-3 radar to replace the current SPY-1 Aegis arrays, and the Navy also has studied fitting the 155mm Advanced Gun System into the DDG 51 hull. Both systems are part of the DDG 1000 design.

While it is not clear how many more 51s will be built, all sides seem in agreement that the majority of the hulls will go to Bath, which builds only destroyers. Northrop’s Ingalls yard, in addition to destroyer construction, remains busy building three classes of amphibious ships and the Coast Guard’s new National Security Cutter, and is still working to rebuild its infrastructure following damage from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

“Bath will have to get the majority of these DDG 51s,” said one source familiar with the situation. “They won’t be able to go 50-50 with Pascagoula. Ingalls doesn’t have the work force right now and Bath needs them.”

Depending on the price of the new 51s, anywhere from 8 to 11 ships could be provided over the six-year future years defense plan. “They may continue to build these for the foreseeable future,” the source said. “Nothing wrong with the hull, that is a good ship.”
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 5:32:29 PM EST
Flight III Burkes.
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 5:59:40 PM EST
Well, we need some heavy duty Naval Gunfire. That's what this promised. So if they're gonna scrap it, they need to bring back the New Jersey.

16 inch rounds RULE! Nothing like a shell the size of a VW Bug going overhead to rain piss and brimstone down on your enemies!
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 6:02:05 PM EST
What about the DD(X) program? Is that something else?
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 6:04:19 PM EST
what fucking waste.. just like the raptor program and the f35 program.. if yooure gonna spend a shit ton on r&d... buy enough to make them worth it. just further proof of the spiral of death..
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 6:06:30 PM EST
Our navy keeps scaling back on new ships and can barely afford to maintain the ones it already has, the British navy doesn't even bother arming some of their ships in order to save money, and we've got presidential candidates who are literally foaming at the mouth to gut our military.

Meanwhile, Russia is commissioning new carriers and updating its fleet, China is recommissioning two old carriers and studying how to build more of their own and has already stolen Aegis technology to help them modernize their navy even further.

I figure in fifty years, Russia and China will have navies at least as good as the UK navy is right now, and ours will have slid downhill significantly.
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 6:08:24 PM EST
Who needs a military with Hope and Change?
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 6:11:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/22/2008 6:14:09 PM EST by Charging_Handle]
Sigh. Yet another weapon's system that gets canceled. How much money did we spend on this project that will net us a grand total of 2 ships?

I swear, sometimes I feel like bitch-slapping someone when it comes to defense projects. Just look at the billions of dollars we have wasted trying to develop shit that never goes anywhere. Just in the past few years alone, we've seen the Crusader get cut. Then the Comanche. The F-22 buy was slashed big time. Now this. And I am sure I am leaving out quite a few other projects.

Somewhere along the way, it would be nice to finally get something in return for these big money investments. Just imagine how much extra defense hardware we could possess right now if all the money we use to develop shit that never goes into production actually went for purchasing something we might use!

Don't get me wrong. I am all for developing new weapons systems. What I'm saying is that it would be nice to actually see more than 1 idea out of every 8 or 10 we spend billions to develop actually make it into service. Sometimes I have the feeling we are too ambitious when it comes to weapons programs. Instead of going for the base hit, we try to hit a grand slam on every project. Then it ends up way over cost, over budget, over complicated. Then after several years and billions of dollars in development, someone cancels it. What a fucking waste.
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