Defense

August 23, 2013

Navy warships built in Wisconsin draw federal scrutiny

A federal watchdog agency is raising concerns over the U.S. Navy’s $40 billion littoral combat ship program, which supports more than 1,200 Wisconsin jobs and pumps millions of dollars into the state’s economy.

The Government Accountability Office recently released a report questioning whether the warships perform as expected. The report identified deficiencies with certain core systems and recommended that Congress consider restricting funding until the Navy completes further studies, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The Navy said it won’t back away from the program, which calls for 52 of the new high-speed warships over the next 15 years. Construction of the first 20 ships is being divided between Marinette Marine, based in Marinette, Wisc., and Austal USA, based in Mobile, Ala.

The program ran into early cost overruns that doubled the cost per ship. USS Freedom, Marinette’s first littoral ship, sustained a 6-inch crack in the hull and had problems with its jet propulsion system. A leaky seal also caused flooding inside the vessel.

Paul Francis, an official with the Government Accountability Office, recently testified before a House subcommittee that the Navy doesn’t know how well the ships will perform their missions or how much it will cost to equip and support the ships.

Marinette, which builds its ships under a contract with Lockheed Martin, said some of the cost overruns and mechanical problems with USS Freedom were to be expected for a ship that’s the first of its kind.

Joe North, vice president of the littoral program at Lockheed Martin, said about 80 percent of the improvements the Navy wanted following the Freedom’s problems have been included in the construction of its next ship.

“I can’t speculate on what Congress might decide to do or not do, but we are going to deliver ships as promised and continue to make improvements and increase efficiencies,” North said.

Gov. Scott Walker recently wrote a letter to Wisconsin’s congressional delegation urging that the program not be canceled.

But one expert said it doesn’t make sense to keep pouring billions of dollars into a flawed program just because the initial investment was so high. Norman Polmar, who has advised three U.S. secretaries of the Navy, said the littoral combat ship was a great concept that’s been poorly executed.

“We should stop producing the ships right now, put the program on hold, and immediately convene an objective Navy and civilian review group to look at the whole program and decide what to do,” Polmar said.

The GAO’s report was released July 25.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis

F-35 program on right track, director says

Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., taxis to the runway for a training exercise at Nell...
 
 
Army photograph

Army plans intelligence system to be lighter weight, easier to use

Army photograph During a media day, a soldier, with the Army’s intelligence community, demonstrates use of a portion of the Distributed Common Ground System – Army system on Fort Belvoir, Va., May 16, 2013. Future v...
 
 
Navy photograph

Closing the curtain on NAVAIR’s desert depot

An MV-22 gets ready for takeoff following repair at NAVAIR’s Forward Deployed Combat Repair facility in Afghanistan. The FDCR mission ended in June 2014, and was primarily led by NAVAIR reservists with artisans from Fleet...
 

 
navy-F35

F-35C conducts first detachment visit at NAS Lemoore

Navy photograph Sailors and members of the community had the opportunity to observe an F-35C Lightning II aircraft static display at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., April 14. The static display is part of a six-day visit by ...
 
 
Artists rendering courtesy SikorskyBoeing

Army aviation continues efforts for technology development

Artists rendering courtesy Bell Helicopter The tiltrotor V-280 Valor aircraft is Bell Helicopter’s vision of the future as it prepares for flight demonstrations for the Army in 2017. The Army recently extended technology ...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Air Force announces KC-46A candidate bases

Courtesy photograph The KC-46A Pegasus development program completed its first flight of Engineering, Manufacturing and Development aircraft #1 Dec. 28, 2014. Air Force officials announced April 14 that Tinker Air Force Base, O...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>