Friday, October 12, 2007

LCS draws blood

Here is a rather significant head on a Pike.
Delores Etter, the U.S. Navy’s senior acquisition official, submitted her resignation Oct. 5 after a year of turmoil and embarrassment over cost growth in one of the service’s most prominent shipbuilding programs.
And when you consider all the blood, treasure and integrity that was sacrificed to meet that goofy speed requirement - this makes sense.
Following a week of tests and inspections on LCS 1 in Marinette, reliable sources tell me that the Navy personnel taking part felt that the shipyard had done a superb job: all the problems are in the design. Despite the fire a few months ago, the mess decks and galley are apparently all fully and properly finished. Everything was exceptionally well laid out and organized. One quote was "Every US Navy ship should have cableways as well arranged and tightly run as this." The negative comments concerned the Engineering spaces, which were described as "a design nightmare", "far too crowded", "inexcusably badly designed", "providing insufficient work space", "cramming far too much stuff into every compartment" and "a maintenance nightmare". So who's responsible for this mess? Well, obviously not the shipyard. As everybody in the industry knows, our best second-tier shipyards, such as Marinette and Bollinger, are far superior to the big yards in terms of productivity, reliability and quality. The fact is that the LCS is a design screw-up: look no further for villains than the Navy itself, which, as usual, is trying to fit a quart into a pint pot; Lockheed Martin, which knows absolutely nothing about shipbuilding and never did; and Gibbs and Cox, who should be ashamed of themselves.
Hat tip Mike.

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