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    US Navy Spearhead (Expeditionary Fast Transport) during sea trials in 2012

    In Need of Repairs: US Navy's $2 Billion Ships Don't Hold Up on High Seas

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    The US Navy is spending millions of dollars to repair new high-speed transport ships whose weak bows cannot withstand stand buffeting from high seas, according to the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester.

    The Navy spent about $2.1 billion for a fleet of ten Expeditionary Fast Transports, built by Austal Ltd. Five of the all-aluminum catamarans are in operation, while the others are under construction at an Austal shipyard in Alabama.

    In a letter sent to Congress in September, Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation, said all ten ships require reinforcing structure to bridge the twin hulls because of a design change that the Navy adopted at Austal's recommendation, Bloomberg reported.

    "The Navy accepted compromises in the bow structure, presumably to save weight, during the building of these ships," Gilmore wrote. "Multiple ships of the class have suffered damage to the bow structure."

    So far, the Navy has spent almost $2.4 million strengthening the bows of the first four vessels, according to Bloomberg.

    The speedy ships are designed to transport military cargo and troops, and serve as an intermediate between larger, slower vessels and cargo aircraft. They have been deployed to Africa, the Middle East and Singapore

    The repairs have made each ship 1,736 pounds heavier and displaced 250 gallons of fuel. Because the repairs are still in progress, there has been no testing yet to verify if the fixes are sufficient.

    Even with reinforced structures, the ships cannot sail on the highest seas or travel at their maximum speed, because "encountering a rogue wave" can "result in sea-slam events that causes structural damage to the bow structure," Gilmore wrote in his report to Congress.

    The ships' latest sea tests also revealed faulty generators that failed much more than anticipated.

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    • karlof1
      Seems more training and better electronics are also needed. Mao called the Outlaw US Empire's military a "Paper Tiger." In some respects it certainly is.
    • peskyvera
      So who got paid under the table? Or still is being paid?
    • Randall Lee Hilburn
      The flimsy construction and lack of armament of these deathtraps means they probably wouldn't survive long enough to land their passengers and cargo onto a contested beachhead.
      But if they encounter any rough weather on the way there they obviously wouldn't have to worry about that. They may sink before an enemy gets a chance to shoot at them.
      What amazes me is how the US Navy seems determined to forget all the lessons they learned about amphibious warfare at such great cost during WW2 in the Pacific.

      The corrupt individuals responsible for this situation are obviously not the ones who are going to die on the products of their incompetence and greed. As long as they become wealthy they couldn't care less how many lives it costs.
    • richatstructure
      Two words; boon and doggle.
    • richatstructurein reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall Lee Hilburn,
      I'm sure the kickbacks produced quit a few yachts. GO NAVE!
    • michael
      so this makes the USN seem like a fair weather navy.:)
      Don't know if the Marines would appreciate that! :(
    • Randall Lee Hilburnin reply torichatstructure(Show commentHide comment)
      richatstructure, I couldn't let this opportunity slide. On the offhand chance that you're also a Navy veteran I have a story to tell you about the Navy and yachts your reply reminded me of. If you are I think you will appreciate this.

      The ship I was stationed on was in Norfolk, Virginian and was waiting along with several other ships of various types to be worked on by the only repair ship available. Then all of a sudden everything was canceled and the repair ship was ordered to offload all of their lifeboats. They were then sent to somewhere in the Caribbean area to pick up this great big new yacht some big shot admiral had just purchased. They had to get rid of their lifeboats to make room for it. So you had several only partially operational naval vessels tied up to piers until they got back to work on them.

      I saw this yacht and let me tell you she was big, fancy, and very expensive.
      I remember thinking to myself at the time, I didn't think even a four star admiral made that kind of money. I guess as they say "Rank has its privileges."
    • support
      Powered barges are nothing new but there is no excuse for the bow problems. Traditionally stressed bow elements have been cast as a single forged (and preferably drop-forged) components for small and medium craft since the days of Gar Wood's eminently serviceable vessels.

      Also there is no excuse for instability in heavy seas. A central hydrofoil element which can be hydraulically retracted or submerged the blades of which are gyrostabiliser controlled located amidships in the central channel is how past stability problems have been addressed in much earlier high-speed heavily loaded military vessels, most notably the Boeing such as those shown here: www.foils.org/gallery/phm.htm

      Where I grew up in Wyandotte, Michigan, the E-boats used during WW I by the British Royal Navy were built there from the local trees by imported British craftsmen, and the "rum-runner" power boats which were popular during Prohibition were also built from Wyandotte wood by Wyandotte workers. Also PT boats were fitted with Detroit Diesel Allison engines upriver from our town. To this day the town has a huge marina and more custom-built boats than one would care ot think about even civilian owned hydrofoils.

      First and biggest mistake with this vessel? It was not designed from the ground up by the people at the Naval Surface Warfare facility. They have beautiful huge hydrotanks for hull design testing and the Carderock facility for shaking down power plants both of which are overwhelmed with maintenance-related issues almost impossible to resolve.
    • Mitach2002
      Could care less about the war loving nations navy. Hope it all sinks.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support,

      'E' Boats were German. The British used MTB's (motor torpedo boats).
    • jasin reply tokarlof1(Show commentHide comment)
      karlof1, The US needs a serous education system overhaul, pre-K-12 and 2 years of college. But it'll never happen. People will just complain about no morals and poor test scores. Actually doing anything about it takes effort.
    • jas
      "Multiple ships of the class have suffered damage to the bow structure."
      --
      A lake fleet, lol.
    • ivanwa88
      Randall I wonder if that massive luxury yacht in your story was Saddams boat that went missing!
    • Shue
      WTF Sputnik? Why are you showing us a pathetic video advert for the terrorist states navy?
    • supportin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      FlorianGeyer, you are absolutely correct. D'Oh!
    • The torsion forces on the center part between the 2 hulls must me tremendous in heavy seas.
    • Randall Lee Hilburnin reply toivanwa88(Show commentHide comment)
      ivanwa88, Sorry it toke so long for me to reply to your comment, I've only just come across it.

      I don't think it would have been his as what I referred to happened in 1975 or 1976.
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