Skip to comments.Navy: The Cruisers Must Go, That Others May Stay (BS: Without Aegis, Carriers Sunk By Silkworms)
Posted on 04/02/2012 4:12:57 PM PDT by MindBender26
The Navys proposal to decommission seven Aegis cruisers was an extremely difficult choice for us to make, but it must be done to protect what the Navy calls the wholeness of the rest of its fleet, top commanders told Congress Thursday.
Navy logistics and readiness boss Vice Adm. Bill Burke told a House Armed Services Committee panel that the surface force is banking on the money and sailors it would save from the ships going away along with its now-fully funded request for ship maintenance to help continue to dig the fleet out of its longstanding readiness problems.
The cruiser retirements were an extremely difficult choice for us to make, but our goal was to balance readiness, procurment and the personnel priorities within our budget controls to still meet global force management and avoid a hollow force, Burke said.
The Navy can free up about $4 billion by not keeping the ships, he said, even though they have 10 or even 15 years of life left and the Navys recent top goal has been squeezing the most good from everything in todays fleet. The ships need comprehensive upgrades and theyre suffering from the infamous cracks in their aluminum superstructures, so Burke said the brass had to swallow hard and let them go.
Hes not kidding: Although Secretary Panetta and other DoD-level officials have pooh-poohed the older, less-capable cruisers, these ships have long commanded a special status in the surface force. When certain kinds of Navy officers at desks in the Pentagon close their eyes for a moment of pause, they picture themselves on the bridge of a cruiser as the ship turns at high speed on a sunny afternoon off Southern California.
Virginia Republican Rep. Randy Forbes, who chaired Thursdays hearing, wants that daydream to remain a reality for six of the seven ships slated to go away. (Well get to the seventh in a moment.) He said his committee staff has calculated that it would cost about $592 million in FY 13 and $859 million in FY 14 to upgrade the six ships and keep them around for the rest of their service lives. Compare that against more than $2 billion for a single new destroyer and it seems like a no-brainer, he argued.
Maybe, Burke said, but he said Forbes estimates didnt cover the cost of operating the ships, or fielding helicopters with them, and said the bottom line was this: With seven fewer cruisers and fully funded maintenance budgets, the surface Navy could finally slay the readiness and maintenance demons that have been plaguing it for the past decade. He and Naval Sea Systems Command boss Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy said the fleet is turning the corner on its readiness problem, and deviating from the latest plans could throw a monkey wrench into that effort.
It was a terribly difficult choice, Burke said. We didnt want to make it. But in order to maintain readiness of all the forces we chose to decrement our Navy by a couple [of cruisers] If we didnt do this, if we kept too many, wed be under-maintaining all of them and wed end up down the road having a bigger problem than we have today.
As for the seventh ship, Thursdays hearing made clear that the poor cruiser USS Port Royal is a goner no matter what. Forbes estimates deliberately excluded the cost to upgrade it, and none of the Navy witnesses seemed to even consider keeping it around past its scheduled mothball date next year. The Port Royal ran hard aground off Honolulu in 2009 and its repairs cost the Navy tens of millions of dollars, but by all accounts, the ship has never been the same. As it sat stuck on the coral reef, the tide rocked and shook the cruiser and all of its onboard equipment, damaging it more than might have initially been apparent. The Port Royal eventually returned to service, but the Navys mothball decision and Thursdays hearing apparently confirmed the brass wants to just cut its losses.
The sad twist for the surface Navy taking Burke and McCoy at their word that its turning the corner is that even a smaller, better-maintained fleet still falls far short of the oft-discussed demand signal from the combatant commanders. Under questioning from Forbes, Burke said that it would take a fleet of 500 ships to meet the demand from the various military areas of operation around the world. If everything goes the Navys way, it hopes to build a fleet of 300 ships by 2019.
So its the old standoff: Will Congress ultimately force service officials to keep ships they dont want, having absorbed in this case the Navys years of arguments that quantity is a capability all its own? As we saw this week, lawmakers have asked the Pentagon not to implement any of its planned changes until the Hill gives its go-ahead, so there may be still more talk of keeping these once-prized warships the Navy says must go
You noticed that, huh?
And it's the manpower demands that are the US Navy's problem.
Back in the 17th Century when Samuel Pepys reorganised the Royal Navy he introduced the idea of rating ships into classes by crew size - even when that was changed to number of guns it amounted to much the same thing.
Now today Tico cruisers, Burke "destroyers" (and Burke derived ships of the Korean, Japanese navies) run 300-400 crew. Which isn't a pronlem for ROKN and JMSDF as they use these ships as cruisers.
There are actually destroyers these days - the large AAW "frigates" Spanish F-100, Dutch LFC, German F-124, Framco/Italian Horizon, and similarly sized British, Korean, Japanese ships actually called destroyers running crews of 200-250
Then these navies have actual frigates similar size but 150-200 crew, similar to the Perry's
Below them: "light frigates", 100-150 crew; corvettes with less combat capability and 50-100 crew
Below these surface combatants is the LCS 35-50 crew.
The future US Fleet: Cruisers and the LCS, Is everyone at BuShips completely stoned?
Thanks Army Air Corps
The list, Ping
Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list
I HAVE HAD A MINOR REVELATION...
How did President Reagan win the cold war against Russia?
To a certain extent, by out-spending them into oblivion. Their meager economy couldn’t keep up with let alone meet the challenge of the mighty US economy, when it came to spending on the US military and growing our military might.
Yes, we spent a ton of money - but it was cheaper than going to war with the Soviet Union. And the Soviet Union faded into the dustbins of history. (Let’s not discuss Russian resurgence for the moment...)
Obama is doing the inverse. He is spending the US into oblivion, and consequently hollowing out the mighty US military.
He is singly-handedly ending our unintentional US hegemony.
He is losing for us and our posterity, the uniqueness and gift to the world, from the founders, of the US and it’s ideals.
“What a maroon! What an ingoranimus!”
... to quote the great philopher and thinker, Bugs Bunny!
A philopher is a non-human philosopher.
I thought EVERYONE knew that!
Need: Ronald Reagan's and Sec. Lehman's 600-ship Navy.
Reality: Obama's 300-ship cripple job as he sets us up to lose a major war.
I think BuShips/NavShips and CNO are trying to get to some combination of ship types that will get the job done, even while assorted budget-cutters hand them their heads year after year.
The Bushy RiNO crowd, led by Poppy and Dick Cheney, want to cut and slash every year, so silver-haired ladies who are the core of the GOP can have more and more tax cuts.
The DemonRats want to cut the budget because they lust for a wet-dream total-war victory for international Communism over the hated USA, and they don't care if Russia or China does the honors, as long as we lose.
Easy to track too. 5 times a day they steady up on 090 true.
What should we expect when we elect a Communist traitor mole to be POTUS?
Mixed feelings. The Ticos never lived up to their promise and have suffered a nearly endless list of operational and maintenance problems. Word from the deck plates is that the class wavers on the edge of not being seaworthy nor having full weapons capabilities. For all practical purposes, the Burkes are in better shape and have nearly the same fighting capability. The real loss has been our virtual abanonment of ASW and AMW while third world maniacs have been slowly obtaining forth generation SSKs. If we do get into a Middle East war, the Navy is going to take some terrible damage.
They’re part of our anti-missle defense and therefore must go.
It all fits together with the Obama mindset.
Oh come on. The Burke’s have an excellent Aegis system, and will fill the Tico’s role just fine. There are no more massive fleets of Soviet ships to go up against, no waves of Backfire bombers with antiship missiles. Even if China went to war with us... which they aren’t... the Burkes could more than handle all of the missile threats. We’re hyperventilating for nothing here. Instead of crying about the Ticos, we should be asking the Navy why they aren’t building real frigates again instead of the disgraceful wastes that are the LCS program. THAT’s what you all should be getting your panties in a wad about. We’re buying lightly armed Coast Guard cutters for the Navy at Destroyer prices.
Yes, I think they are.
the only REAL deficiencies are:
1. A capable, combat Frigate of 4,000 tons.
2. An additional 40 or so small subs...even conventional. Yes we need the nuke subs for Blue Water...but for patrolling the South China Sea, the US Coast and the Persian Gulf? 2,000 tons of conventional boat is PLENTY for the job.
Maybe FY 14 but not the first round.
FY 2013 decommissioning schedule:
Oct. 31: frigate Crommelin
Feb. 15: frigate Underwood
Feb. 27: frigate Curts
March 15: carrier Enterprise
March 15: frigate Carr
March 22: frigate Klakring
March 31: cruisers Cowpens, Norfolk-based Anzio, Vicksburg and Port Royal
Aug. 30: frigate Reuben James
On a side note, I was a plankowner on Commelin (FFG-37). With her passing only one of the seven ships I was on from 1982-2006 will still be in commission.
I agree with both, except that anything ~4000 tons should be rated DDG or DLG ..... given the tonnage and the likely role, similar to the old Farragut class DLG's. With VLS and AEGIS they'd be capable of accompanying CBG's in places where FF's/FFG's can't go now because of lack of Aegis, or in some cases, removal of their old Standard launchers (which probably shouldn't have been done -- they can't defend themselves now against anything much more capable than a J-6 or an old Samlet).
Agree on the submarines. A lot of times, you don't need a Seawolf or even a Virginia, all you need is a nukey-boat (like the French Rubis design, which several years ago the Canadians were going to acquire and operate); and sometimes, you don't even need a nukey-boat, a leather-lunged conventional like the Kockums-designed HMAS Collins and her sisters will do, with their 50-day endurance rate. Even a lowly Scorpene ..... the Collinses have the same fire-control system the Virginias get, btw.
The Japanese have some great conventional-submarine designs with exotic batteries we might benefit from having a look at, too.
I counted up 71 Royal Navy light cruisers in the 3500-5000 tons' range (with a few over-7000-ton late-war experimental "big cruiser" examples) in the World War I edition of Jane's. The little ships were where it was at, although the battleships and battlecruisers got all the ink.
In fact, big armored cruisers, heavy cruisers if you will, were very few -- they put their budgets into smaller ships capable of lugging 4" - 6" batteries around the world at 28 knots.
Like land warfare in RVN, if I could see I could kill it