A Big Glass of Get Over It

Seriously.

DDG-1000.

The Navy has said it doesn’t want it. There you go. Commence the 400 Hz whine.

Exhibit A) letters like THIS from the Congressional folks who, when not spending every dime they can get their hands on, want to dictate to the Navy what they need.

Dear Secretary Gates

As you know, last year’s Department of Defense Appropriations Act provided partial funding for the third DDG-1000 and directed the Navy to budget for the remaining funding requirement in FY10. Congress expects the Navy to adhere to this direction; therefore, we write to urge your support for full funding of the DDG-1000 program in the FY10 President’s budget, and request that you continue a thorough and transparent review and evaluation of the Navy’s proposal to truncate the DDG-1000 program and restart DDG-51 production.

We remain very concerned about the Navy’s long-term shipbuilding plan. Despite several months of Congressional and Department of Defense requests for further analysis, the Navy has yet to provide sufficient justification in support of the proposal to truncate the DDG-1000 program and restart DDG-51 production. We continue to await an in-depth comparative analysis of the DDG-51 and DDG-1000. The Navy’s failure to provide such a detailed cost analysis strongly implies a lack of supporting documentation of the Navy’s position and undermines our confidence in the merits of the Navy’s plan to truncate the DDG-1000 program. Congress must have this information before acquiescing to a change of this magnitude.

Supporting the DDG-1000 program will enable the Navy to leverage $11 billion in already invested research and development funding. The ship has been designed with significant growth margins including power, cooling, space, and weight to enable rapid enhancements to meet evolving threats in the existing hull. We believe that continued production and delivery of DDG-1000 class destroyers is essential to the long-term stability of our shipbuilding program and the timely delivery of needed capabilities to the Navy.

With respect and appreciation, and thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

Edward M. Kennedy
Jack Reed
John F. Kerry
Sheldon Whitehouse
Nikki Tsongas
Patrick Kennedy
Michael Capuano
James McGovern
Michael Michaud
Paul Hodes
Richard Neal
James Langevin
Stephen Lynch

The thing that bugs me about this situation is that it is case in point as to why the shipbuilding program is not functioning well.

I know that people will say the Navy hasn’t gone through the correct procurement process to truncate DDG-1000 and re-start DDG-51. I’m not going to argue that. What I am going to argue is that the Navy should be dictating what we need. Not letting Congress, or worse the shipbuilders themselves, tell us what we need.

The fundamental basis for getting rid of DDG-1000 is that it DOESN’T do what we need it to. Shallow water ops? Check. Stealth? as long as its radars are off and no one looks out their window at the big friggin grey thing off the coast, Check. Capable of firing standard missiles needed for BMD? oops.

We already knew that the older, cheaper, Burke-class destroyers (pictured) are better able to fight off anti-ship missiles — widely considered the most deadly (and most obvious) hazard to the American fleet. Specifically, the old Burkes can shoot down those missiles using special SM-3 interceptors; the new DDG-1000 cannot.

I love this line, The ship has been designed with significant growth margins including power, cooling, space, and weight to enable rapid enhancements to meet evolving threats in the existing hull. . Spoken, we’ve been told there’s plenty of room on this bad boy to shove cool, new shit in there if we need it. The problem is, will that cool, new shit talk with the old, less-cool shit already on the ship or available in the Navy? For instance, DDG-1000 is a Raytheon project. So, if we build these ships and try to back-fit a BMD capability on it, will it be able to use the AEGIS algorithms, or will we have to start from the ground up to rebuild that superb radar capability? Seeing as how Raytheon allowing a Lockheed product into their golden is highly unlikely, I’m going to guess no. So how much is THAT going to cost the Navy? I imagine proponents will say, “It’s not necessary. It’s a STEALTH ship!!” Roger. So as long as it turns off it’s radars and ducks behind a bush, it won’t get hit. Assuming for a second that will even work, who’s protecting the other ships in the area in the meantime? Maybe the new cammie uniforms will protect the folks on the LCS. After all, it seems the idea is to hope the missiles are blind.

And speaking of room to shove stuff, since DDG-1000 is designed to operate in the shallow water, I’m guessing the draft isn’t that deep. So how much heavy equipment do you think you can add on before the weight balance gets completely out of wack. Next thing you know it’s sea state 2 and this thing flips over like a canoe of camp girls in Friday the 13th.

Back to the original point, when we let someone else dictate to us what we need, we get stuff we don’t want, don’t need, and a huge bill to go along with it. Can you imagine if the Air Force said, “You know, the F-16’s and 22’s are pretty effing sweet, we don’t need the JSF anymore so we’re backing out.” All hell would break loose because Congress and the Contractors have managed to get every screw on that plane manufactured in a different state.

Now, I’m not saying the Navy has gone about this thing the right way. Yes, we’ve stuck by our guns for YEARS on DDG-1000 and how it’s going to be awesome. Best thing since sliced bread. No doubt about it.

Problem is, we’re on Atkins(tm) now and bread sucks. Unfortunately, Congress gets votes from a lot of folks in the bread industry. So now they’re trying to cram some Italian Herbs and Cheese in our faces, regardless of what we say we need.

The Navy is trying to do the right thing here. They’re saying, “Hey, this thing isn’t going to do what we need, so we’re going to cut our losses and get what is useful.” After all, they haven’t been built yet.

Think about that last one.

Go ahead, I’ll let it sink in.

It hasn’t been built yet. Yes, you’re thinking right, as long as you’re thinking that every cost estimate for this ship is written in mud. Every “proven capability” claimed for this ship is crap, because it doesn’t exist.

I just wish everyone would roger up that the Navy knows best on how to fight at sea, get over the loss of contracts for DDG-1000 and instead figure out how to help build better, cheaper, more effective warship based on what the NAVY wants. After all, ships are ships, and if you’ve got something, anything, to build, you’ve got jobs.

So stop being part of the problem and be part of the solution.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Navy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Big Glass of Get Over It

  1. virgil xenophon says:

    GOD, although I’m Air Force, don’t get me started on this whole “stealth” ship thing. As you pointed out, on a dark and stormy night MAYBE it will slip by un-noticed, but how about the broad day-light.
    Hell, you can just fly over it with a Piper cub and a set of Mark I mod.1 eyeballs and drop satchel charges on it out the window–puulease!! And besides, I thought tests showed that the radar “glint” the ship provides a sea- skimmer to lock onto is better is better provided by a stationary, easily painted tgt, because either a maneuvering or stealthy (or both) ship provides an ever shifting radar glint which causes the missile to constantly shift around in tracking while trying to lock on–making it even harder to track & shoot down with Phalanx, missile, whatever. I thought tests showed a well-defined, stationary “glint” made for a stable, straight missile trajectory which meant an easier track & shoot-down solution. This would argue for a distinctly non-stealthy, dead-in-the-water vessel as the best defense after an attacking sea-skimmer has been launched. Am I right or wrong?

  2. fastnav says:

    I have to be honest here, I’m not sure about the specifics of radar glint on target homing.

    Off the cuff, I’d say that a moving ship when compared with the rate of speed that the missile is moving, is essentially stationary. It’s not like it’s a corvette out there spinning donuts.

    I’d also read somewhere that the “stealth” factor of DDG-1000 was only in certain bands of radar, so as long as the incoming missiles were those bands,I guess we’re good to go. 🙂

  3. SMS_Mike says:

    They teach us in the acquisition world, ‘don’t throw good money after bad’. Saying we’ve already spent $11 billion, so we gotta keep going, is exactly that.

    I’d say I’m surprised acquisition rules don’t apply to those who ultimately make the acquisition decisions (Congress), but I’m too cynical now to be surprised by anything Congress does.

  4. fastnav says:

    Mike, I’d say the problem isn’t their (Congress) understanding of acquisition rules.

    I think it’s the necessity of constituent votes to survive thats the problem. You cancel a DDG-1000, that’s an order that goes away. As far as Congress is concerned, that’s jobs that go away (and therefore votes).

    The thing they DON’T see is that ships are ships in the procurement world. As long as the compant is building ships, and ships, the people stay employed. So don’t let them build DDG-1000, let them build DDG-51’s (and eat cake) and everyone will be fine.

    Sometimes I think they can’t see that far.

    Or the 20 year old Congressional staffer who forms their opinion can’t see that far.

  5. GunDog15 says:

    “I just wish everyone would roger up that the Navy knows best on how to fight at sea, get over the loss of contracts for DDG-1000 and instead figure out how to help build better, cheaper, more effective warship based on what the NAVY wants.”

    That’s funny…wasn’t it the Navy, and not Congress or contractors, that wrote the DD 21/DD(X)/DDG 1000 Operational Requirements Document (ORD)? You’re spreading misinformation based on zero knowledge of the DDG 1000 technical requirements and design.

    The sad fact is that the CNO and the Navy doesn’t even know what they want anymore. I can recall the days when the two previous CNOs grandstanded for the DD21/DD(X) program. LCS was having all sorts of cost overrun problems (happens when construction starts without a final design) and the Navy wanted to shut it down for obvious reasons. Now suddenly LCS is the “future of the Navy” (according to the current CNO) and DDG 1000 is not???

  6. fastnav says:

    “That’s funny…wasn’t it the Navy, and not Congress or contractors, that wrote the DD 21/DD(X)/DDG 1000 Operational Requirements Document (ORD)? You’re spreading misinformation based on zero knowledge of the DDG 1000 technical requirements and design.”

    I fail to see how I’m spreading mis-information.

    The Navy did write the tech req’ts. And they have never said that DDG-1000 didn’t live up to what they asked it to do. They simply said that the ship was designed to do something they don’t need anymore.

    Much like the Seawolf Class submarines. Designed to fight a specific enemy, and by the time they came out that enemy was gone.

    And they’re not saying LCS is the future of the Navy. I think they’re saying “We don’t need Two different littoral capable ships when there’s a bigger threat out there we need to prepare for. So let’s keep LCS and can DDG-1000.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s