Soon, everyone will be wearing funny hats. Welcome all, pull up a chair.
From Tim Colton's site last week, he's had enough; again.
WHY THEY HAVE THIS GEARBOX PROBLEMWhat amazes me is how many defenders this Class has. Yes, I know.
My sources tell me that this is the skinny on the LPD gearbox problem. Apparently some of the bolts used to install the gearboxes are loose bolts, although fitted bolts are required by the design. This was done simply because installing fitted bolts upward from the void space below the gearbox was too difficult. Unfortunately, the bolt holes were in way of the frames that support the gearbox, so production management decided to burn big notches in the frames, in order to provide access for installation of the loose bolts. These notches in the frames were never repaired and, since no one ever inspected the void spaces, the damage to the frames was never seen. The loose bolts are in the middle of the gearboxes and the fitted bolts are on the outside, so the area with the highest concentration of torque and thrust is not held in place with fitted bolts. As a result, the gearbox flexes. That's the story.
I'm just reporting what I've been told, but it rings true: Avondale has always had a reputation for corner-cutting. October 1, 2010.
ANOTHER REASON TO GET NG OUT OF SHIPBUILDING
Defense News reports that the Navy continues to have problems with the USS San Antonio, (LPD 17), the lead ship of this misbegotten class of ludicrously over-designed and unaffordable ships. Read the story here. This ship, which had a contract delivery date of June 2002 but was actually delivered in July 2005, has been a disaster from start to finish. It's astonishing to read now, in late 2010, that the reason the drive train vibrates is that "The foundation bolts were not properly aligned or tightened. The main reduction gear was not properly installed and checked out" according to ADM John Harvey, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Good grief! And will NG pay any penalty for this? Of course not. October 1, 2010.
As I said years ago, if we throw enough money and burn through enough Sailors, we can fix this Class of ships - but look at the cost.
I know a lot of people, including me, like to beat up on NAVSEA and SUPSHIPS - hey, everyone likes to tease the geeks, but in many respects they can only do what they can do with the personnel, structure, and resources they have. It isn't the people, it is leadership and their subordinates' reaction to the direction and guidance they get from the top; as it is in any organization.
Like we learned in MBA101 - you show me a company in trouble, and I'll show you a troubled leadership.
In the last decade, the fundamentals of shipbuilding has not been a priority. Just look at LCS, LPD-17, and DDG-1000. I hate to sound like a broken record - but facts need to be pounded and pounded until they sink in to the thickest of opaque egos.
Even our pal Gal over at InfoDis is showing the wear from the drip-drip-drip of fail.
Look where all the shortcuts got us - 5 years later. I'll be more impressed with the Navy's ability to manage large programs like shipbuilding when I start seeing more accountability among those leaders on shore. NAVSEA has apparently worked very hard in the 21st century to build a reputation that does not inspire confidence.Keep going up from NAVSEA my friend; keep going North. Get a SUPSHIPS manning document as ask what changes have been made over the last couple of decades. Look at all the money spent on SES at NAVSEA and what they have done during the last decade. Search "CNO Priority" on google.
Clues are everywhere.
Good leaders can fix this. We have a great Navy with great leaders. Great leaders need to be given the power to affect action though; if they choose the right actions to fix a challenge (see Blockbuster vs. NetFlix). We are close ... close, but will need to wait.