Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LPD-17: snake bit

After all the effort the Sailors of the USS SAN ANTONIO (LPD-17) to turn this Tiffany sow's ear into a deployable silk purse -- they deserve much better than this.
The amphibious transport dock San Antonio was scheduled to leave this morning on its maiden deployment but its departure has been postponed a day or two due to a mechanical problem with the stern gate, the Navy said.

The $1.8 billion ship – the namesake of a new class -- has been plagued by design and construction flaws since the beginning.

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.

The ship – also known by its hull number of LPD 17 – carries 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 pushed the price tag up significantly from the original cost of just over $800 million.

Initial inspections in 2005 revealed bad wiring, inadequate ventilation, corrosion and numerous other problems. After being unable to leave port for a sea trial in March 2007 due to a steering failure caused by an electronic malfunction, the ship underwent a $39 million overhaul of its computer network and electronics systems. The ship passed a second-chance trial last Thanksgiving and prepared to deploy this year.
So much hay could be made politically from this fraud, waste and abuse ... but ....

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