The Washington Independent: A $50-Billion Warship Mystery

18.11.08

Categorie: Accountability, Industry, Naval |

There was tension in the House of Representatives hearing room July 31 as Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) called to order a meeting of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee. “This may very well be the most important hearing this subcommittee has held since our hearing last January on the procurement of Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles,” Taylor said.

The MRAPs he referred to are specialized armored vehicles designed to protect U.S. troops from roadside bombs in Iraq, the biggest killer of Americans. Since 2006, the Pentagon has spent more than $10 billion in a rush to buy the 15-ton vehicles, which have reportedly saved scores of American lives.

The subject of the July hearing — the topic that had Taylor and his fellow committee members on edge — was a multibillion-dollar warship program that was an order of magnitude more complex than MRAP, five times as expensive and potentially as important. It’s called the DDG-1000 Zumwalt, a ship class that the Navy had hailed as the linchpin of a new military strategy.

But after more than a decade of development at a cost of billions of dollars, the Navy announced in July that it no longer wanted the new ship. Problem was, the sea service couldn’t come up with a coherent reason why.

Read the whole story at The Washington Independent.

(Art: Northrop Grumman)

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5 Responses to “The Washington Independent: A $50-Billion Warship Mystery”

  1. [...] We found the like-minded and fearless at War is Boring. Don’t let the name fool you, this provocateur is anything but. It hits the high marks (or low points depending on your perspective). Its Nov. 18 offering takes aim at our whipping boy, DDG-1000, the Zumwalt Class guided-missile destroyer, highlighting this Flipped Ship to Nowhere for the $50 billion money pit it has been. This blog has some great subcategories. We like “Lies my Leaders told Me.” “Africa’s Annoying” also warmed out hearts. More on this blog and the prolific journalist who pounds it out later. (He’s even been to Chad.) [...]

  2. [...] Those four ships are: * The third and final DDG-1000 Zumwalt stealth land-attack destroyer, partially funded for this year * One modernized “Flight III” copy of the venerable DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class of destroyer, pictured, to be paid for in 2010 [...]

  3. [...] Last summer the U.S. Navy abruptly killed off its DDG-1000 stealth destroyer program, citing an unspecified new threat that rendered the near-shore battleship too vulnerable. That threat, it turns out, is a Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile. But how would China spot targets for notoriously inaccurate ballistic missiles? Feng at Information Dissemination translated some Chinese documents and came up with possible answers, including drones and satellites. [...]

  4. [...] * The Navy will end the over-budget presidential helicopter — truly a George W. Bush vanity project — and, on the shipbuilding side, finally kill the DDG-1000 stealth destroyer and delay the Ford-class aircraft carrier, which has serious design problems. The large-carrier fleet will shrink from 11 to 10, presumably to free funds for more numerous, smaller coastal ships. Notably, the 10-carrier force will remain by far the world’s most powerful concentration of deployable firepower. [...]

  5. [...] So you’ve spent years and billions of dollars designing a 14,000-ton stealthy battleship with enough on-board power generation to support an electromagnetic rail gun for attacking land targets. But history and reality intervene: the rail gun isn’t quite feasible and the shore-bombardment mission is waning. Then the Navy decides it can only afford three of the Zumwalt class of ships. [...]

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