The Navy plans to sink 15 decommissioned ships and scrap an additional 24 in the next five years, according to the latest shipbuilding plan.
In fiscal 2009, the Navy will sink the Yellowstone-class destroyer Acadia, the Spruance-class destroyer Conolly and the acoustic research ship Hayes. The Hayes is still active and will be decommissioned sometime this year, according to the Navy. The service requested $5.4 million to sink the three ships in the fiscal 2009 budget presented to Congress in early February.
Two ships in the current plan are slated to sink and become artificial reefs, the plan notes: the Spruance-class destroyer Arthur W. Radford, which rests in Philadelphia, and the auxiliary aircraft landing training ship and former carrier Forrestal, currently berthed in Newport, R.I. Specific sink dates have not been set for these two ships because plans must be coordinated with Congress and other government agencies, the plan states.
The fleet of inactive ships has sunk from 195 in 1997 to 62 today. The cost of maintaining the inactive ships is always one of the big reasons put forward in favor of sinking or scrapping them, but the article states that the Navy currently spends $14 million a year on it. Honestly, that’s peanuts. It’s less than half the cost of one F-35 fighter.
For five fewer new jets, the Navy could keep its current inactive fleet mothballed for ten extra years. Now, I’m not arguing that the Navy should ditch some planes to keep old ships in reserve, but don’t tell me that this is a cost-driven issue.
And here’s a list of upcoming ships to be scrapped:
These decommissioned ships are scheduled to be dismantled in the next five years: destroyer tender Puget Sound; command ship Coronado; submarine tenders Simon Lake, L.Y. Spear and McKee; cruisers Yorktown, Vincennes and Thomas S. Gates; aircraft carriers Independence and Constellation; amphibious transport dock Austin; helicopter amphibious assault ship New Orleans; dock landing ships Anchorage and Fort Fisher; submarine Trout; and nuclear submarines Drum, Omaha, Cincinnati, New York City, Groton, Birmingham, Phoenix and Baltimore. The fast-attack submarine Los Angeles, still in commission, also is on the list to be dismantled.