Monday, April 21, 2008

Touchy ... touchy ..

Remember the little point we made towards Timmy's snarky comments on LCS last week? -Well thanks to reader Mike, we see that within a day, a winded, breathless Shipmate came out to respond to the squeaking mice in the corner.
The U.S. Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) remains on track for delivery this summer, service and shipbuilder officials said, belying a blogger's claim that the ship will be a year late.

"We're on track for trials beginning in May. We're on track for a summer 2008 delivery," said Diana Massing, a spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin.
Joy - oh, joy!

I am also thinking about all the ships we built from 1940 to 1945 of every shape, mission and form. How we built the U-2, the SR-71 - heck, the first SSBNs. Then we have this itty-bitty ill-named corvette,
The Freedom is about 82 percent complete, Allison Stiller, the Navy's top shipbuilding official, told the U.S. Senate on April 8. "She'll go to builders' trials here in May."
Heh! LCS started as Streetfighter,
As of mid-2001 the Office of Naval Research was considering construction of a Littoral Combat Ship with a displacement of 500 to 600 tons. The LCS would have a draft of about three meters, an operational range of 4,000 nautical miles, and a maximum speed of 50-60 knots. The cost per ship might be at least $90 million.
Now we are over $500 million a hull - without any "mission modules" included. With a ship that has yet gone to sea.

LCS may make it to the Navy this summer - I think it will - but the core question is at what cost vs. what capability and bite out of the shipbuilding budget? Who is being held accountable beyond the token SES and Rear Admiral whose heads rolled last year? Lie about an affair 18 years ago like Stufflebeam - and get fired. Fudge to the American taxpayer and Congress - get promoted or your contract back.

And more importantly; yes - I am a little upset that Timmy got all the face time while Galrahn and myself are still in shadow....but I am petty like that. Anyway, it doesn't matter. It is amazing what you can get done, in this case awareness, if you don't care who gets credit.
The GAO report says the Navy expects the first two LCS to exceed their combined budget of $472 million by over 100 percent and anticipates lead ship delivery will occur nearly 18 months later than initially planned. As a result of these challenges, the Navy canceled construction of the third and fourth LCS and deferred construction of additional seaframes. The GAO report says the Navy plans to use funds previously appropriated for construction of the fifth and sixth LCS seaframes to pay for cost growth on the remaining two ships under contract.

All this led Rep. Gene Taylor (D.Miss.) Chairman of the House Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee to declare that LCS,
"will go into the textbooks to train future acquisition officials how not to run a program."
Ummmm, yep. Get the new RAND study here.

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