Anyway. Your "is it $225 million a copy or $400 million a copy...with or without weapons...with or without a mission-module" Little Crappy Ship, seems to have some challenges that, really shouldn't be a large issue if (1) you don't get shot at or catch on fire, or (2) your job involves regular and high price corrosion related repair. Not my words, but I like the questions....let's review:
70 man crew...and everyone, except for the CO (and XO I presume) will
hold dual billets. CMC will also stand bridge watches and be qualified in
Navigation. The supposed hook for the Dixie cups, is that they will make it
up the promotion list to Chief much much quicker...yeah, pull the other one.
The crew will still have to pull PMS and 3M, but other tasks (like
corrosion control, maintaining fittings) will all be done by "qualified
technicians (people like me, I suspect). Of course, this will mean higher
maintenance costs, especially since the Navy intends to dog the hell out of
these ships, utilizing a Blue/Gold concept.
The hull is HSLA-80 steel. I don't know if this is the same thing as
HY-80. If it is, again, more costs for welding. Hull thickness (except for
the bow, keel, plating around rudder, shafts will be 1/4". Superstructure is
Aluminum, with a bi-metallic welded datacouple (just like the Perrys). I
figure about 5 years into the life of these boats, from the time they start
lighting off the plant, we'll start seeing significant corrosion repairs.
The article also talked about some new high dollar welding process,
supposedly to provide high-quality welds with minimal distortion. I suspect
they were talking about a process I'm familiar with. Of course, one of the
photos they used, showed a welder grinding a weld...something you never do,
if the weld is sat. (He was looking in Surface Warfare magazine) And I thought the Navy bragged when they came out with
the Burke, "We learned our lesson with aluminum, never again!" And here they
HSLA-80 is a real crappy material. Very prone to cracking in stress areas. We've gone through some pain dealing
with it, cutting out whole sections of it and replacing it with DH-36, which
is an excellent high-yield, high stress-point material. The Navy did (at
least from the deckplate view of someone who has been working on ships since
the days of the Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Shangr-la, and cruisers like the
Dale) a real crappy job of design oversight. .... I'll predict right now, that before those Little Crappy
Ships get 3 years old, they'll start having material issues...serious
problems with the aluminum by 8, maybe 5 depending on thickness.