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.


 
 

 

Headlines January 30, 2015

News: Taliban claims responsibility for attack on Americans at military base near airport - The Taliban claimed responsibility Jan. 30 for a shooting incident at a military base attached to Kabul’s international airport yesterday that killed three American civilian contractors and an Afghan national, saying the attacker had infiltrated the ranks of the security forces. Commission...
 
 

News Briefs January 30, 2015

Military judge weighs restrictions on Gitmo female guards A military judge is deciding whether to continue restricting the use of female guards at Guantanamo. Navy Capt. J. Kirk Waits heard closing arguments Jan. 29 at the base in Cuba during a pretrial hearing for Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. Waits didn’t say when he will rule. Hadi...
 
 
Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey

Cope South experts exchange knowledge, techniques

Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey TSgt. Sam Bishop, center left, and SSgt. Jeffrey Stephens discuss propeller maintenance with Bangladesh air force maintainers, from the 101st Special Flying Unit, during exercise Cope...
 

 

Air Force names 2-star to lead F-35 Integration Office

With the initial operating capability date of the F-35 Lightning II quickly approaching, the Air Force appointed Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian as the director of a larger Air Force F-35 Integration Office, Feb. 1. In addition to gaining new leadership, the F-35 Integration Office will also grow from a staff of four to 12 and...
 
 
boeing-ana2

Boeing announces ANA’s commitment to more jetliners

Airline continues fleet modernization with Boeing airplanes Boeing and All Nippon Airways announced Jan. 30 the airline’s intent to purchase three 787-10 Dreamliners to add additional flexibility to the airline’s 787 fleet....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

Air Force risks becoming too small to succeed under sequestration

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee Jan. 28, 2015, in Washington, D.C., as Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joesph F. Dunf...
 




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>