Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Navy To Accept and Commission Damaged Ship

The Navy continues to fail to learn the most fundamental lessons concerning ship buying.  The latest example is the Ford which has suffered major main turbine generator (MTG) failures (a June explosion of the No. 2 MTG and a similar, more recent event with the No 1 MTG) which have crippled half the the ship’s main generators.  This post is not about the generator problems but, rather, about the Navy’s stunningly idiotic decision to accept delivery of the ship in a damaged state.

“Several repair options were developed, including whether or not to completely repair the MTGs before sea trials and delivery – causing further delays -- or wait until a post-commissioning shipyard period to finish the work.

On Sept. 14, the Pentagon source confirmed, Navy officials decided on a partial fix now and a permanent fix later.  The No. 2 MTG rotors will be removed while repairs are made to No. 1, and full repairs to No. 2 will wait for the post-shakedown availability (PSA) overhaul sometime after the ship is commissioned.” (1)

What is the point of sea trials and inspections if you’re going to accept the ship no matter what condition it’s in?  They may as well just cancel trials and inspections and save some money. 

Would any of us buy a damaged car?  Of course not!  The Navy, though, sees no problem with accepting a damaged ship.  I don’t know the details of the purchase contract but once the Navy accepts delivery, the ability to get the manufacturer to fix problems at their own expense becomes severely limited.  Remember, as we’ve noted before, unbelievably, the Navy has no warranty on the ship!!!!

Not only will the Navy accept delivery of a badly damaged ship but it will also commission a badly damaged ship.  A commissioned ship is supposed to be combat ready.

This is just stupidity beyond belief.  There is no valid justification for accepting a damaged ship.


(1)Defense News website, “Carrier Ford Has Serious Power Problem”, Christopher Cavas, 18-Sep-2016,


  1. I think we're reaching peak disaster in Navy acquisition. LCS's that don't sail, and have questionable combat power even if they do; 3 DDG 1000's, the F-35 (Fully combat capable in 4 years!), and now the Ford.

    The Ford is making a run for worst of them all.

    What is the Navy going to look like in the terrible 20's if all of this continues on its failing trajectory? They need to cut bait on all this.

    A) Ford: Don't accept it till the turbogenerators work, and it can launch and recover aircraft at least as reliably as a Nimitz class. Personally I'd stop now and tear it down to put legacy launch/recovery systems in. It will be stupidly expensive and time consuming but at least you get a functional carrier in the end.

    1) cancel the LCS outright. Use current LCS, fixed in any way you can to make them sail, as anti piracy/drug ships. Buy a fixed price contract NSC equipped for ASW; or license build something to get capable ships in the fleet. SLEP the Avengers if you can.

    3) Accept as much of the advanced superhornet fixes as you can on the existing airwings: CFT's, Growler sensors where appropriate, new avionics. If the F-35 is a done deal... make the best of it. If its not, plan an incremental technology new build airframe to fill the fleet defense role, and if you can make it into a bombcat that's fine. But it should be designed for one role primarily; like the bombcat.

    None of this will happen, nor any facsimile thereof, nor any replacement plan by people much smarter than me on this stuff. So in the 20's we'll have poured billions down a rathole for a smaller fleet with less capability but some great PR firms. Loren Thompson and Bradley Byrne will get PR Battlefield Commission so they can work directly for the Navy in spinning things positively.

    Sorry if I'm too bitter.

  2. Between this and todays Zumwalt announcement, it is clear that instead of asking for the Wells Fargo CEO to resign, Congress (and the American people) should be asking for the firing of ALL NAVSEA personnel. Anyone there is so tainted that we are better off starting over. In addition, no existing major shipyard should be allowed to get anyt8hing other than FFP contracts.

    Extreme but this insanity has to stop, we cannot afford to continue to pump money into Defense Contractors that cannot deliver working items.

    1. I found this and want to quote a small portion of the article "The crew discovered the casualty after detecting a seawater leak in the propulsion motor drive lube oil auxiliary system for one of the ship’s shaft"

      Seems like a copy of the LCS problems. Does the navy produce sailors who can't detect seawater in oil before it stops a ship?


    2. I had the same thought. At this point it seems like more than just coincidence but who knows.

      Good observation!

  3. The Navy is desperate to accept and commission the Ford ASAP so as not to exceed the $12.9 Billion cost cap in then year dollars, Navy estimated $15 Billion in 2014 dollars, so as not to incur more flack from Senator John McCain. All necessary work/cost to bring ship to bring to operational status is being "lost" in post delivery.

    Senate Armed Services Committee May 18th FY 2017 report
    "the committee also directs the Comptroller General of the United States to submit a report, not later than March 1, 2017, that includes analysis and recommendations regarding the Navy’s process for fully delivering ships from the time the Navy takes custody of the vessel until the vessels are fully complete and ready for operations. This review should examine the Navy’s cost and schedule milestones throughout this process and how these milestones are reported to decision makers and oversight agencies. The review should also propose a common definition and criteria for Navy ship deliveries, including the associated dates."

    1. You are correct. In addition, given the recent string of badly bungled ship class deliveries, the Navy is desperate for a PR "victory", though how one can spin a victory out of the Ford is a mystery. Still, the Navy wants no more bad PR of even more schedule delays. If the Ford sank, the Navy would still accept it.

      Very nice comment.

    2. A sixty day review of the Ford was ordered by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall memo Aug. 23 looking at the key subsystems of the call into question the “schedule and performance” of Ford (CVN-78) and follow on ships could be a ticking time bomb or damp squib.
      Christopher P. Cavas DefenseNews, September 7 claimed latest review has outraged senior Navy officials and another carrier review is a waste of time, it was all Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's fault and nothing to do with the Navy.
      Will be interesting to see how the politics play out and where the mud sticks as the Ford proves incapable of being brought into operation.

    3. I noted that and thought about a post on it but decided that there just wasn't anything worthwhile. The Navy has dozens of reviews going now on all kinds of programs. They're just PR exercises and not worth my time to write about.

      As you say, we'll see what, if anything, comes of it.

      Glad to see you're paying attention! Feel free to keep prompting and linking. I do miss things from time to time.

  4. Sad thing is that the Navy will be paying for it either way.

    This whole class is turning out to be a huge joke and I wonder if this will be a class wide issue like the LCS.

    1. "Sad thing is that the Navy will be paying for it either way."

      Too true and a good reminder.

    2. Is it a pre-election timetable they are running to ?
      Well the website is all go !

  5. Nate, I've deleted your comment. You're welcome to comment, whether I agree with it or not, as long as you are polite and respectful and the comment is supported by facts and logic.

    I deleted your comment due to extreme disrespect. Feel free to repost if you can do so politely.

  6. This reminds me of the movie The World According to Garp with Robin Williams. There is a scene where Garp and his wife are looking at a house to buy and right before their eyes, a light plane crashes into the house.

    Garp says they'll buy house, telling his wife the odds of another crash are astronomical and the house is pre-disastered.


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