This is a devastating report the
It is not a new story. Lead ships of every class have challenges. What is telling about this is that LPD-17 is the first of the "new" wave of ships coming online that are supposed to "transform" the Navy. Untold thousands of PowerPoint manhours, Proceedings articles written, speeches given to Sailors, and testimony given to Congress about how this brave new LPD-17, DD(X), and LCS Navy was all new. All fresh. All modern. All efficient. All manpower saving. All force multiplier. All in line to give retiring senior officers jobs at .... ... wait. I didn't write that.
We are planning to spend huge chunks of taxpayer money on a fleet that is supposed to support our national goals. Cost per unit is critical as it will tell you how many ships you can buy; how many shipyards you can keep going to be there when - not if - the next major global conflict happens. And all of a suddent you have to flesh a 1st Fleet, a 4th Fleet, an 8th Fleet.....
Past is often prologue. What happens to LPD-17 should show us what is going to happen to DD(X) and LCS (BTW, LCS is a stupid thing to name a ship. Beltway bullshit. Call it a frigate or a corvette.)
All the PowerPoint briefs, FITREP bullets, and Miss Mary Sunshine briefs don't mean balls once the ship leaves the pier. Let's see what happened, and have a little tough love talk.
Two years late and more than $400 million over its original budget, (the Navy's newest) amphibious ship .... is plagued by bad wiring, inadequate ventilation, corrosion and an array of other problems that reflect “poor construction and craftsmanship standards,” according to Navy inspectors.Looks like the Shoes learned a few things from the MV-22 program, and here is why I say "No Excuses." We have already plowed and extra $400 million EXTRA into this ship on top of what was budgeted. This thing should smell like Lilly-of-the-Valley during sea trials. Every Sailors rack should have a built in DVD. Affectionate 19 yr old tri-athlete Swedish masseuses named Helga should be manning the rails. This ship shouldn't act like a Nigerian Navy cast-off.
The San Antonio, ... “is an incomplete ship,” the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey said.Not a good FITREP bullet.
“Safety deficiencies exist throughout,” the inspectors reported in a July 8 memo sent to the Navy’s top admiral ...Sounds like the folks that Personal Property hired to move my stuff last PCS also worked on the LPD-17. Here is a question at your next "Ask the Admiral" meet and greet; how many of these problems are going to be thrown on the back of Skippers and Sailors to fix, a la USS Kennedy, and then blame them when they can't get blood out of a turnip?
San Antonio is the first of 12 such ships the Navy has ordered to represent the future of amphibious warfare.
Inspectors found ladders that were improperly constructed or missing handrails, unventilated spaces housing toxic chemicals, a crash-prone engineering control system, and more than four dozen systems that must be re tested after the Navy takes charge of the ship.
Among the major problems cited by inspectors:This is a brand new, state of the art ship. New design technology, etc..... Are you seeing where I am going here? All the technology in the world is no good if you lack experienced and talented engineers and craftsmen to execute a design plan; and uniformed, accountable leaders that are making sure it happens and not just focus on "I'll let my relief handle that." Let's smell some more.
- “San Antonio will be plagued by electrical (and) electronic cable plant installation deficiencies throughout its entire service life if currently-planned corrective actions are not complete.”
- Poor wire installation and cable-pulling practices have led to a “snarled, over-packed, poorly-assembled and virtually uncorrectable electrical (and) electronic cable plant.”
- “Watertight integrity is compromised throughout the ship by numerous multi-cable transits that may never achieve watertightness.”
The eight-page memo reads like a failing report card, summarizing more than 15,000 deficiencies uncovered in sea trials conducted by shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in late June and during an in-port inspection by Navy officials that ended July 5.I respectfully request that it not be the later.
The inspectors said the Navy should accept the ship only if Northrop Grumman corrects a series of specific problems or the chief of naval operations decides to waive those shortcomings.
In the meantime, the report adds, the San Antonio “is not ready for the ship’s force to be moved aboard.”I want to play against NAVSEA's football team. Mmmmm. The playbook; "Up the middle, up the middle, up the middle, PUNT."
On some new ships, the crew takes up residence a year or more before delivery, so sailors have time to learn about ship systems and arrange their work and berthing spaces.
However, the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) [in a early WordPerfect, or was it WordStar, spell checker, it would recommend you spell NAVSEA NAUSEA], which is overseeing the program, said Tuesday that San Antonio’s crew could move onto the ship next month.
The ship is being built at Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.Great. The Navy's version of "Outcome Based Education" and "Social Promotion."
The company on Tuesday deferred questions about the inspectors’ report to Navy officials, but issued a statement that it is “proud of the skills and determination our workforce has demonstrated in completing this first-of-class ship.”
The statement added that new technologies being installed on the ship “have brought programmatic and budgetary challenges”BAWAAHHAHAH!! Read, "It doesn't work regardless of how much money we throw at it, and nothing is working like the builders said it would."
and linked problems in the ship’s wiring to design changes made after the start of construction.Skipper's heads on pikes and Sailors backs. That is what that means.
Meanwhile, NAVSEA officials said Tuesday they expect to receive authorization later this month to accept delivery of the ship. Problems not fixed by then will be addressed in a post-delivery maintenance period.
“Throughout the build process quality issues were identified, solutions determined and scheduled for accomplishment,” a NAVSEA statement said.Balloon juice.
The critical report on the San Antonio comes against a backdrop of congressional complaints about the Navy’s shipbuilding program, which is marked by rapidly increasing costs and producing too few ships to sustain the fleet at current levels.$1.7-3 billion is not a destroyer. It's something, but a destroyer isn't one. That is what you get when you put all your eggs in a pipedream PowerPoint basket. We did not go from the battleships of the
The House of Representatives voted in May to slap a $1.7 billion cost cap on each ship in the Navy’s DDX destroyer program; the service says the first ship in the series could cost more than $3 billion but that DDX is the proving ground for a new electric propulsion plant that will be applied in other ships and ultimately could power high-energy laser weapons.
At 684 feet and nearly 25,000 tons, the San Antonio is the first ship designed to accommodate the Marines’ new tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft, a new amphibious assault vehicle, the AAAV; and the landing craft air cushion, or LCAC .I want everyone to scroll up to the top of the page and look at that ship. Do you honestly think with this and next generation IR/EO/imaging radar and satellite ocean surveillance technology you are going to be able to hide this ship and the Expeditionary Strike Group is will be with? With a deck of MV-22 and assorted helos? Maybe older, simple radars. Me no thinky you buying all that much....especially when you don't have the fundamentals down right....like waterproofing and ventilation. But that's just me.
The ship – also known by its hull number of LPD-17 – is to carry a crew of 360, along with about 700 Marines.
While its keel was laid in December 2000 and delivery was scheduled for September 2003, funding delays and cost overruns have pushed the price tag from just over $800 million to around $1.3 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Navy said Tuesday the final cost of the ship, including expenses related to the design and to solving problems identified in the latest inspection, could reach $1.85 billion. The ship’s original price tag was about $830 million, although that figure did not include design costs.
The sea service expects to build 12 of the LPD-17 ships and plans to use them to replace four classes of transport ships now in the fleet. The new ships will be relatively lightly armed but were to be designed to evade detection by enemy radar.
Inspectors said cost cuts have forced elimination of some features intended to reduce the ship’s radar cross-section, however. And the ship now has a series of suspected radar “hot spots,” which could make it easier to locate, the report said.Duh. "We didn't put those in the initial design because they didn't look cool on the mock-up and we thought technology would "take care of that problem."
Still, early in the report the inspectors said the San Antonio “is a highly capable platform with great potential for future useful service to the fleet.”Ummmm, that DOES NOT read well on a FITREP.
And they added that it is not unusual, especially in the first ship of a class, to see shipbuilders facing significant challenges .Off to a great start I see. Here is what I would like to see briefed. Take all the officers CDR and above that have been involved in the LPD-17 and show me what their promotion track has been compared to those who were taking back to back sea duty. Just curious. Will anyone be fired? Will anyone be held accountable, or will the Navy go back to the taxpayer with our
But they also pointed out that of the 943 spaces in the ship, only 25 are accepted by the Navy and 286 are either not inspected or incomplete. The rest are in various stages of inspection.Nice. Room to grow then.
Inspectors also faulted Northrop Grumman for not providing enough training for the crew. Builders of the Ticonderoga cruiser class and the Arleigh Burke destroyer class of ships each provided at least 25 crew training courses at the shipyard.
Only six familiarization courses have been provided for San Antonio crew members, the report said.
How often in the last 5 years has a three or four-star made a trip to M-eye-crooked letter-crooked letter-eye-crooked letter-crooked letter-eye-humpback-humpback-eye without warning with only his Aide in tow, put on a set of coveralls, pop on a hard hat, put his maglite in his teeth and gone to get the ground truth? Watched the guys welding and pulling cable? Put on some civilian cloths and get a couple of beers on a Friday night at at bar the workmen hang out in? If you are a Shoe and do not know a good weld when you see one; do not know what a good cable pull should look like, don't understand ventilation systems, but you are on your third DC tour; use your AP on something else but ships. Can't we do better? Shouldn't we expect better? Just a question.
In the end, this will be a fine ship, but we are not doing things smarter, quicker, faster, better. We own Congress and the taxpayers better. As a professional group; shame on us.
(all this was written assuming that CBS had nothing to do with the memo that this article was written about)