Thursday, August 2, 2012

LSD Class Life Extensions

Well, here’s a bit of good news.  As reported by the Defense Industry Daily website (1), the Navy is performing mid-life extensions on the LSD-41/49 class amphibious ships and, in fact, has been doing so for several years.  These ships were commissioned between 1985-1998 and, with the extension, will serve until 2038.  Two ships per year are being upgraded with all modernizations scheduled to be completed by 2014.

LSD Class Upgrade - A Good Idea !

Costs for the upgrade appear to be quite reasonable by shipbuilding standards.  For example, USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) will be upgraded under a $115M contract.

The Navy should be doing far more upgrades instead of constantly wanting scrap perfectly usable ships to build ever more expensive new ones.  The Perry FFG class is a prime example.  The Navy made the conscious decision to forego maintenance and life extensions under the assumption that the LCS would be available to take over.  Of course, as it turned out, the LCS is not available in the anticipated numbers and has no capabilities.  Had the Navy extended the FFGs they would have capable ships for anti-piracy and Mid East merchant escort and patrol while buying time for the LCS program to get past its teething problems.

Let’s be fair and congratulate the Navy on a wise decision to extend the LSDs.

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