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.


 
 

 

DOD releases 2015 military pay, compensation rates

Dec. 22, the Department of Defense announced the 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members, with most service members receiving a one percent increase in basic pay. The new rates for basic pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence, and the cost of living allowance rates for the contiguous United States...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt.Luther Mitchell Jr.

Luke returns F-16Ds to flight after longeron repair

Air Force photograph by SSgt.Luther Mitchell Jr. Staff Sergeants James Bacallo, left, and Joseph Gallegos analyze blueprints for an F-16D Fighting Falcon canopy seal longeron repair Dec. 11, 2014, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. ...
 
 

AMC relocates KC-135 simulator

As Air Mobility Command fields the KC-46A Pegasus, displaced KC-135 Stratotanker pilot simulators will be relocated across the Total Force to maximize simulator access across the mobility enterprise. As a result, AMC, in coordination with the Air National Guard, recently identified four KC-135 pilot flight simulators and one KC-135 Boom Operator Weapons System Trainer to...
 

 

Two C-17 squadrons to be inactivated over next two years

Air Mobility Command will inactivate two C-17 Globemaster III squadrons during the next two years – one at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., and one at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – based on the President’s Defense Budget for fiscal year 2015. “In this fiscally constrained environment, we have to balance readiness, capability and capacity,” said Maj. Gen....
 
 

Hagel authorizes up to 1,300 additional troops to deploy to Iraq

Up to 1,300 more U.S. troops, including approximately 1,000 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, will begin to deploy to Iraq in late January, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Dec. 19. “Their mission will be to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces,” Kirby told reporters at a Pentagon briefing....
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 




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>