We’ve discussed the Navy’s disturbing and increasing practice of deferring portions of ship construction until post-delivery in order to evade Congressional cost caps and make construction costs look better than they are. The Navy is accepting incomplete ships and then adding the missing portions at some later date … in theory. The problem is that once a ship has been delivered the urgency, and the money, to complete it drop off drastically.
Next Navy website reported on this scheme for the Ford class carrier Kennedy, CVN-79 (1).
“The Navy also expects to reduce the CVN-79 cost by as much as $250 million by deferring installation of a number of systems, including the MK 53 Electronic Warfare (EW) Decoy Launching System (DLS), also known as NULKA, built by Lititz, PA-based Sechan Electronics; Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System; and the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program Block 3, a technology-development program that is intended to provide electronic attack capability.”
Note: The quote appears in the article but is sourced from an insidedefense.com website report which is behind a paywall.
I note this development because it is part of the Navy’s pattern of focusing on new construction to the detriment of maintenance and readiness. Partially completed ships simply contribute to the hollowing of the fleet. The Navy receives shiny new ships that make the fleet count look good but are missing significant portions of their combat capability. You’ll recall that the LPD-17’s were delivered with millions of man-hours of work left incomplete. The LCS’s were delivered with entire compartments left incomplete. If the missing portions were quickly added back after delivery that would be OK (neglecting the accounting fraud and disdain for Congressional cost caps) but fragmentary reports that I get suggest that the missing work is not being promptly completed. I have seen indications that the LPD-17 class and at least the earlier LCS have remained incomplete for long periods or may still be incomplete. I cannot document the degree of lingering incompleteness so consider this a cautionary note rather than a fully documented issue. I will continue to keep an eye out for more information about deferred construction issues.
(1)Next Navy, “Navy Strips CVN-79 Of Close-In AAW Enablers”, Admin,