Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Burkes, what works, and planning for the future imperfect

There is a line in this article on the updates to the DDG-51 Class that is sublime in its importance and the story it tells.

I'm serious;
"If you look at one of the ships that have been through the HME modernization and look at one of its tanks and its bilges -- it looks like a ship that could last another 15 years."
Remember the movement to extend the service life well beyond 30 years? Well it won't happen by PPT alone. Hard, smart work needs to be done for decades.

This is a good quote too;
"A DDG 51 has got to be able to fight and withstand a reasonable amount of battle damage, so you need to keep up with things like corrosion, hull strength and paint,"
...
"Every year you have a ship out there is a significant investment in fuel, people and spare parts. What you want is to keep the ship combat relevant so it continues to be able to perform the full range of missions against all the modern threats throughout its life," Capt. Mark Vandroff, program manager for DDG 51 acquisition,
We can chat all we want about the hope of LCS one day finding something satisfactory for the Fleet. We can let some have fevered dreams of DDG-1000 doing ... whatever that rump of a program will be able to do. You can ignore economics, physics and politics and dream of platforms yet funded, much less at IOC ... all the while pretending we can conduct a 21st Century war at sea with late-20th Century 2nd class ASCM and a LWT magazine that .... well, you know.

The fact is that in the near to medium term - at least through the end of the 2020s, the backbone of the Fleet and the primary surface combatant giving Combatant Commanders' maritime component Commanders the ability will be the Burke Class.

Until then, as our defense budgets strain and non-warfighting needs still bloat ... we should all baby our Burkes - they are even more important to the future than they are now.

I sure hope we have taken better care of them than we did the SPRUCANS. We'll need every one.

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