Thursday, March 15, 2012

The FY13 Inactivation Schedule

From NAVADMIN 087/12

2. THE PROJECTED FY13 SHIP INACTIVATION SCHEDULE FOR INACTIVATING U.S. NAVAL VESSELS IS PROMULGATED AS FOLLOWS TO FACILITATE FLEET PLANNING EFFORTS TO CONDUCT A DECOMMISSIONING CONTINUOUS MAINTENANCE AVAILABILITY (CMAV) OR INACTIVATION AVAILABILITY (INAC):

SHIP NAME INACTIVATION POST DECOM STATUS
USS CROMMELIN (FFG 37) 31 OCT 2012 SEE NOTE 1
USS UNDERWOOD (FFG 36) 15 FEB 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS CURTS (FFG 38) 27 FEB 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS CARR (FFG 52) 15 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) 15 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 2
USS KLAKRING (FFG 42) 22 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS REUBEN JAMES (FFG 57) 30 AUG 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS COWPENS (CG 63) 31 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 3
USS ANZIO (CG 68) 31 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 3
USS VICKSBURG (CG 69) 31 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 3
USS PORT ROYAL (CG 73) 31 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 3

NOTE 1: VESSEL IS DESIGNATED FOR FOREIGN MILITARY SALE (FMS). PER REF A, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF NON-TRANSFERRABLE TECHNOLOGY IDENTIFIED BY NAVSEA AND NAVY IPO UNDER SEPCOR, NO ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT REMOVALS ARE AUTHORIZED ON THE FRIGATES EXCEPT AS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY OPNAV N8F IN RESPONSE TO A RECORD MESSAGE REQUEST THAT INCLUDES JUSTIFICATION FOR REMOVAL AND INCLUDES COORDINATION VIA THE APPROPRIATE SYSTEMS COMMAND. TYCOMS ARE REQUIRED TO ENSURE STRICT ADHERENCE TO THIS DIRECTION. PER REFS A AND B, IT IS NAVY POLICY THAT SHIPS DESIGNATED FOR FMS TRANSFER SHALL NOT BE STRIPPED. STRIPPING OF SHIPS PROVIDES DIMINISHED OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY TO MARITIME PARTNERS AND CORRODES OUR EFFORTS TO BUILD MARITIME PARTNER CAPACITY. SEE PARAGRAPH 3 FOR ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT REMOVAL GUIDANCE.

NOTE 2: DATE INACTIVATION BEGINS IN A NAVAL SHIPYARD AND THE UNIT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR OPERATIONAL TASKING. FINAL DECOMMISSIONING DATE SHALL BE REPORTED TO THE CNO AND NVR CUSTODIAN IAW REFS B AND C.

NOTE 3: VESSEL WILL BE DECOMMISSIONED AND DISPOSED OF BY DISMANTLEMENT. REQUEST USFFC AND CPF COORDINATE REQUIREMENTS FOR UTILIZING VESSELS IN A LOGISTIC SUPPORT STATUS PRIOR TO THEIR DISMANTLEMENT WITH OPNAV N8F VIA N86.

3. AN OPNAV WORKING GROUP WILL BE REVIEWING THE LOGISTICAL NEEDS OF THE NAVY AND THE CAPABILITY NEEDS OF OUR MARITIME PARTNERS. FLEET REPS, PROGRAM OFFICES, AND FMS STAKEHOLDERS WILL BE PROVIDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO JUSTIFY THEIR REQUIREMENTS FOR EQUIPMENT REMOVALS AND EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES TO MITIGATE IMPACT TO FLEET AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS AS PART OF THAT REVIEW. DETAILS OF THE WORKING GROUP FORUM WILL BE PROVIDED VIA SEPCOR.
Noteworthy the Navy is preparing to sell the Frigates, but is not going to sell the Cruisers. When I heard the Navy was going to decommission several Cruisers early, I was sure that meant they would be sold FMS. I guess not.

Basically, those 11 ships represents an entire Carrier Strike Group and more. That is a lot of capability to retire in a single fiscal year. Obviously the Navy has no choice with USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the ship is going to run out of nuclear fuel and at over 50 years old. Also noteworthy, USS Crommelin (FFG 37), USS Underwood (FFG 36), USS Curts (FG 38), USS Carr (FFG 52), and USS Klakring (FFG 42) will all be over 30 years old at retirement. The Oliver Hazard Perry class was built to serve 30 years, and that the ships made it truly is a reminder to the sturdy nature of the Perry class frigate. The USS Reuben James (FFG 57) will only be about 28.5 years old at retirement, and I am unsure why the ship is being retired before 30 years.

For me the Navy appears to have got their money's worth with the Enterprise and Perry frigates being retired next year. As for the cruisers, not so much...
  • USS Cowpens (CG 63) will be 24 years old at retirement. She is currently homeported in Yokosuka, Japan and should still have at least 11 good years in her. The ship was in a Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) maintenance period last month, and fields the AN/SPY-1B radar capable of being upgraded to the latest AEGIS ballistic missile defense baselines with the Cruiser modernization program.
  • USS Anzio (CG 68) will be around 22.4 years old at retirement. She is currently homeported in Norfolk, Virginia and should still have at least 13 good years in her. Also fielding the AN/SPY-1B radar, the ship was expected to be upgraded to a ballistic missile defense cruiser with the cruiser modernization program.
  • USS Vicksburg (CG 69) will be around 21.6 years old at retirement. She is currently homeported in Mayport, Florida and should still have at least 14 good years in her. USS Vicksburg (CG 69) departed with the USS Enterprise Strike Group this week on what is scheduled to be her last deployment. Also fielding the AN/SPY-1B radar, the ship was expected to be upgraded to a ballistic missile defense cruiser with the cruiser modernization program.
  • USS Port Royal (CG 73) will be around 20.3 years old at retirement. She is currently homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and should still have at least 15 good years in her. USS Port Royal (CG 73) ran aground in February 2009 and a great deal of money was spent repairing the ship over 7 months from the damage of that incident, and an additional $14 million was spent at the end of 2010 repairing cracks found in the ships hull. It is unclear if the ship is still suffering from serious problems related to that grounding incident, or simply a product of poor maintenance by the Navy. USS Port Royal (CG 73) is one of a handful of existing US Navy AEGIS Cruisers with Ballistic Missile Defense capability.
In my opinion, unless there are serious undisclosed material condition problems on these ships, this is a Bullshit Popsicle. The over 500 VLS cell missile capacity of these 4 warships exceed the combined missile capacity of the Royal Navy, the French Navy, the Italian Navy, the Spanish Navy, the Dutch Navy, the German Navy, the Turkish Navy, or the Danish Navy. These four ships are about equal in total missile capacity to the existing surface combatant force of the Royal Navy today.

These ships have a decade of life in them and were on the verge of modernization towards becoming four of the most powerful surface combatants in the history of naval warfare - all four for less than half a billion dollars. When the reality is the Navy couldn't spend 6x that much money to build even one of these ships new today, and all of these ships can serve at least a decade, the retirement of these ships at a time the Navy has scarce money for new ships, and is already short on capable warships, makes no sense at all to me.

I privately hope these ships are legitimate pieces of rusted crap behind the scenes, because if they aren't, the Navy is retiring good ships way too early. It would be a tragic waste of taxpayer investment if Congress allowed the Navy to throw taxpayer investment away so casually.

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