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Interesting article about the cost of bringing back retired ships

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Interesting article.  There is a definite bias with the author however, against re-commissioning older ships. Not sure why he feels this way. 

If the ships are needed for national security or to address certain threats, recommissioning ships IS a viable option.

Example - if shooting war with NK occurs.  A single nuclear missile could take out an entire USN battlegroup.   Carrier, several cruisers and destroyers, support ships and possibly even the accompanying sub.  Those ships could not be replaced for 3-5 years minimum.  Longer for the carrier.

Repair parts can be manufactured by any company willing to spool up, the original manufacturer is not needed.  All the specs for any system/part is available in Harrisburg.  So worrying about original companies is not a concern.

Naval personnel to man and operate these ships is an issue, but not as great as he made it out to be.  Electrical systems are electrical systems.  Piping systems are piping systems etc etc.  Boilers, reactors, gas-turbines all operate using same principles regardless of ship type.  Retraining personnel or training new recruits on the systems is business as usual.

The FFGs and Sprucans were build in a fashion which allows modular upgrades, so new weapon systems can be installed over time.  There were tons of available space for new equipment on my DDG.  Sometimes when we upgraded a system, the old one took an entire rack, while the new system was no bigger than a modern server blade.

Another reason for decommissioning the relatively young FFGs, Aegis cruisers and Sprucans was politics.  Congressmen wanted to keep shipyards open in certain areas of the country.  To do this, they have to keep building new ships.  So the Navy willingly allowed the decommissioning of viable platforms in order to get shiny new ones.

My 2 cents anyway.  We should bring some of these good ships back into the fleet where they belong.

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28 minutes ago, SeaborneSumo said:

Interesting article.  There is a definite bias with the author however, against re-commissioning older ships. Not sure why he feels this way. 

 

I think his bias is that it would take the same amount of money to get new ships as it would to refurbish them.  

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Interesting article, I spent some time in the 80s on the New Jersey once it was upgraded - was useful in some things ( like shelling Beirut), but was very labor intensive.  Retrofit an old platform is expensive, usually just as much as replacement and many times the result is more problematic then a full replacement.  The number of ships required by the US Navy is always a debatable point and usually is dependent on the number of simultaneous conflicts you must support.  The capabilities of our Navy vs any other ( or multiple put together) is so far ahead, that I am not sure more is needed.  I think that more thought may need to be given on looking at the make up of today's Navy to ensure that platforms are still viable given developing technology.

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39 minutes ago, SeaborneSumo said:

Interesting article.  There is a definite bias with the author however, against re-commissioning older ships. Not sure why he feels this way. 

If the ships are needed for national security or to address certain threats, recommissioning ships IS a viable option.

Example - if shooting war with NK occurs.  A single nuclear missile could take out an entire USN battlegroup.   Carrier, several cruisers and destroyers, support ships and possibly even the accompanying sub.  Those ships could not be replaced for 3-5 years minimum.  Longer for the carrier.

Repair parts can be manufactured by any company willing to spool up, the original manufacturer is not needed.  All the specs for any system/part is available in Harrisburg.  So worrying about original companies is not a concern.

Naval personnel to man and operate these ships is an issue, but not as great as he made it out to be.  Electrical systems are electrical systems.  Piping systems are piping systems etc etc.  Boilers, reactors, gas-turbines all operate using same principles regardless of ship type.  Retraining personnel or training new recruits on the systems is business as usual.

The FFGs and Sprucans were build in a fashion which allows modular upgrades, so new weapon systems can be installed over time.  There were tons of available space for new equipment on my DDG.  Sometimes when we upgraded a system, the old one took an entire rack, while the new system was no bigger than a modern server blade.

Another reason for decommissioning the relatively young FFGs, Aegis cruisers and Sprucans was politics.  Congressmen wanted to keep shipyards open in certain areas of the country.  To do this, they have to keep building new ships.  So the Navy willingly allowed the decommissioning of viable platforms in order to get shiny new ones.

My 2 cents anyway.  We should bring some of these good ships back into the fleet where they belong.

If NK was even a threat.  If you want to invest in fighting them spend money on 10th fleet and let us handle it.

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1 hour ago, Panzer1113 said:

Interesting article, I spent some time in the 80s on the New Jersey once it was upgraded - was useful in some things ( like shelling Beirut), but was very labor intensive.  Retrofit an old platform is expensive, usually just as much as replacement and many times the result is more problematic then a full replacement.  The number of ships required by the US Navy is always a debatable point and usually is dependent on the number of simultaneous conflicts you must support.  The capabilities of our Navy vs any other ( or multiple put together) is so far ahead, that I am not sure more is needed.  I think that more thought may need to be given on looking at the make up of today's Navy to ensure that platforms are still viable given developing technology.

The way the navy is being run today, more ships are needed along with more sailors.

 

too few ships doing too much.

either cut back on the op tempo are bring in more ships and more sailors.

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Nuclear weapons are incredibly poor weapons to use against fleets.

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5 hours ago, Spooooooooooooooooooooon said:

Good god. Do you realize with OSHA and the amount of sailors/marines/contractors(actually the disability lawyers) that would just have a field day suing the government to get restitution and permanent disability if they were put on a ship with any asbestos anywhere. On the flip,  a major cost of refitting these ships would be  asbestos removal of which there is a huge racket of companies charging astronomical figures for asbestos abatement(abatement) supposedly justified by how  'Toxic" the stuff is(overstated [edited]), and how it should be  handled by OSHA regulations(more overdone [edited]). Even after removal lawyers would sue, claiming stray fibers will automatically be the cause of a host of medial issues, kind of like this whole second hand smoke scam/racket. So we (taxpayers) cannot win either way on this issue.

 

You get into older ships, they all used asbestos for insulation/fireproofing, the inflated costs of having it or removing it , can be considered a major factor in not renovating any ship built before around 1970-1980? Cheaper to just junk them and build new ships, IMO , rather than face the lawsuit lotto seeking or  overpriced abatement scams to rip-off the government /US taxpayers . Sure perfectly stupid to throwaway good warships rather than remodel them , but in the current throwaway culture , liability lawsuit/free money/risk free world culture that is the USA , that is what is is. Hell I think I wore asbestos pajamas as a kid and I wish they still made them   Now kids can wear nylon pajamas , which stick when they catch fire. Older is often better and doesn't wear out as quickly , but there are legions of slip and fall artists, lawyers,nutjob environmentalists, and corporations who have evil  financial interests against older things and methods.

 

Off the wall rant over :Smile_hiding:

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On 08/09/2017 at 3:16 PM, Spooooooooooooooooooooon said:

"such an undertaking is problematic and is not a good choice for increasing the size of the fleet in anything but a short-term assessment."

Short term assessments matter, the problem is keeping the current operational tempo now, not in 30 years. Unless the author assumes that USG and Congress can gracefully accept less FONOPs, less BMD DDGs forward deployed, etc. until enough new ships are provided.

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7 hours ago, RedBear87 said:

"such an undertaking is problematic and is not a good choice for increasing the size of the fleet in anything but a short-term assessment."

Short term assessments matter, the problem is keeping the current operational tempo now, not in 30 years. Unless the author assumes that USG and Congress can gracefully accept less FONOPs, less BMD DDGs forward deployed, etc. until enough new ships are provided.

I wouldn't do a lot of them, but to take over things like FONOPs and MIO duties a few older DDGs and FFGs would be more than capable for those roles even without modernization, and can relieve a good bit of pressure from the current fleet 

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On 9/8/2017 at 10:29 AM, Spooooooooooooooooooooon said:

I think his bias is that it would take the same amount of money to get new ships as it would to refurbish them.  

For some of the platforms it most certainly would NOT take as much money to refurbish than build new.  FFGs, DDGs, Aegis cruisers are a perfect example.  They wouldn't take the time or money to upgrade when compared to building a brand new ship from scratch.  

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Another use for some of the older multigun ships like the Spruance class would be to add NGFS capability to strike groups.

 

as well as patrol or escort vessels in areas that are expected to be lower intensity/threat areas.

 

for example escorting subs through suez, keeping an eye on Iran in the gulf (should a naval war over the SCS kick off.) and escorting military sealift vessels into the combat zone and then be joined by a more capable vessel.

 

even the old Adams class DDGs could be used in those kinds of roles.

 

 

obviously none of this is ideal, but  if you're going to look at reactivating old ships, you have to look at how they'll be used, and what roles they'll be most effective in.

Edited by JohnPJones

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Let's suppose limited conflict in the SCS pops off. China only targets valid USN ships on the high seas and only targets valid military targets in the region like bases in SK and Japan, but leaves places like Guam and all states alone.

 

OHPs can still do ASW patrols in the Indian Ocean and around the Philippines.

cruisers can be pulled to protect carriers due having more VLS cells, DDGs would protect the amphibs,with reactivated adams and spruances to provide NGFS during landings.

 

but this is all assuming no upgrades occur and reactivations are simply restoring the ships to the condition they were in when decommissioned 

 

edit

sorry really bored at work.

 

cheap and quick way to upgrade and reactivate ships for service.

 

charles f Adams class DDG

replace #2 turret with VLS the 32 cell option should fit, dedicate all cells to SAMs, because the ship already has an ASROC launcher and the mk11 missile turret was capable of firing harpoons, so dedicate that entirely to harpoons which would give it the greatest ASM capacity of any ship that I'm aware of. That should pretty much cover ASMs for the whole fleet just bringing  the 11 with double arm launchers.

 

the tico class cruisers are based off of if not use the same hull as the Spruance, so upgrading them to be very similar to the ticonderogas seems like an obvious given.

 

that way we quickly fill the fleet with a lot of ASMs and highly capable AAW and TLAM capable ships.

Edited by JohnPJones

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Would love to see an old ship being reinstated, would do wonders for morale to see a great beauty from the war basking in her retirement, but, I do understand the cost and areas of concern that come with old ships being restored. Health and safety would have an absolute field day with a ship riddled with all kinds of things that are no longer allowed eg asbestos, lead based paint.

 

Might be an idea to recreate a beloved ship though, similar style etc rather than resurrecting a zombie ship that needs a lot of maintenance. Though, as many of you have already said, if there was a  call to arms those babies would gladly sail into war for their country again 

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5 hours ago, WolfofWarship said:

Would love to see an old ship being reinstated, would do wonders for morale to see a great beauty from the war basking in her retirement, but, I do understand the cost and areas of concern that come with old ships being restored. Health and safety would have an absolute field day with a ship riddled with all kinds of things that are no longer allowed eg asbestos, lead based paint.

 

Might be an idea to recreate a beloved ship though, similar style etc rather than resurrecting a zombie ship that needs a lot of maintenance. Though, as many of you have already said, if there was a  call to arms those babies would gladly sail into war for their country again 

The problem is, only a few Perrys have any battle history worth remembering. This isn't like WW2 ships which almost all had a story to tell.

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There simply ain't the technical know how on the older mechanical/engineering, electrical, and hydraulic systems of these old ships to keep them operating or know the maintenance issues on these ships. Plus they were man-power intensive. You would be damning 10's of 1000's of sailors into basically dead end fields of expertise , besides just the sheer training time and expense involved.  Just consider the technical difference between cars of the 1940-1960's and now , except these are huge pieces of more complex era machinery , sitting in saltwater, and consider you'll need 10000-20000 trained in antique mechanics to even maybe have something work right , with out blowing up or catching on fire , or simply sit there not working at all . Plus old stuff is gonna need ALOT spare parts, OFTEN,  that are no longer made ,of specs no longer used, and even the machinery is gone to make them. 16 inch gun tubes,5/50  inch parts? LOL, New cartridges and projectiles? LOL , Analogue  dohickies? LOL, Vacuum tubes ? LOLx2

 

Old hot rods, firengines, 8 track players, battleships, are nice and all, but I don't think we can have 20% of our Navy and a whole host of factories stepping back 50 years to make them "roll' nowadays.  

Edited by Strachwitz666
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Honestly, there's no hope in rehabbing mothballed ships, for one reason:

When they "mothball" a ship, no one bothers to PAY to do routine maintenance. No maintenance, and it just sits and rusts. Everything decays, and it decays rapidly.

Plus, most of the ships put in mothballs are near their End Of Service Life anyway, where the mechanical stress on the ship makes them impossible to recondition anyway.

Honestly, apart from a couple of LPDs, everything put in storage in the last 20 years has been usable after 5 years.  We simply don't store it appropriately.

If we wanted to be able to keep using the stuff, putting it in the Reserve fleet and keeping them manned (at maybe 15%) is the only way to do that.

 

Honestly, the only thing in the past 40 years we should have properly mothballed was the Sprunaces, which still had 10+ years left on their service life when we started retiring them. They're also the only ships in recent memory that had sufficient space and flexibility to be upgraded effectively.  Everything else really either couldn't be upgraded (due to limited space and design), was patently obsolete (all the old gun cruisers), or would have better been served by putting it on low-routine Reserve duty (some of the LPD/LHDs/AK).

 

The Mothball fleet is a fiction - it's just junk that makes people feel like there's a fallback, when it's simply not serviceable at all.

 

Modern war is a Bring What You Got deal - there's not really any time to make anything more.  Only extended low-intensity conflicts like Iraq allow sufficient time to produce (or even recondition) more equipment, and in those, you don't NEED anything right away, since it's LOW INTENSITY.

High intensity warfare happens too fast, and is too destructive. It's Table Stakes, folks. That's the game. No going out for a break and coming back with more.   There's no reasonable scenario where we'd need a 40+ ship mothball fleet and have sufficient time to bring it back into service.

Edited by EAnybody

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6 hours ago, EAnybody said:

Honestly, there's no hope in rehabbing mothballed ships, for one reason:

When they "mothball" a ship, no one bothers to PAY to do routine maintenance. No maintenance, and it just sits and rusts. Everything decays, and it decays rapidly.

Plus, most of the ships put in mothballs are near their End Of Service Life anyway, where the mechanical stress on the ship makes them impossible to recondition anyway.

Honestly, apart from a couple of LPDs, everything put in storage in the last 20 years has been usable after 5 years.  We simply don't store it appropriately.

If we wanted to be able to keep using the stuff, putting it in the Reserve fleet and keeping them manned (at maybe 15%) is the only way to do that.

 

Honestly, the only thing in the past 40 years we should have properly mothballed was the Sprunaces, which still had 10+ years left on their service life when we started retiring them. They're also the only ships in recent memory that had sufficient space and flexibility to be upgraded effectively.  Everything else really either couldn't be upgraded (due to limited space and design), was patently obsolete (all the old gun cruisers), or would have better been served by putting it on low-routine Reserve duty (some of the LPD/LHDs/AK).

 

The Mothball fleet is a fiction - it's just junk that makes people feel like there's a fallback, when it's simply not serviceable at all.

 

Modern war is a Bring What You Got deal - there's not really any time to make anything more.  Only extended low-intensity conflicts like Iraq allow sufficient time to produce (or even recondition) more equipment, and in those, you don't NEED anything right away, since it's LOW INTENSITY.

High intensity warfare happens too fast, and is too destructive. It's Table Stakes, folks. That's the game. No going out for a break and coming back with more.   There's no reasonable scenario where we'd need a 40+ ship mothball fleet and have sufficient time to bring it back into service.

The Reserve Fleet is just a fancy name for Parts Ships. (Which is what they had been doing to the first retired Ticonderogas to service the active hulls.)

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Internal navy memo recommends against reactivating the Perry class frigates, it says additional funding, if available, should go to cruisers' life extension:

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2017/11/13/dont-reactivate-the-old-frigate-internal-us-navy-memo-recommends/

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On 11/11/2017 at 8:29 PM, TornadoADV said:

The Reserve Fleet is just a fancy name for Parts Ships. (Which is what they had been doing to the first retired Ticonderogas to service the active hulls.)

Can confirm. We stole, er, borrowed lots of small valves, pumps, and fittings from decommissioned CGN's before they were turned to razor blades. 

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9 hours ago, RedBear87 said:

Internal navy memo recommends against reactivating the Perry class frigates, it says additional funding, if available, should go to cruisers' life extension:

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2017/11/13/dont-reactivate-the-old-frigate-internal-us-navy-memo-recommends/

It's generally a terrible idea in the first place because you have alumnium superstructures bolted to steel hulls. As the USN says, the money is best spent elsewhere.

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12 hours ago, TornadoADV said:

It's generally a terrible idea in the first place because you have alumnium superstructures bolted to steel hulls. As the USN says, the money is best spent elsewhere.

The aluminium superstructure died a fairly quick death (until recently since I hear they are using Kevlar and even AL agin). 

There was a fire on a US frig/dd caused by a CV fire and then UK fires in the Falkland's, that had killed off that silly AL fad , back, by the 1980's, IIRC. And If you have ever seen AL tear/burn/melt(such as in US APC's like 113's) by shooting at it or colliding with steel with it ,you gotta wonder what they are thinking. Plus AL behaves horribly with sea-water and also that whole dissimilar metals thing.

Edited by Strachwitz666

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On 11/14/2017 at 10:13 AM, Strachwitz666 said:

The aluminium superstructure died a fairly quick death (until recently since I hear they are using Kevlar and even AL agin). 

There was a fire on a US frig/dd caused by a CV fire and then UK fires in the Falkland's, that had killed off that silly AL fad , back, by the 1980's, IIRC. And If you have ever seen AL tear/burn/melt(such as in US APC's like 113's) by shooting at it or colliding with steel with it ,you gotta wonder what they are thinking. Plus AL behaves horribly with sea-water and also that whole dissimilar metals thing.

 

USS Belknap ran into the USS Kennedy. Resulting fire melted her bride structure to the deck

USS_Belknap_collision_damage.jpg

 

USS Stark was hit by two Exocets, the second of which detonated.

 

1280px-USS_Stark_-_external_damage_by_ex

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Thank you. Actually , even though the Stark had an AL superstructure it looks as though it held up better than expected, but then agin a steel super-structure would have held up better than that, and the USN might have ended up with less dead/wounded  sailors after that incident. 

 

Guess  I could have gone into further detail about thing, and also that several of the UK fires in Falklands some ships were mis-attributed to have AL superstructures when they had steel ones(Sheffield). The AL problem was seen with fires on UK Type 21 frigates both during the war and elsewhere during the time of the Falklands war(Ardent, Amazon , et al). However still, the presence of Aluminium(UK sp LOL) is  still bad on ships, even if used sparingly, as AL will actually burn and worse, aluminum gives off toxic gases when burning. And ships built with AL and Iron alloys(on the same ship) will always have  durability problems and shorter lives because of inherent galvanic corrosion.

 

But yea, The USS Belknap was the premier incident that stopped the use of AL in building major ship components,  or should have, but as we see with that idiotic LCS, Santayana's quote about those who forget the past, is well nigh "natural law". And the older you get the more you see of it.

Edited by Strachwitz666

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