Here’s an interesting tidbit about Aegis cruiser maintenance and upgrades.
BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair, Norfolk, Virginia, is being awarded a $38.6M modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-11-C-4403) for USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55) fiscal 2015 extended docking selected restricted availability (ED-SRA). Work is expected to be completed by February 2016.
Remember that the Navy told us it would take 4 years to modernize an Aegis cruiser which is why they had to take 11 cruisers out of service? Well, here’s a significant maintenance and upgrade for an Aegis cruiser that is only going to cost $38.6M and be completed in less than seven months (it doesn’t say when the start date is).
To be fair, I don’t know what the complete scope of work is for either this availability or the Navy’s proposed four year modernization.
The other interesting aspect to this is that we often discuss modernization upgrades as a possible alternative to new construction. For example, what if the Perry’s had been upgraded instead of retired in favor of new LCSs? During these discussions, people often fling costs around with little or no supporting data – the costs, predictably, being either outrageously high or low as needed to support the position being argued.
I’d like to gather some supporting costs for those types of discussions. Of course, an Aegis cruiser ED-SRA is not an exact match for anything other than what it is. It is not, to use the previous example, an exact match for, and estimate of, the cost to modernize a Perry. Still, this is a pretty extensive piece of work on a pretty sophisticated ship and should, therefore, offer some insight into modernization costs. The next time someone argues for modernization and claims a cost of $10M, I’ll have data that suggests that’s not a realistic figure. Similarly, the next time someone argues against modernization and claims a cost of $750M, I’ll have data that suggests that’s not a realistic figure.
I’ll gather a few of these data points over time and across a range of upgrades and maintenance and see what kind of cost numbers are realistic. I’ll share them with you as I come across them.