Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Navy Plans To Scrap New Destroyer Model

By Associated PressThe Navy has decided to scrap its newest destroyer model after the first two are built in shipyards in Maine and Mississippi, Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday.
Sen. Collins, a Maine Republican, said Navy Secretary Donald Winter called her to tell her the outcome of a meeting of top brass regarding the future of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer.
Critics say the Zumwalt is too expensive for the Navy to achieve its goal of a 313-ship fleet.
The Navy has been debating whether to build more of the current, and less expensive, Arleigh Burke destroyers. A spokesperson for the Pentagon said it would have no immediate comment on its plans.
The Zumwalt was conceived as a stealth warship with massive firepower to pave the way for Marines to make their way ashore. It features advanced technology, composite materials, an unconventional wave-piercing hull and a smaller crew.
But the warship displaces 14,500 tons, making it 50% larger than Arleigh Burke destroyers. And each of the warships will cost twice the $1.3 billion that Arleigh Burkes cost.
Maine's Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics Corp. subsidiary, is building one of the ships. Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi is building the other.
The Senate has authorized funding for the third of what was supposed to be seven ships. But the House has balked at funding that ship, which would have been built in Bath.
Sen. Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Navy review of the Zumwalt was triggered by a decision by the committee's House counterpart to reject funding for the third ship.

It is a shame, but it was bound to happen in the world of shrinking budgets and cost overruns. We will keep building ships, but they won't be getting all the neat bells and whistles. The really loser in this are the Marines that will be hitting the beach without Naval Gunfire Support. The good news is that submarines built in Groton are being completed early and under cost, so we might luck into extra building. The sad news is that Newport News hasn't gotten the memo on doing things right and keeping costs under control.

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