Monday, May 23, 2022

The Coming Burkopolypse

On yesterday's Midrats David Larter mentioned something in passing that I really had not pondered since he was still on the journalism gig in 2020

In a move with sweeping consequences for the U.S. Navy’s battle force, the service is canceling plans to add 10 years to the expected service lives of its stalwart destroyer fleet, a cost-savings measure that would almost certainly hamper plans to grow the size of the fleet.

In written testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Navy’s Assistant Secretary for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts said performing service life extensions on Burkes designed to bring them up from 35-year hull lives to 45 years was not cost-effective.

This little extra flavor to The Terrible 20s needs to be fleshed out a bit, as in 2022 we are close to coming to the Arleigh Burke cliff.

DDG-51 herself was commissioned in 1991. She will be 35 in 2026. That is just 4.5-yrs from now.

If we assume that +/- the Burkes do fall off at 35, and the below is roughly correct, what does that look like?

2026: 1

2027: 1

2028: 1

2029: 4

Then it really takes off;

2030: 6

2031: 5

We took a 5-year break from 2012-2017 as the DDG-1000 fever dream caused a Flight-IIA restart, and have been building 2-3 a year on average since.

I'm not sure - LCS aside - if we have ever been decommissioning a class of ships at the same time we are building them, but we soon will with Arleigh Burke. 

As discussed often here, the end of the 20s and the start of the 30s is when many consider there to be the greatest threat-window with China. That happens to overlap with our primary surface combatant decommissioning faster than they are being replaced.

It also points out that, indeed, where is DDG(X)? When is hull-1 expected to displace water?

As our LCS fleet is either decommissioned early or are speed limited due to this design flaw or another - where is FFG-62 and her sisters?

Pray for peace.

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