Destroyers are the backbone of the fleet

SECNAV Mabus says destroyers are the backbone of the US Navy’s fleet. Amen to that. So now here’s a thought… the Arleigh Burke class is back in production (Flight III) and they’re a no-nonsense workhorse… exactly the kind of thing that other navies should want… and if, after this so-called forgone conclusion of Scots independence (an’ good luck to ’em with that) then there’s no obligation for the Royal Navy to purchase ships from foreign Scottish yards… so why not by Arleigh Burke DDGs? Six, right off the bat. Scotland can have its independence cake and eat it.

Secretary of the Navy Visits Sailors in Souda Bay

Souda Bay, Greece (NNS) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus visited Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) while the ship was moored in Souda Bay, Greece, Nov. 15.

While aboard, he promoted six Ramage Sailors, presented Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pins to seven others, reenlisted one additional Sailor and briefly toured the ship.

110624-N-UH963-146 ATHENS, Greece (June 24, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus addresses Sailors during an all-hands call aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kevin S. O’Brien/Released

He also held an all-hands call, emphasizing the importance of having the right platforms in the Fleet, the people who serve aboard those platforms and the value of building lasting partnerships.

Mabus then answered questions from the audience and thanked them for their efforts in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.

“I cannot tell you how vital the work that you are doing is,” said Mabus, “not only to our country, but to our partners in the region.”

Mabus also said there is a tremendous demand for Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, like USS Ramage, due to its adaptability to a wide range of missions.

“These DDGs are the backbone of our fleet,” said Mabus. “They provide us with one of the most flexible, one of the most lethal, platforms our Navy has ever had.”

“What these platforms give us, and more importantly what the people aboard these platforms give us, is presence. That’s what the Navy can uniquely provide,” he said. “We’re not just in the right place at the right time, we’re in the right place all the time.”

USS Ramage, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

Mabus’ visit to the ship is part of a multi-nation visit to the U.S. European, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility focused on reinforcing existing partnerships and visiting Sailors and Marines providing forward presence.

US Navy floats out Zumwalt quietly and without fanfare

So that’s that. Thanks, govt shutdown! I’m sure the folks in Maine appreciate having to do it without thanks.

Looking unlike any US warship past, new Navy destroyer Zumwalt goes into the water in Maine

Looking unlike any US warship past, new Navy destroyer Zumwalt goes into the water in Maine.

BATH, Maine — There was no band. No streamers. No champagne.

The Navy’s stealthy Zumwalt destroyer floated out of dry dock without fanfare Monday night and into the waters of the Kennebec River, where the warship will remain dockside for final construction.

The largest destroyer ever built for the Navy, the Zumwalt looks like no other U.S. warship, with an angular profile and clean carbon fiber superstructure that hides antennas and radar masts.

“The Zumwalt is really in a league of its own,” said defense consultant Eric Wertheim, author of the “The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World.”

Looking unlike any US warship past, new Navy destroyer Zumwalt goes into the water in Maine.

Originally envisioned as a “stealth destroyer,” the Zumwalt has a low-slung appearance and angles that deflect radar. Its wave-piercing hull aims for a smoother ride.The 610-foot ship is a behemoth that’s longer and bigger than the current class of destroyers. It was originally designed for shore bombardment and features a 155mm “Advanced Gun System” that fires rocket-propelled warheads that have a range of nearly 100 miles.

Thanks to computers and automation, it will have only about half the complement of sailors as the current generation of destroyers.

Critics, however, felt the Navy was trying to incorporate too much new technology — a new hull, computer automation, electric propulsion, new radar and new gun — into one package. At one point, the program was nearly scrapped because of growing cost. Eventually, the program was truncated to three ships, the Zumwalt being the first.

Dozens of local residents gathered to watch the hours-long process of floating the ship in a dry dock. In the water for the first time, the ship was a sight to behold.

“It’s absolutely massive. It’s higher than the tree line on the other side. It’s an absolutely huge ship — very imposing. It’s massively dominating the waterfront,” said Amy Lent, executive director of the Maine Maritime Museum, who watched the process from her office down river from the shipyard.

Looking unlike any US warship past, new Navy destroyer Zumwalt goes into the water in Maine.

The big ship was supposed to be christened with a bottle of Champagne crashed against its bow by the two daughters of the late Adm. Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt, but the ceremony earlier this month was canceled because of the partial federal government shutdown.

Workers at Bath Iron Works, part of General Dynamics, will continue working on the ship throughout the winter. The shipyard hopes to hold a rescheduled christening in the spring, with sea trials following in the fall. Bath Iron Works plans to deliver the ship to the Navy in 2015.

Amazing photos of Zumwalt (DDG 1000) at Bath Iron Works

via Defense News, some amazing photographs of the Zumwalt.

Zumwalt DDG 1000. US Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, photography by Michael C. Nutter.

Zumwalk DDG 1000. US Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, photography by Michael C. Nutter.

More photos here.

It’s a shame (and embarrassment) that the christening has been cancelled due to the US govt shutdown, but work on the Zumwalt continues. “Bath-built is best-built.” Or so they say. These are impressive photographs of impressive-looking vessels. Can’t wait to see them manned and in the water.

Govt shutdown forces Navy to cancel USS Zumwalt christening

Somewhat embarrassing for the US Navy. Perhaps they should rename it the USS Budget, or the USS Snafu, or even the USS Tea Party.

Navy Cancels, Postpones Zumwalt Christening

Story Number: NNS131011-08Release Date: 10/11/2013 10:23:00 AM
From Defense Media Activity-Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy announced today that the christening of the future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) originally scheduled for Oct. 19 has been cancelled and postponed until a future date.

“It is incredibly unfortunate that we are being forced to cancel the christening ceremony for this great warship,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, “but the ongoing government shutdown prevents us from being able to honor Admiral Zumwalt’s memory with a ceremony befitting his and his family’s legacy of service to our Nation and our Navy.”

The future USS Zumwalt is a first of class ship for the Navy’s next generation destroyer. Zumwalt class ships are tailored for sustained operations in the littorals and land attack, and will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces, and operate as an integral part of joint and combined expeditionary forces.

The Zumwalt honors Navy Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., who became the 19th Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in 1970, and passed away in Durham, N.C., Jan. 2, 2000.

The Navy is in coordination with the Zumwalt family and General Dynamics – Bath Iron Works to reschedule the christening ceremony.

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=77056

Huntington Ingalls shutters Gulfport shipyard

It looks like a $59m financial hit to Huntington Ingalls and 427 jobs gone at Gulfport. The Zumwalt-class destroyer seems a busted flush… the US Navy originally planned to build 32, which was cut to 10, and finally to 3… and then the Arleigh Burke Flight IIA production line was restarted. It may be some consolation for the suits in Pascagoula that HII will pickup half of those Arleigh Burke contracts.

Huntington Ingalls to Close Gulfport Composite Facility

The deckhouse for the future USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) sits on a barge at Norfolk Naval Station in 2012. US Navy Photo

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) will shutter its composite manufacturing facility in Gulfport, Miss. following a decision by the U.S. Navy to switch from composites to steel in the construction of the deckhouse for the last of three Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers (DDG-1000), HII announced Wednesday.

According to a HII filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company expects to close the facility by May of 2014.

The closure expects to impact 427 workers at the facility and incur a cost of $59 million to the company, according to a Sept. 4 8K filing to the SEC.

“This is a difficult but necessary decision,” said HII President and CEO Mike Petters said in a statement. “Due to the reduction in the Zumwalt-class (DDG-1000) ship construction and the recent U.S. Navy decision to use steel products on Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), there is both limited and declining Navy use for composite products from the Gulfport Facility.”

The Gulfport facility built the first two 1,000-ton deckhouses for the Zumwalts as well as four hulls for the Osprey-class mine hunter ships briefly used by the Navy before the service abandoned the program in favor of the mine hunting systems based on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The facility had planned to build U.S. Coast Guard vessels before the service decided to go with steel instead.

In August, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced it had awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) $212 million fixed-price contract to build the deckhouse at its Maine shipyard for the planned Johnson.

Other than the deckhouses, the only other Navy work for the facility was manufacture of the composite masts for the San Antonio-class (LPD-17) amphibious warships. HII said in August it anticipated work on the masts to be completed in the first part of 2014.

“The composite design was initially required to meet weight requirements. Subsequent to the award of DDG-1000 and 1001 superstructures, sufficient weight removal allowed for the opportunity to provide a steel superstructure, which is a less costly alternative,” NAVSEA officials said in an August statement to USNI News.

When asked if there were any other options for the facility, HII officials told USNI News, ”we have been exploring other uses for Gulfport but — to date — have not identified an alternative plan ahead.”

http://news.usni.org/2013/09/04/huntington-ingalls-close-gulfport-composite-facility