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)