shipbuilding

The two variants of the Navy Littoral Combat Ship -- LCS-1 Freedom and LCS-2 Independence - side by side off the California coast.

CRYSTAL CITY: What’s in a frigate? That which we call a Littoral Combat Ship by any other name would smell as sweet — or stink as bad, according to LCS’s many critics. While LCS is being redesigned and renamed, there’s a lot of hard work and hard choices required to make the improvements real. Yesterday,… Keep reading →

USS Nautilus 60th anniversary cake IMG_1217

WASHINGTON NAVY YARD: One of the most secretive agencies in the Navy didn’t just invite reporters to its headquarters today: It offered them cookies and cake. The agency? The Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program. The occasion? The 60th anniversary of the first submarine ever to sail under nuclear power. But there’s a lot more going on… Keep reading →

USS Washington

Smooth sailing is not in the Navy’s forecast for the next year.The service faces big decisions on major programs, and we can expect clashes between Navy plans, congressional politics and budgetary realities on three of the biggest: the upgunned Littoral Combat Ship, the UCLASS armed drone, and the jewel in the Navy’s crown, the nuclear aircraft carrier. The… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine

WASHINGTON: The Navy rebuffed today a Congressional Budget Office estimate that the service is too optimistic about the cost of its new nuclear missile submarine. Still, whatever the final cost, it’s certain to be high — so high the Navy officially admits its own figures show the sub is unaffordable under current budget plans. In… Keep reading →

Greenert & Stackley w modified LCS pic IMG_0843

PENTAGON: The controversial Littoral Combat Ship dodged a big torpedo today, when outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved the Navy’s plan for a larger, better armed and better protected version of the ship. Critics had called for a radical redesign or an entirely new ship. The “modified LCS” simply adds new weapons, electronics, and armor to… Keep reading →

Fairbanks Morse builds diesel engines and generators for Navy ships such as the USS Arlington, shown here.

WASHINGTON: An obscure change in an arcane statute could open a major Navy contract to lower priced components from South Korea. But America’s last domestic manufacturer of ship-sized diesel engines, Fairbanks Morse, is fighting back. While a Navy spokesman told me the service has a plan to protect the industrial base — a major worry for the… Keep reading →

The $13 billion supercarrier USS Ford under construction in Newport News, Va.

WASHINGTON: Navy readiness won’t fully recover from the second-order effects of the 2013 sequester for another year, the Chief of Naval Operations said this morning — and if the Budget Control Act cuts (known as sequestration) return in full force for fiscal year 2016, the nation might lose two of its five remaining major shipyards.… Keep reading →

Gen. John Paxton, USMC

WASHINGTON: Even as the Navy pursues cheaper ships such as LCS and JHSV, the Marines’ message is: Amphibious Warships; Accept No Substitutes. There’s real interest and opportunity in non-traditional ways to deploy Marines, assistant commandant Gen. John Paxton said today, but a purpose-built amphibious ship remains the Marine’s top choice to go to war with. The Navy’s two… Keep reading →

Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics, & Technology (ATL)

[UPDATED with Hagel, Shaffer comments] NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: The four armed services only submitted their draft 2016 budgets to the Office of the Secretary of Defense “basically yesterday,” Undersecretary Frank Kendall said this morning — and he’s already “concerned.” As the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Kendall sees worrying signs. With the automatic budget cuts known as… Keep reading →

The amphibious ship USS San Antonio, LPD-17.

CAPITOL HILL: Sometimes $800 million is not enough. Congress really, really wants the Navy to buy a 12th San Antonio­-class amphibious warship. The Marine Corps really, really wants the ship, which would be designated LPD-28. And of course shipbuilder Huntington-Ingalls really, really wants the contract, which would help fill a multi-year gap in amphib construction.… Keep reading →

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