7 Aug 2017

OUT OF COMMISSION USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62) sits in Dry Dock 4 at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka, Japan, to continue minimal repairs and assess damage sustained from its June 17, 2017 collision with a merchant vessel While it’s too early to reach a complete repair estimate, several naval analysts believe a $500-million bill to fix to the warship was not out of the question. We think this estimate is well below the real cost; and that it will exceed $800 million; and ,that… is a significant expenditure and worthy of consideration..

BACKGROUND The June 17 collision of Fitzgerald and the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan resulted in the death of seven sailors, extensive damage to the hull, and damage to several high-end electronic systems, such as the integrated radio room on the ship and the starboard forward array of the ship’s A/N-SPY1D(v) air search radar.The port side of the flared bow of Crystal caved in the superstructure of the ship, crushing the radar face and twisting the metal of the superstructure.

US NAVY WANTS TO BRING THE USS FITZGERALD TO THE USA, WEST COAST FOR REPAIRS. That is current favorite option in US Navy leadership circles. A damage assessment on The USS Fitzgerald is ongoing, and an official estimate is still being developed. The Navy is also debating how to get the ship to the USA west coast. Under consideration is a heavy-lift transporting ship like the MV Blue Marlin, to what is now the Ingalls Shipbuilding yard in Pascagoula, Miss, where the USS Cole took two (2) years to repair.

THE PENTAGON COST ESTIMATE to repair the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) will easily exceed the $250 million the U.S. Navy paid to repair USS Cole (DDG-67) after it suffered a year 2000 terrorist attack in Yemen, Even a very preliminary repair cost for the USS Fitzgerald repairs will easily top $500 million. The biggest difference in cost will be the replacement and upgrading the electronics of USS Fitzgerald. In an apparent attempt by the Navy, to sweeten the deal to the Pentagon, the Navy is taking: “life cycle costing” into consideration. The USS Fitzgerald is an “Arleigh-Burke-class” destroyer, and was due for a $170-million basic hull, mechanical and engineering upgrade in Fiscal Year 2019. The upgrade was meant to extend the life of the hull by 10 to 15 years.

UPGRADE/MODERNIZATION COSTLY A significant added cost is the Navy’s desire to upgrade the damaged electronics to the new “Baseline 9” standard that allows warships to target both, ballistic missiles and traditional air borne threats. That upgrade /repair would add $270 million. In our opinion, the repairs/upgrades (if authorized) will exceed $800 million.

THE REPAIR SCHEDULE IS TILL VERY NEBULOUS. The Navy has said it was committed to repairing the ship. U.S. 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin told reporters on June 17, 2017:“The ship is salvageable.  It (the USS Fitzgerald) will require some significant repairs. You will see the USS Fitzgerald  back as one of our warships here. Repair time will take months,- hopefully under a year”.Dream on Vice Adm. Aucoin. We understand your desire to accentuate the positive; even after a fundamental naval tragedy in your command.

COST OF REPAIRS/UPGRADES Causes the Navy apprehension in difficult military money allocation times; Bryan Clark, naval analyst with Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said that based on photos of the damage published by the Navy, the costs to repair the ship would easily top the $250 million of the Cole repairs, and could even double that figure.“That makes the repair-plus-overhaul several times more expensive than originally planned. The problem will still be: what work won’t get done on other ships to pay for the repair?” Clark asked. “Does that mean two BMD modernizations don’t get done? If that’s the trade then it’s not worth it.” That may be the final word on this tragedy.

Our appreciation to Sam La Grone , editor of USNI News for his 27 Jul 2017 story.

Energymaters related article dated 25 Jun 2017 (2017-1)

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)



August 7, 2017 at 9:43 PM Comments (0)



THE FACTS: From Wikipedia)

About 1:30 a.m. on 17 June 2017, USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62) About 9,000 gross tons) collided with ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged container ship measured at 40,000 tons deadweight. Most of Fitzgerald‘s 200 crew were asleep at the time The collision occurred about 56 nautical miles  southwest of her homeport of Yokosuka, Japan.

The starboard (right) side of USS Fitzgerald was seriously damaged. The container ship’s bulbous bow penetrated the destroyer’s hull below the waterline, flooding a machinery space, the radio room, and two crew berthing spaces. The captain’s cabin was crushed Seven (7) crewmen were reported missing after the collision, and their bodies were found the next day after rescue workers gained access to flooded compartments Several others were injured, including the ship’s commanding officer and two sailors whom the Japanese evacuated by helicopter.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, commander of the US 7th Fleet, said that the Navy would conduct an investigation, led by a flag officer, to determine what happened and apportion responsibility, and a separate safety investigation to learn lessons from this incident. The US Coast Guard will conduct a marine casualty investigation, because there was a commercial ship involved.

PROBLEM WITH THE STORY AS TOLD SO FAR IS: How could a ship designed to be all eyes and ears against surface, undersea, and air attack could be surprised in “the middle of a clear night”. It begs the question: was someone asleep at the helm? -It certainly seems like it. What do the Captain (Cmdr. Bryce Benson – since May 13, 2017), and first officers offer for an explanation? It is probable that no (true and complete) public explanation will be given (in the name of national security), But an explanation of sorts to the American and Japanese public is necessary. The loss of seven sailors, and and two wounded, aboard the USS FITZGERALD is/sad reprehensible. As for the USS FITZGERALD, we believe at the end the day, the damage sustained by will deem it “a total loss” — Its back is broken. This 22 year old Destroyer ostensibly had been upgraded and modernized to serve it purpose in today’s high seas environment. BUT IT FAILED!;- AND THAT REQUIRES AN EXPLANATION AND CORRECTIVE/PUNITIVE ACTION TAKEN BY THE NAVY

HOW COULD A CARGO CONTAINER SHIP INFLICT SO MUCH DAMAGE? , The ACX CRYSTAL (Phillipine flag) Like most transporters of their kind, (40,000 ton class), have a huge torpedo like bulbous extension, underwater (for hydrodynamic gains and fuel burn improvement); that extends beyond the prow of the ship, and is well below the Transporter’s water line. It was this bulbous underwater protrusion that caused the most grievous damage, below the water line of the USS FITZGERALD, and probably broke its keel. We believe the USS FITZGERALD is toast. Its valuable gear will be removed / salvaged (This is a $1.4 Billion Dollar ship), and the hull dismantled/repaired. We recognize that, whether to repair the hull or scuttle it, is a Navy/US government prerogative yet to be made.

IN OTHER TIME/PLACE THE USS FITZGERALD TRAGEDY WOULD BE THE HEADLINE STORY here and in Japan. Given the GEO-political implications of this TRAGEDY (in the full sense of the word) the loss of life and materiel/cargo cannot be compared to the GEO-POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS/ RAMIFICATIONS of the FIASCO. The Trump Administration’s problems are minuscule compared to the USS FITZGERALD incident, and yet USA politics suck all the oxygen in the USA room.

THE PROBLEM WITH AMERICA’S MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND TV is that it continues to play the relatively small “human loss angle” with interviews of lost sailors’ relatives.; so; we the public may never know the truth.

AMERICAN POLITICIANS HAVE NO TIME/CONCERN YET; Politicians are primarily worried about their survival at next election time; THAT IS SELF-EVIDENT! Hell Trump is off golfing for the weekend as usual. It sure smacks of WWII de-je-vu (all over again).

THE GEO-POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS ARE: That this incident may be used by some Japanese militaristic groups (as happened in WWII) as a justification for an arms development expansion program coupled with a “Japanese self-protection armed forces with an “Expeditionary forces” mandate that in the end will benefit no one. The people of Japan have already made it abundantly plain to their government that they seek only peace, and that military action is forbidden by its Constitution. Only in Okinawa (bought by the blood of some 17,000 US Marines), are their citizens clamoring for the removal of all US Forces in the region; These at present, consist mainly of an airfield used by Ospreys, VTOL Aircraft, ostensibly there to provide first-responder assistance in a quake-prone region of Japan.

IN 1936  JAPAN WANTED PEACE At least Emperor Hirohito of Japan wanted peace, but his military did not (remember General Hideki Tojo); hence Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941.

In early 2017, Japanese emperor Hirohito retired as Emperor, bringing to an end the long Chrysanthemum Dynasty, and perhaps a portent of a coming war of terrible consequences in the Pacific. The USS FITZGERALD incident will, because of its GEO-political implications dwarf the USS PUEBLO SEIZURE (remember that N. Korea Fiasco). We hope we are wrong. Even so: WE TELL IT LIKE IT IS, or at least as we see it.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

P.S. We have had a long hiatus in this publication due to health issues, and dire Political involvement since the 2016 USA political campaign. We hope to publish at least once monthly from now on.



June 25, 2017 at 11:44 AM Comments (0)