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USS Enterprise: Enterprise, Navy's First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier, Inactivated USS Enterprise: Past, Present And Future Carrier ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) leaves the Fleet, but the name lives on

 

... ritornerà

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, in a video played towards the end of the ceremony, announced that CVN 80, third ship of the new GERALD R. FORD-class carriers, will be named ENTERPRISE, thus becoming the ninth American naval ship to bear the name.

Under current construction schedules, the new ENTERPRISE won’t enter service until 2025, replacing the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69). See the bottom of this post for a peek at what’s to come.

 

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... il concept della futura USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 80) della classe "Ford"

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... manutenzione ... RCOH for CVN-72, USS Abraham Lincoln

 

Weapons.

Raytheon Technical Services LLC in Norfolk, VA receives a $7.2 million firm-fixed-price basic ordering agreement for engineering services, overhaul, repair and upgrade in support of the MK57 Mod 13, NATO Seasparrow surface missile system units on CVN 72, including associated test, ancillary and support equipment.

MK57 has two meanings in the USN. In this case, it means the NATO designation for the entire Seasparrow Fire Control System: the 8-box MK29 Launcher, the MK9 radar Tracker/Iluminator (TIS), and the MK73 Solid State Transmitter. The ship had used AIM-7P Sea Sparrow air defense missiles from its 2 mounted MK57 MOD 3s, but the completely redesigned RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile can be fired from the MK57 MOD 12+ systems after upgrades and replacements. ESSM is far more effective, and is the standard for Nimitz Class carriers going forward.

Work will be performed in Norfolk, VA (90%), and Chula Vista, CA (10%), and is expected to be complete by September 2014. All contract funds are committed at the time of award, which was not competitively procured since Raytheon is the only source for this equipment. The Port Hueneme Division of the US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, CA manages the contract (N00024-09-G-5422).

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Più denaro per meno navi If More Money Buys a Smaller Fleet, What Will Less Money Buy?

 

If numbers mean anything — and they do — we are headed in the wrong direction. Even if it is not President Obama’s conscious plan to shrink the Navy from its current number of 284 “battleforce” ships to 250, as Romney and his surrogates disingenuously charged, that shrinkage—perhaps more—is what is very likely to happen.

Keep in mind that since 2001, the Navy’s “base” budget (not including the additional amounts to fight the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere) increased dramatically. However, since 2001 the size of the Navy’s battlefleet shrank.

According to the Congressional Research Service, during the George W. Bush years (2001-2008), the fleet shrank 11% (from 316 ships to 282) as the Navy’s “base” (non-war) budget grew 51% in inflation-adjusted (“constant”) dollars. With continuing budget increases, Obama has managed to increase the fleet since 2008 by a grand total of two ships, to 284. These trends are longstanding: for decades, the unit-cost of ships growing at a rate higher than the budget has meant more money buys fewer ships.

Recent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the prospects for the Navy’s growing in the future are quite dim. CBO estimates that to implement the Navy’s current 30-year shipbuilding plan (to increase the fleet from 284 to the projected 310 to 316 warships) will require average annual spending of $22 billion, not the $17 billion the Navy estimates. However, even the Navy’s unrealistically-low projection is well above the $11 billion for shipbuilding in the Navy’s 2013 budget, or the $12 billion it plans to seek, on average, for the next five years.

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It is completely unrealistic to anticipate even the Navy’s low-ball future spending levels: No one is anticipating the kind of Pentagon spending increases these higher shipbuilding figures will require, and for naval shipbuilding even to retain its current level of spending, let alone increase, will require it to “eat” spending elsewhere in the Navy’s budget, or in one of the other military services’ budgets.

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The Navy also seeks increases in other parts of its own budget, especially in other forms of procurement, specifically for the F-35C fighter-bomber (which will cost multiples to buy and operate compared to existing F-18 aircraft). As the Pentagon’s and the Navy’s budgets shrink in the foreseeable future, the money for an expanded Navy is simply not there.

In October, Admiral Mark Ferguson, the vice chief of naval operations, testified to the inevitable naval force reductions; he estimated that the budget levels contemplated by the Budget Control Act’s sequestration—i.e. spending levels just nine percent below currently projected spending levels—could result in a fleet somewhere between 230-235 ships in about ten years. It is possible that Obama’s current budget negotiations with the Republicans on Capitol Hill may end up with a Pentagon budget not at low as that mandated by sequestration, at least for the short term. But spending levels even lower—over the longer term—are also highly possible. In any case, the major increases needed for achieving the Navy’s current shipbuilding plan are not going to materialize.

 

The Effect of Unaffordable Ships and Planning Gimmicks

CBO has testified that a realistic long-term inventory is somewhere between 170 and 270 ships, depending on the type of ships that the Navy seeks to buy. Considering the Navy’s strong preference for high-end ships, the potential for further cost growth and CBO’s substantially higher re-estimates, the number of actual ships is likely to be in the mid-to-lower parts of the 170-270 range.

For example, CBO estimates the new-generation aircraft carrier, CVN-78, to cost $14.2 billion, not the $13.1 billion the Navy projects; CBO projects the “Flight III” DDG-51 to cost $2.4 billion, not $2.2 billion, and another study found that CBO estimate may be $1.2 billion too low. Also, CBO estimates the existing Littoral Combat Ships to cost $770-800 million and the for total program average to be $500 million per ship; meanwhile the Navy projects a $440 million unit cost (all in constant dollars). The Navy’s habitual under-estimating its own costs simply means that still more money in the future can buy only fewer ships, and if costs are even higher than CBO’s estimate, which CBO says may happen, it all gets worse.

None of this is helped by the way the Navy bureaucracy games its own shipbuilding plans. For example, although the Navy reduced the number of ships in the 2013 30-year ship building plan, compared to the 2012 plan, the cost of the new—smaller—plan is actually higher (again in constant dollars): the Navy removed many lower cost ships and added higher cost ones, while reducing the total number only marginally.

In doing so it also dropped 24 logistics ships which it knows will have to be added back in later on, thereby insuring that the funds projected to complete the fleet are even more inadequate, and proving CBO was right to say that its own estimates may be too low.

In addition, the Navy arbitrarily assumed ships, such as destroyers, would have a lifespan of 40 years, rather than the 30 years that such combatants have typically served. Recently, the Navy has attempted to retire some ships even before 30 years.

Finally, to achieve its increased fleet, the Navy’s immediate plan is to decrease the number of ships built each year: with a plan that requires an average of nine ships to be built each year, the Navy plans to reduce the number of ships procured to seven in 2014 and eight in 2015. In as much as it is the near term budgets that are the ones that actually occur, the short term plan to reduce shipbuilding should be taken as prologue for the most likely budget future.

Put simply, the Navy’s under-estimates of its own costs, unrealistic projections of what money will be available, and shipbuilding plan gimmicks all add up to a fleet that will be declining in numbers, even with increased funding.

The precise size of the future fleet is unknown, but it is unreasonable to expect it to retain its current size. The shrinkage will be exacerbated if the Navy retains its multiple shipbuilding psychoses: the number of battleforce ships may tend toward the lesser numbers (approaching 170) that CBO has testified to.

In the likely event of less, not more, money, the negative trends will accelerate.

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... donne al comando First Qualified Female Submarine Officers Receive Dolphins

 

Three Sailors assigned to USS Maine (SSBN 741) and USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) became the first female unrestricted line officers to qualify in submarines Dec. 5.

Lt. j.g. Marquette Leveque, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., assigned to the Gold Crew of Wyoming, and Lt. j.g. Amber Cowan and Lt. j.g. Jennifer Noonan of Maine's Blue Crew received their submarine "dolphins" during separate ceremonies at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., and Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash.

In order to receive their dolphins, Leveque, Cowan and Noonan were required to qualify as Officer of the Deck and Engineering Officer of the Watch, perform damage control functions, and demonstrate satisfactory qualities of leadership.

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Is the Fleet Steaming Forward…Or Backward?

 

The prevailing wisdom holds that America’s smaller fleet is more capable than the U.S. Navy of yore because of higher capability per individual ship. It is a dangerous assumption.

To its credit, in 2010 the Navy completed a study of the surface fleet’s manning, training, and equipment readiness.

The Balisle Report was a brutal assessment: ship maintenance went underfunded for years; one-fifth of the fleet cannot pass inspections; aircraft and ships had junk as equipment and/or insufficient spare parts; fewer than one half of deployed combat aircraft are fully mission-capable at any given time; training throughout the surface fleet has been inadequate; ships are undermanned, and returning ships are cannibalized for parts to keep others running.

The fleet was in substantially worse shape than it was in 2001. A less-comprehensive report from GAO also identified some of these problems and trends.

The prospects of finding the money to address these shortfalls are bleak: the Navy plans to put its budget emphasis on new hardware, not maintenance, and is not even certain that the limited funds it does seek for maintenance will be available.

In 2012 the Navy claimed it had made progress in addressing the deficiencies. But one of its biggest defenders in Congress, Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., retorted that “the readiness trends for full-mission capability rates suggest less-than-satisfactory performance.” Vice Admiral William Burke admitted as much, saying, “I am concerned that we will not properly fund maintenance in the future.” Such worries will only be exacerbated as maintenance and training are further stressed with continued expanded deployments in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea and increased operations in the Pacific.

The Navy’s plans for future ships may exacerbate the negative readiness trends. In the face of too few qualified sailors for required maintenance at sea, the Navy plans to address this kind of problem with “smart ships,” such as the Littoral Combat Ship and Ford-class carriers, where technology, not people, provide the maintenance.

The idea is to save money by deploying smaller crews, but it may not pan out. Admiral James J. Shannon, commander of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, has told National Defense magazine:

 

We realized we went too far [with ‘smart ships’]. We need more sailors. We can’t handle maintenance, or watch standing…We are going to wrestle with that throughout my lifetime and the next generation.

 

There is also the survivability problem associated with smaller crews aboard the “smart ships.” If one considers the higher manpower needs of ships in combat for damage control, there may be yet another area where capability is going backwards.

The question isn’t whether the Navy will catch up with its readiness problems. Rather, it’s will they get even worse?

 

Are New Ships More Capable?

One needs to consider what additional capability individual new ships, even theoretically, bring to the fleet. In some respects, there may be no increase; in others there may be declines.

For example, both Navy and public sources estimate the number of aircraft and helicopters carried by both the older Nimitz and the new Ford-class of aircraft carriers to range from 60 to 90, depending on what is counted. Their complement of strike aircraft is commonly described as up to 60 aircraft. Clearly, the new (twice as expensive) Ford class brings no dramatic improvement in the major measure of merit for aircraft carriers: combat aircraft on board.

However, the new Ford class is said to be able to generate more sorties of aircraft per hour with its new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS). But it is not entirely clear it will work as designed while at sea, and looms as an issue of concern to the Pentagon’s weapons-testing chief. But there is a problem even if EMALS does work, and provides the marginal advantage of launching the same number of aircraft at a faster rate.

Stealth aircraft are notoriously bad at generating sorties. The F-117 was unable to fly more than 0.7 sorties per day in Operation Desert Storm, on average. The B-2 was reported to fly only once every five to seven days in the 1999 Kosovo air war, and while it has never seen combat, the F-22 flew less than eight hours per month, on average, in 2011. Even if the “stealthy” F-35C, the Navy’s version of the new Joint Strike Fighter, can improve on the F-22 for availability, it is highly-unlikely to be able to fly more than once every other day in any sustained combat.

The ability of Ford-class carriers to generate sorties with the F-35 is likely to be less than that today generated by Nimitz-class carriers with F-18s. Beyond that, with the F-35’s inability to bring any significant improvement in terms of range, payload and maneuverability, the F-35 is unlikely to produce any increase in per-sortie capability.

Worse appears to be the case for the Littoral Combat Ship. It clearly offers diminished capability compared to some other navies’ frigates, corvettes and even fast-attack boats, and it may be a step backward from the U.S. Navy’s own FFG-7 frigates.

Multiple news articles present a depressing picture of what the LCS is, and is not. The Pentagon’s own director of operational test and evaluation repeatedly termed the LCS and its systems “deficient” in his most recent assessment. He added: “LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.”

The new costly aircraft carriers, Flight III DDG-51 destroyers and Littoral Combat Ships represent the Navy’s vision of its future. It is an apparition that is unaffordable, unlikely to meet real threats at sea, and unable to dominate regional powers as thoroughly as some seem to assume in the “shallow waters” that Gates described.

While there are halting efforts in the Navy to produce the riverine and coastal-patrol combatants that are also needed for the littorals — and could address some of the deficiencies — such programs do not even rate mention in official shipbuilding plans or commanders’ descriptions of the Navy’s future. Indeed, when the budget pinches harder, they are likely to disappear altogether.

 

Conclusion

As pointed out in Part 1 of this series, the Navy is engaging in an unacknowledged program to shrink its own fleet, and as argued in part 2, it is not effectively addressing existing serious threats to its own ships.

Current plans for the future do not address these problems.

Even theoretically, there is little if any improvement to be found in new premium-priced ships like the Ford carriers and the Littoral Combat Ships. Given the still-declining material readiness in the existing surface fleet, the prospect is for general deterioration.

There’s scant chance of the required changes coming from the top.

Much has been made in Washington about a strategic “pivot” to Asia. The thinking is exemplified in an essay in Foreign Affairs magazine, “Strategy in a Time of Austerity,” by Andrew F. Krepinevich, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who now runs the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank.

The article is remarkable for its pervasive expectation of an era of open hostility with China, and a virtual second Cold War becoming the justification for a panoply of high-cost naval and air systems.

A second article, in Foreign Policy magazine, “Sea Change: The Navy Pivots to Asia,” by Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, offers some specifics about the kind of naval systems the “pivot” advocates seek.

Four priorities are listed for “new capabilities focused on Asia-Pacific challenges,” but they all amount to business as usual for shipbuilding, complemented by new bases and unmanned drones.

Threats from anti-ship missiles are addressed as if the needed defenses are fully in hand, and diesel-electric submarines, mines and riverine and coastal combatants are not even mentioned. The “pivot” appears as little more than a fulcrum to leverage more spending for business as usual.

If there is, indeed, to be an era of open hostility with China, the conventional wisdom to address it yields an inadequate—but very expensive—Navy. If the “pivot” is actually just a device to prompt more spending for favored systems, the Navy will remain vulnerable – at a high cost — to other threats that do exist.

In either case, the Navy is on the wrong heading.

When Mitt Romney attacked President Obama for permitting the fleet to decline to its 1917 size — and when Obama and his surrogates responded by insisting that modern capability more than makes up for smaller numbers — they both failed to acknowledge the disturbing trends inside the Navy.

Those trends — shrinking, inadequate forces at unaffordable prices — are replicated in each of the other military services. Our political and military leaders, alas, have chosen to ignore these problems. In fact, their willful ignorance will only make them worse.

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Austal delivers first Joint High Speed Vessel - USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1)

 

First JHSV officially delivered, three more under construction

The first Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), was officially delivered by Austal to the United States Navy on 5 December. The signing event was attended Craig Perciavalle, Sr. Vice President of Austal USA, representing the builder. The USNS Spearhead successfully completed Acceptance Trials in September and will sail away later this year.

Austal USA Interim President and Chief Financial Officer, Brian Leathers, had this to say regarding the delivery of Austal’s first JHSV: “The delivery of the USNS Spearhead is a significant achievement for Austal and adds to the rich history of Mobile as a hub of shipbuilding activity in the United States. Austal USA has delivered 12 ships in 11 years, certainly a major contributor to the shipbuilding legacy of Mobile, Alabama.”

The 103 metre (338 foot) long aluminium catamarans are designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable even in shallow waters, making them ideal for transporting troops and equipment quickly within a theater of operations. The ship has the ability to support a variety of operations, supporting the warfighter through traditional logistics missions, humanitarian support projects, disaster response or by supporting maritime law enforcement activities.

“This delivery underlines our position as a global defence prime contractor and continues Austal’s worldwide legacy as the premier provider of innovative, high-speed vessels, with capabilities to construct and support these and other vessels in a global market,” said Andrew Bellamy, Austal’s Chief Executive Officer.

Austal USA is a full-service shipyard offering design, construction and high-speed vessel service and repair. As Austal USA continues to expand its service and repair capabilities, the company is well-positioned for new business with engineering, test and trials capabilities, and a new waterfront facility on the Mobile Bay waterfront.

Austal is currently under contract with the US Navy to build nine 103-metre JHSVs under a 10-ship, US$1.6 billion contract and five 127-metre Independence-variant LCS class ships, four of which are a part of a 10-ship, US$3.5 billion contract.

For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. As the ship systems integrator, General Dynamics is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems including the combat system, networks, and seaframe control. General Dynamics’ proven open architecture approach allows for affordable and efficient capability growth as technologies develop.

 

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1st Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) delivered

 

USNS SPEARHEAD (JHSV 1), first of a planned 10 joint high speed vessels the U.S. Navy is buying for the Military Sealift Command (MSC), was delivered from Austal USA on Dec. 5.

Although the all-aluminum vessel completed its acceptance trials on Aug. 16, several delays — including the need to repaint the twin-hulled catamaran’s underbody – kept the vessel at the shipyard in Mobile, Ala. Now, according to MSC, the SPEARHEAD will carry out operational testing before heading to Little Creek, Va. and entering service by the end of this year.

The high-speed craft will be crewed by 22 civil service mariners working for MSC who will operate, navigate and maintain the ship.

 

A closeup of the all-aluminum catamaran seen in Mobile in early December. Anti-fouling paint is applied to the underwater portion of the vessel, but the hull above the waterline and superstructure are left unpainted.

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The JHSV's stern features a slewing vehicle ramp that connects to the vessel's vehicle deck. The JHSV design is based on similar Austal designs for commercial car and passenger ferries.

JHSV011211IMG_6182-sma.jpg

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Funding Spat Could Sink USN Virginia-Class Sub

 

The U.S. Navy wants it. Industry wants it. Democrats and Republicans want it. Appropriators and authorizers want it. Everybody, it seems, wants to put a second Virginia-class nuclear submarine back in the fiscal 2014 budget, keeping the service and its industrial suppliers on a two-boats-per-year building schedule.

But if an agreement isn’t reached before too long, a wonky, inside-the-Beltway disagreement on the kind of money used to pay for the sub could kill it, scuttled by an impasse over funding mechanisms.

All four lawmaking entities that oversee the U.S. Defense Department have addressed the absence of the sub, which the Navy cut from plans for 2014 and moved to 2018 for affordability reasons. Service leaders don’t object when the move is characterized as a calculated risk, with a reasonable chance that Congress — pleased and supportive about the overall Virginia-class program — would find some way to restore the boat.

And that they have. House and Senate authorizers and the Senate Appropriations Committee support paying for the sub in installments, called incremental funding. It’s a method frowned on by Congress and the White House.

But the scheme is commonly used to pay for very costly programs such as aircraft carriers and big-deck assault ships, and virtually all consumers know that paying for something on the installment plan is a way to make expensive items more affordable.

The Navy also supports the idea, even though objections continue at the Office of Management and Budget, the White House entity that oversees the executive budget process.

But House appropriators remain adamantly opposed to incremental funding for the submarine, using the oft-repeated argument that the method obligates future congresses to commit money to programs they may not agree with.

The House’s fiscal 2013 defense appropriations bill, approved in July, forbids the Navy from paying for the submarine incrementally. Instead, it defers a new auxiliary ship, provides an additional $723 million in advanced funding for the sub program — needed to buy long-lead items for the 2014 sub, such as the reduction gear — and directs the Navy to find full funding elsewhere for the additional 2014 boat, seeking savings within the existing nine-sub multiyear procurement plan.

But the deleted afloat forward staging base (AFSB) ship saves only $38 million, a pittance against the overall $2.6 billion cost of the submarine. And putting the burden back on the Navy to find more than $1.2 billion that would be needed for the sub in the 2014 budget only gets service planners back to square one, asking how to fit it all in.

“The Navy doesn’t have it,” one Pentagon source said of the chances of finding full funding.

The submarine, hull number SSN 793, will be the second unit in Block 4 of the Virginia-class program. If it were to be added to 2014, the nine-boat Block 4 group would grow to 10 vessels, and the Navy, according to a report by Congressional Research Service analyst Ron O’Rourke, estimates it would save $700 million over the 10-boat group through a variety of efficiency factors.

O’Rourke, in his report, noted that $700 million would be the equivalent of about 27 percent of the cost of a Virginia-class sub, making that much of an additional sub self-financing.

General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding share equally in building the submarines, with each shipyard building specific portions of the subs and alternating in final assembly. Work schedules are calculated years in advance, and while neither company would turn down additional work — a problem the yards would love to have — disruptions could occur as the second boat is squeezed back in, with possible cost ramifications.

“Shipyards plan pretty tight,” one industry analyst said. “Also, the delays change the cost — there’s a factor there.

“But,” the industry analyst added, “it still works out good because of the block buys.”

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USN Cruisers, Manpower Held in Limbo

 

A U.S. Navy move to decommission nine warships and save more than $4 billion over the next five years remained in abeyance as Congress wraps up its defense work for 2012, leaving service leaders to ponder how they’ll proceed should lawmakers keep most of the ships in service.

The moves were part of the Navy’s 2013 budget request, submitted last February. Under Pentagon pressure to reduce expenditures, the service wants to decommission seven of the Navy’s 22 guided-missile cruisers and two of 12 landing ship dock amphibious ships.

Four of the cruisers were to be decommissioned in March 2013: the Cowpens, Anzio, Vicksburg and Port Royal. Three other cruisers, the Gettysburg, Chosin and Hue City, along with the amphibious ships Whidbey Island and Tortuga, would go in fiscal 2014.

Not only would the Navy save the costs of maintaining, operating and upgrading the ships, but about 3,150 seagoing billets would be eliminated. Each cruiser has a crew of about 330 sailors, while the amphibs have crews of about 420.

But Congress balked, and both House and Senate defense authorization bills include language keeping the Navy from spending any money to decommission or inactivate eight of the nine ships.

The exception is the cruiser Port Royal, severely damaged after grounding on a reef outside the entrance to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 2009. The Navy spent more than $24 million to repair the ship, but problems persist. Now, despite being the newest Ticonderoga-class cruiser, the ship should be scrapped, all parties agree.

The Navy agreed in September to hold up the 2013 decommissionings pending a resolution with Congress. Both houses have passed an authorization bill keeping the ships running — a provision certain to survive House-Senate conference negotiations — but no appropriations bill has been passed, and most observers don’t see a spending bill happening until March, when the continuing resolution funding the government will expire.

 

 

... e Navy Accepts Delivery of Future USS Arlington

 

The Navy accepted delivery of the eighth LPD 17 class amphibious transport dock ship, the future USS Arlington (LPD 24), from Huntington Ingalls Industries Dec. 7. Accepting delivery of Arlington represents the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder to the Navy and is a major milestone in the ship's transition to operational status.

"This is the third San Antonio class ship to be delivered to the Navy within the last 12 months," said Capt. Darren Plath, LPD 17 class program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office for Ships. "It illustrates the significant efforts and teamwork of the shipbuilder and Navy team and provides the Fleet with three vital war-fighting assets in a one-year period."

San Antonio class ships are a key element of the Navy's seabase transformation. Functionally replacing more than 41 ships (LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113, and LST 1179 classes of amphibious ships), these ships provide the Navy and Marine Corps with modern platforms that are networked and survivable. Their principal mission is to deploy the combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades, projecting power ashore through the high speed landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22).

The LPD 17 class combines various unique systems with special emphasis on projecting combat power ashore, quality of life improvements for sailors and Marines and mission flexibility. Among the ships' innovations are state-of-the-art combat control and electronics systems; the Ship Self Defense System, which provides the key integration and control portion of the ship's total combat system, including sensors, weapons, data links and the Cooperative Engagement Capability; and the Shipboard Wide Area Network, a fiber-optic, ship-wide area computer network that includes both classified and unclassified components.

The ship is named for the county of Arlington, Va., honoring the first responders and the 184 victims who died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Steel recovered from the Pentagon will be displayed onboard once the ship is commissioned, which is planned for next spring in its homeport of Norfolk, Va.

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

 

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Edited by Andrea75
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... tagli in vista? U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Programs Steaming Ahead

 

A year ago, the long-term future of aircraft carriers appeared in doubt. With the emergence of strong performances by large-deck amphibious ships for carrier-like missions and the relatively large price tag for new carrier construction, many defense analysts were predicting a cut in the future carrier fleet.

 

Now, though, carrier programs are securely anchored in the Pentagon budget strategy — even with the threat of sequestration — and there is no more talk of reducing the fleet.

 

Not only did the U.S. Navy continue to fund and obligate more money for contracts and modifications related to the next-generation Ford-class carriers, but the service has also continued to stay on course for other major carrier programs such as overhaul work and an emerging new carrier business: deactivation of the nuclear-powered ships.

 

The aircraft carrier CVN-77 USS George H.W. Bush started sea trials this month for a 2013 deployment following the successful completion of a four-month planned incremental availability (PIA) period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY).

 

“After anything on the ship has been changed or added you have to go out and knock the rust off,” says Lt. Cmdr. John Fairweather. “It’s twofold. For one, sea trials are good to give the crew time to readjust to being out to sea. Secondly, because this class of ship gets the latest and greatest upgrades, we need to go out to make sure everything works and was installed correctly during the availability. It’s a good way to kick off the training cycle.”

 

Tests being conducted during sea trials include high-speed turns, aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) tests on the flight deck and hangar bays, sea and anchor testing, anchor drop testing and strainer runs.

 

Catapults, arresting gear, fueling hoses and pumps, and all other equipment is also being inspected and checked to ensure proper operation for the upcoming flight deck certification period in January.

 

“Sea trials are a critical step in getting [the] air department ready to support and host flight operations,” says the ship’s air boss, Cmdr. William E. Powers.

 

“Pushing the ship to its maximum capabilities is meant to put a lot of pressure on the system to ensure that those systems can withstand combat-like conditions and ensures we can meet and complete our mission,” Fairweather says.

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"... tagli in vista?" ....

 

Mah .... :hmm:/>/>

 

.... dalla lettura dell'intero articolo .... si direbbe l'esatto contrario ....

 

... hai ragione, mi sà che ho fatto una figuraccia :whistling:/>

 

Rimedio subito segnalando alcuni paper:

 

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

 

The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy’s shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years.

In February 2006, the Navy presented to Congress a goal of achieving and maintaining a fleet of 313 ships, consisting of certain types and quantities of ships. On March 28, 2012, the Department of Defense (DOD) submitted to Congress an FY2013 30-year (FY2013-FY2042) shipbuilding plan that includes a new goal for a fleet of about 310-316 ships. The Navy is conducting a force structure assessment, to be completed later this year, that could lead to a refinement of this 310- 316 ship plan.

The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget requests funding for the procurement of 10 new battle force ships (i.e., ships that count against the 310-316 ship goal). The 10 ships include one Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier, two Virginia-class attack submarines, two DDG-51 class Aegis destroyers, four Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), and one Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). These ships are all funded through the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy (SCN) account. The FY2013-FY2017 five-year shipbuilding plan contains a total of 41 ships—14 ships, or about 25%, less than the 55 ships in the FY2012 five-year (FY2012-FY2016) shipbuilding plan, and 16 ships, or about 28%, less than the 57 ships that were planned for FY2013-FY2017 under the FY2012 budget. Of the 16 ships no longer planned for FY2013-FY2017, 9 were eliminated from the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and 7 were deferred to years beyond FY2017. The nine ships that were eliminated were eight Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) and one TAGOS ocean surveillance ship. The seven ships deferred beyond FY2017 were one Virginia-class attack submarine, two LCSs, one LSD(X) amphibious ship, and three TAO(X) oilers. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget also proposes the early retirement of seven Aegis cruisers and the placement into Reduced Operating Status (ROS) of two LSD-type amphibious ships.

The Navy’s FY2013 30-year (FY2013-FY2042) shipbuilding plan, which was submitted to Congress on March 28, 2012 (more than a month after the submission of the FY2013 budget on

February 13, 2012), does not include enough ships to fully support all elements of the Navy’s 310-316 ship goal over the long run. The Navy projects that the fleet would remain below 310 ships during the entire 30-year period, and experience shortfalls at various points in ballistic missile submarines, cruisers-destroyers, attack submarines, and amphibious ships. The projected cruiser-destroyer and attack submarine shortfalls are smaller than they were projected to be under the FY2012 30-year (FY2012-FY2041) shipbuilding plan, due in part to a reduction in the cruiser-destroyer force-level goal and the insertion of additional destroyers and attack submarines into the FY2013 30-year plan.

In its July 2012 report on the cost of the FY2013 30-year shipbuilding plan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the plan would cost an average of $20.0 billion per year in constant FY2012 dollars to implement, or about 19% more than the Navy estimates. CBO’s estimate is about 11% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the first 10 years of the plan, about 13% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the second 10 years of the plan, and about 33% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the final 10 years of the plan. Some of the difference between CBO’s estimate and the Navy’s estimate, particularly in the latter years of the plan, is due to a difference between CBO and the Navy in how to treat inflation in Navy shipbuilding.

 

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress

 

CVN-78, CVN-79, and CVN-80 are the first three ships in the Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs). CVN-78 was procured in FY2008. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $12,323.2 million (i.e., about $12.3 billion) in then-year dollars. The ship received advance procurement funding in FY2001-FY2007 and was fully funded in FY2008-FY2011 using congressionally authorized four-year incremental funding. The Navy did not request any procurement funding for the ship in FY2012, and is not requesting any procurement funding for the ship in FY2013. The Navy plans to request $449 million in procurement funding

in FY2014 and $362 million in procurement funding in FY2015 for the ship to cover $811 million in cost growth on the ship.

CVN-79 is scheduled to be procured in FY2013. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget estimates CVN-79’s procurement cost at $11,411.0 million (i.e., about $11.4 billion) in then-year dollars, and requests $608.2 million in procurement funding for the ship. The ship received advance procurement funding in FY2007-FY2012, and the Navy wants to fully fund the ship in FY2013-FY2018 using six-year incremental funding. Current law authorizes the use of five-year incremental funding for procuring CVN-79 and CVN-80; the Navy is requesting Congress to

amend current law to authorize the use of six-year incremental funding for procuring CVN-79 and CVN-80. The FY2013 budget proposes to lengthen the construction period for the ship by two years, so that the ship is delivered in September 2022, rather than in September 2020, as projected under the FY2012 budget. Although the ship is being procured in FY2013, the new delivery date of September 2022 is what in the past might have been expected for a carrier procured in FY2015.

CVN-80 is scheduled to be procured in FY2018. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $13,874.2 million (i.e., about $13.9 billion) in then-year dollars.

Under the Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget, the ship is to receive advance procurement funding in FY2016-FY2017 and be fully funded in FY2018-FY2023 using six-year incremental funding. The FY2013 budget proposes to lengthen the construction period for the ship by two years, so that the ship is delivered in 2027, rather than in 2025, as projected under the FY2012 budget. Although the ship is being procured in FY2018, the new delivery date of 2027 is what in the past might have been expected for a carrier procured in FY2020.

The Navy states that lengthening the construction periods of CVNs 79 and 80 by two years will not temporarily reduce the carrier force to less than 11 ships, but will instead eliminate some instances of when the carrier force would have temporarily numbered 12 ships.

Oversight issues for Congress for the CVN-78 program include the following: cost growth in the program; where the estimated procurement costs of CVNs 78, 79, and 80 now stand in relation to the legislated procurement cost caps for the ships, and whether the cost caps should be amended; whether to approve the Navy’s request for using six-year incremental funding to procure CVN-79 and CVN-80; whether to procure CVN-79 and CVN-80 together in a two-ship block buy; and CVN-78 program issues that were raised in a December 2011 report from the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).

 

Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

 

The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget requests $564.9 million for continued research and development work on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohioclass SSBNs. The Ohio replacement program is also known as the SSBN(X) program.

Under the Navy’s FY2012 budget, the first Ohio replacement boat was scheduled to be procured in FY2019, and Ohio replacement boats were to enter service on a schedule that would maintain the Navy’s SSBN force at 12 boats. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget defers the procurement of the first Ohio replacement boat by two years, to FY2021. As a result of this deferment, the Navy’s SSBN force will drop to 11 or 10 boats for the period FY2029-FY2041.

The Navy in 2011 estimated the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the Ohio replacement program at $5.6 billion each in FY2010 dollars, and is working to reduce that figure to a target of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars. Even with this cost-reduction effort, observers are concerned about the impact the Ohio replacement program will have on the Navy’s ability to procure other types of ships at desired rates in the 2020s and early 2030s.

Potential oversight issues for Congress for the Ohio replacement program include the following:

• the reasons for deferring the start of SSBN(X) procurement by two years, to FY2021, the cost and operational impact of this decision, and whether it would be feasible and cost effective to restore the start of procurement to FY2019, as planned under the FY2012 budget;

• the plan to design the SSBN(X) with 16 SLBM tubes rather than 20;

• the likelihood that the Navy will be able to reduce the average procurement cost of boats 2-12 in the program to the target figure of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars;

• the accuracy of the Navy’s estimate of the procurement cost of each SSBN(X);

• the prospective affordability of the Ohio replacement program and its potential impact on funding available for other Navy shipbuilding programs; and

• the question of which shipyard or shipyards will build SSBN(X)s.

This report focuses on the Ohio replacement program as a Navy shipbuilding program. CRS Report RL33640, U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, by Amy F. Woolf, discusses the SSBN(X) as an element of future U.S. strategic nuclear forces in the context of strategic nuclear arms control agreements.

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Per carità .... :)

 

Consentimi però una brevissima considerazione .... è incredibile la quantità di documentazione che, ai giorni nostri, è possibile reperire sulla rete .... il vero problema è come si possa riuscire ad avere il tempo di leggerla ed assimilarla tutta ....

 

Comunque .... stai facendo un grande lavoro .... cosa di cui dovremmo esserti tutti grati .... :okok:

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Per carità .... :)/>

 

Consentimi però una brevissima considerazione .... è incredibile la quantità di documentazione che, ai giorni nostri, è possibile reperire sulla rete .... il vero problema è come si possa riuscire ad avere il tempo di leggerla ed assimilarla tutta ....

 

Comunque .... stai facendo un grande lavoro .... cosa di cui dovremmo esserti tutti grati .... :okok:/>

 

Ti ringrazio.

Sul tempo da dedicare alla lettura ... concordo con te. Il materiale è davvero molto e conoscere tutto in modo approfondito penso sia quasi impossibile. Io provo a segnalare tutto ciò che trovo interessante però (tempo tiranno) riesco ad approfondire solo una parte.

Per il resto confido nella competenza degli altri amici forumisti...

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Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Hits the 90 Percent Mark for Structural Completion

 

Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division has reached 90 percent structural completion in the building of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

Shipbuilders successfully added three units to the ship last week. Two of the units were sponsons, which are structures that project from the side of the aircraft carrier hull and provide the space needed for flight deck operations. One of the sponsons was 140 feet long and weighed 391 metric tons, making it one of the largest sponsons to be erected. In addition, shipbuilders installed 3 million feet of cable of the estimated total 10 million feet to be installed.

"The entire construction team has done a great job in reaching the 90 percent structural completion milestone," said Rolf Bartschi, NNS' vice president of CVN 78 carrier construction. "All of our shipbuilders take great pride in seeing the flight deck take shape and in the work they have accomplished to build the systems and spaces within the ship. The lifts we have accomplished are massive, which is in keeping with our larger-unit build strategy. Our electricians have installed 3 million feet of cable to date and install on average 10,000 feet of cable a day. Our shipbuilders continue to demonstrate their capabilities and commitment to a quality product."

Gerald R. Ford is being built using modular construction, a process where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form large structural units, equipment is installed, and the large units are lifted into the dry dock. Of the nearly 500 total structural lifts needed to complete the ship, 446 have been accomplished. The lifts are accomplished using the shipyard's 1,050-metric ton gantry crane, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

Gerald R. Ford represents the next-generation class of aircraft carriers. The first-in-class ship features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies and reduced manning. Ford has been under construction since November 2009. The ship is scheduled to launch in 2013.

 

17307.jpg

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... a casa per Natale Home for Christmas: 9 Flattops at Norfolk (con molte foto)

 

Home for Christmas: 9 Flattops at Norfolk naval base, December 20, 2012.

With the returns from deployment of the carrier DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER and her escorting cruiser HUE CITY on Dec. 19, and the amphibious ships IWO JIMA and NEW YORK on Dec. 20, the piers at Norfolk’s naval base are about as full up as they’ll ever be.

Five aircraft carriers, four big-deck amphibious assault ships, a full cast of “small boy” surface warships, along with nuclear submarines and support ships, are crowding the base, giving a comfortably snug feeling to the waterfront. Similar scenes — although not with the gathering of flattops seen here — are taking place at other fleet concentration areas like San Diego and Pearl Harbor.

The Navy makes a point of trying to gives its shipboard crews a chance to spend Christmas with their families, and for a few days the percentage of ships underway drops to the lowest point it will be all year. But many of these ships will be gone in two weeks as the pace of operations picks up again.

In a decade or so, scenes such as this at Norfolk could become quite rare, as the fleet is in the midst of a gradual shift from the Atlantic to Pacific. Within a few years, about sixty percent of the U.S. Navy’s ships will be homeported at a Pacific base – virtually a mirror image of the Cold War emphasis on the Atlantic.

 

Fleet-003-US-VA-Norfolk-20121220-N-ZN152-189.jpg

 

 

... sui battelli veloci http://www.navsea.navy.mil/NewsView.aspx?nw=NewsWires&id=151

 

la US Navy ha commissionato anche il decimo

Dec 20/12: JHSV 10. Austal USA in Mobile, AL receives a $166.9 million contract modification, exercising the construction option for JHSV 10. All contract funds are committed immediately.
Edited by Andrea75
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Navy Implements Changes to INSURV Program http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=71318

 

 

The president of the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) rolled out major changes to the frequency and grading method of the INSURV program effective Jan. 1.

Rear Adm. Robert Wray, INSURV president, said changes to the frequency of the inspections and the grading system were implemented to improve the readiness of Navy ships and crews and to provide Navy and congressional leaders with an accurate reflection of that readiness.

Under the old program, INSURV teams conducted exhaustive inspections and surveys of ships every five years and reported their material readiness to Congress. Now ships will be inspected about every 30 months.

"The Navy is always working to improve how we assess our ships. Over time, we came to the conclusion that ships aren't being looked at often enough to give leadership the readiness information we want, and to give ship's crews the practice they need to get through the inspections on their own," said Wray. "Hence the move to double the frequency of inspections."

Under the new inspection timeline, INSURV inspectors will conduct a traditional "Material Inspection" during a unit's Fleet Response Plan (FRP) cycle. In the alternating cycle, a similar inspection will be conducted by the unit's type commander with INSURV support.

The other notable change comes to the overall grading system. Previously, the program utilized a grading status of Satisfactory, Degraded or Unsatisfactory, which oversimplified inspection results with a coarse one-word descriptor attempting to describe a ship with nearly 200 sub-systems. The new system will use a more quantifiable INSURV "Figure of Merit," which is a weighted average of 30 scores used to provide a final grade and report on the overall readiness of a ship.

In the past, Sailors could spend up to two years preparing their ship for an INSURV inspection. "Come as you are" is one of the goals of the revised process.

It means that rather than exhaustively preparing for an INSURV, ships will prepare for deployment, and the INSURV process will measure their material condition as a part of that process.

Changes to the scope, breadth and rigor of the INSURV process have already been fully implemented.

 

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Per sapere come ci si sente ad essere il primo Comandante di Stormo Imbarcato a bordo di una super portaerei, di sesso femminile, basta guardare il volto del Capt. Sara "Battle Axe" Joyner, nel seguente link.

 

http://hamptonroads.com/2013/01/first-female-commander-carrier-air-wing-takes-reins

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La US Navy vuole che il 2013 sia l'anno delle armi laser ....

 

Navy Will Make 2013 Its Year of the Laser Gun ....

 

During a year of budget cuts that has the U.S. military freaking out, the Navy is improbably signaling it’ll take major steps forward on developing laser cannons.

 

Fonte .... http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/navy-2013-laser/

 

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Il 10 Aprile, la Stennis ha transitato nello stretto di Surigao nelle Filippine .....

 

 

Non riesco proprio ad immaginare dove stia andando .... :whistling:

 

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, consisting of Stennis, CVW-9, Destroyer Squadron 21 and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53), is forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility ....

 

 

Fonte .... http://fleetstandard.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/stennis-strike-group-operates-in-the-south-china-sea/

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