U.S. Navy To Extend Destroyers’ Service (subscription only)
The U.S. Navy will add five years to the planned 35-year service lives of its workhorse Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, according to the service’s latest version of its 30-year shipbuilding plan.
The plan was issued Feb. 4 in conjunction with the Defense Department’s 2009 budget request.
To field a fleet of at least 313 ships beyond 2020, the service must modernize its destroyers and CG 47-class cruisers, the plan says.
Between 2021 and 2038, 165 ships will reach the end of their expected service lives – twice as many as will be retired from 2009 and 2020, according to the report.
The fact that the Navy is having to extend the life of these ships to meet the 313 goal, plus the fact that the projected budget to make the plan work went through the roof, shows just how badly the Navy is screwed. And it’s not like it’s breaking news, as questions were raised immediately after the plan was announced. Add to that the ongoing problems with the LCS program and the uncertainty of the DD(X) program and we’ve got a recipe for disaster. Already, the Navy is planning to build fewer ships than called for.
Except for the first five in the class that don’t carry the Vertical Launching System (VLS) and have been decommissioned, the Ticonderoga-class cruisers are being upgraded. One of the Flight 1 Ticos, the USS Valley Forge (CG-50), was sunk in weapons tests in 2006. CG(X) is likely to be delayed given the issues with DD(X), so getting the Ticos up to snuff and keeping them there is crucial.