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 accepts delivery of USS Somerset from Huntington Ingalls

USS Somerset (LPD 25) is the ninth San Antonio-class LPD that HII has delivered to the US Navy. Two more are under construction for a total of 11 ships in the class, although 12 were originally planned (1 cancelled due to budget cuts & cost overruns). A follow-on class, possibly a San Antonio Flight II, or possibly an LSD(X) replacement based on a San Antonio hull, is planned… exact spec pending.

Huntington Ingalls delivers Avondale-built Somerset to U.S. Navy

The USS Somerset, which was christened in July, was delivered to the U.S. Navy today. It was build at the Avondale, La., facility of Huntington Ingalls Industries. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

AVONDALE, Louisiana — Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division has delivered the amphibious transport dock Somerset (LPD 25) to the U.S. Navy.

The DD 250 document officially signifying custody transfer of the ship was signed by officials on the ship at the company’s Avondale facility.

Somerset is the ninth ship in the San Antonio (LPD 17) class of ships Ingalls has delivered to the Navy.

“We are very pleased to deliver this ship to our Navy customer,” said Mike Duthu, director of Ingalls’ LPD 17 program. “With each successive LPD, we apply lessons learned that result in ship-over-ship improvements in quality, efficiency and affordability. With Somerset, the Navy is getting another very capable and adaptable amphibious warship designed and built to enable sailors and Marines to accomplish their missions.”

The ship successfully completed builder’s trials in August and U.S. Navy acceptance trials in September. Ingalls has two more under construction at its Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard. John P. Murtha (LPD 26) is slated for completion in 2016, and Portland (LPD 27) will complete in 2017.

Somerset is named to honor the courage of the passengers and crew members of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, near Shanksville in Somerset County, Pa. LPD 25 is scheduled to be commissioned in the Navy fleet on March 1, 2014, in Philadelphia. The ship will join the two other Ingalls-built LPDs named in honor of the victims of Sept. 11, USS New York (LPD 21) and USS Arlington (LPD 24).

In addition to more than 10,000 Ingalls shipbuilders, there are 650 suppliers from 38 states that support the LPD 17 program. Ingalls spends approximately $175 million a year with this vital industrial base.

Built to be survivable and flexible, these complex warships ships enable the services to carry out their missions without constraints or additional assets. The 11 ships of the LPD 17 class are a key element of the Navy’s ability to project power ashore. Collectively, they functionally replace more than 41 ships (the LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113 and LST 1179 classes of amphibious ships), providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern, sea-based platforms that are networked, survivable and built to operate with 21st century platforms, such as the MV-22 Osprey.

The LPD 17-class ships are 684 feet long and 105 feet wide and displace approximately 25,000 tons. Their principal mission is to deploy the combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. The ships can carry up to 800 troops and have the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing crafts, augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft such as the MV-22. These ships will support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.

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.

Pre-commissioning USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) at Newport News, Va.

131011-N-KK576-015 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 11, 2013) Newport News Shipbuilding begins flooding Dry Dock 12 to float the first in class aircraft carrier, Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released)

131011-N-ZZ999-003 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 11, 2013) Susan Ford Bales, ship’s sponsor for the Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), observes the flooding of Dry Dock 12 at Newport News Shipbuilding, during floating operations for the first in class aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by Chis Oxley/Released)

131011-N-ZZ999-002 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 11, 2013) Susan Ford Bales, ship’s sponsor for the first in class Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), begins the initial flooding procedure to float the aircraft carrier in Newport News Shipbuilding Dry Dock 12. (U.S. Navy photo by Chirs Oxley/Released)

131011-N-KK576-013 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 11, 2013) Newport News Shipbuilding begins flooding Dry Dock 12 to float the first in class aircraft carrier, Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released)

131011-N-ZZ999-001 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 11, 2013) Newport News Shipbuilding begins flooding Dry Dock 12 to float the first in class aircraft carrier, Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). (U.S. Navy photo by John Whalen/Released)

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.”

Final Aircraft Elevator Installed on Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

The Gerald R. Ford, lead vessel in the US Navy’s newest class of aircraft carriers, is scheduled to launch on 9 November 2014.

Final Aircraft Elevator Installed on Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Aug. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division installed the third and final aircraft elevator on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

Newport News Shipbuilding recently installed the final aircraft elevator platform on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The elevator is used to move aircraft from the hangar bay to the flight deck quickly and safely. Photo by Chris Oxley

The elevator, which is used to move aircraft from the hangar bay to the flight deck quickly and safely, is located on the starboard side of the ship. It measures 85 feet long and 52 feet wide and weighs 120 tons, akin to a steam locomotive.”The Ford class is designed with three aircraft elevators, one less than the Nimitz class,” said Rolf Bartschi, NNS vice president, CVN 78 carrier construction. “The design provides greater flight deck area for increased sortie rates over the Nimitz-class design. The location and number of aircraft elevators are an integral part of the design.”

Gerald R. Ford’s primary hull structure reached 100 percent structural completion in May, bringing more than three years of structural erection work to a close. Work continues on the ship, including work on the piping and electrical systems and habitability areas such as the galley and mess spaces. Shipbuilders are also in the process of painting the hull prior to the ship’s christening, scheduled for Nov. 9.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) designs, builds and maintains nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe. For more than a century, HII has built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder at its Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding divisions. Employing about 37,000 in Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and California, HII also provides a wide variety of products and services to the commercial energy industry and other government customers, including the Department of Energy.

NAVSEA awards contracts for next-generation fleet oiler

NAVSEA has awarded three industry study contracts for development of the next-generation fleet oiler.

The new T-AO(X) class will operate in the same primary rôle as T-AO 187 class fleet replenishment oilers in support of the US Navy force. Additionally, when combined with a T-AKE 1 class dry cargo & ammunition ship, the T-AO(X)/T-AKE 1 logistics team can replace a T-AOE 6 class combat support ship within a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) or Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG).

NAVSEA Awards Three Contracts for Oiler Development

USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on June 30, 2013. US Navy Photo

Naval Sea Systems Command has issued three contracts to shipyards for work toward the Navy’s next-generation fleet oiler (T-AO(X)).

General Dynamics NASSCO, Huntington Ingalls Industries and VT Halter Marine, “were each awarded firm-fixed price contracts at or below the not-to-exceed amount of $1.7 million as contained in the solicitation for Trade-Off Industry Studies,” according to a Wednesday release from NAVSEA.

The companies will provide studies that will explore affordable design for the next-generation oilers. The six to ten month studies will inform system specifications ahead of the next contract award which will support detailed construction of T-AO(X).

The Navy is planning for a class of 17 ships to replace the current crop of Supply-class and Henry J Kaiser class oilers with the first ship to begin construction and enter the fleet in 2020.

Earlier this year, the Navy announced it would decommission Supply-class ships USNS Bridge (T-AOE-10) in 2014 and USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7) in 2015 for a $251 million savings as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 Pentagon budget submission.

Huntington Ingalls to inactivate the Big E

Huntington Ingalls will inactivate the Big E at Newport News, after which she’ll be towed to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for reactor disposal.

Navy and shipyard sign $745 million Enterprise contract

June 29, 2013|By Michael Welles Shapiro, | 757-247-4744

What does it cost to defuel and take apart one of the Navy’s most famed ships?

About $750 million, it turns out.

The Navy and Huntington Ingalls Industries came to terms on a contract for the inactivation of the USS Enterprise. The cost-plus-incentive fee contract allows for the ultimate price tag to be adjusted based on a formula under which the Navy and the shipbuilder would both share some of the burden of cost overruns.

The work will be done at Newport News Shipbuilder, the sole builder of U.S. aircraft carriers, which built the Big E and has handled its spent nuclear fuel rods in the past.

The 51-year-old Enterprise is the country’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and as a result the contract is the first inactivation of such a ship.

“Although Newport News Shipbuilding has defueled and refueled many ships, including Enterprise, this is the first inactivation of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier,” said Chris Miner, the shipyard’s vice president, of in-service aircraft carrier programs.

“Our shipbuilders know Enterprise well, and have enjoyed working on her over her decades of service,” Miner said in a news release. “We are extremely proud of her great legacy, so it is with heavy hearts that we will work to retire this one-of-a-kind ship.”

More than 1,000 shipyard workers are expected to support the inactivation, and the work in Newport News is set to run through September 2018, according to a contract award description posted by the Naval Sea Systems Command.

At that point, the ship will be towed to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., which according to the Navy is the only yard that can dispose of the Enterprise’s eight nuclear reactors.

The reactors will be cut out of the hull of the ship and barged to the desert of Eastern Washington, for burial at a Department of Energy site.

The Enterprise was towed to Newport News Shipbuilding on June 20 from Naval Station Norfolk.

That voyage capped off a career that spanned more than half a century.

The flat top was the only ship in its class, and was built before the Nimitz-class carriers that now make up the U.S. carrier fleet.

Built by Newport News shipbuilders, the Big E aided in the naval blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and took part in operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

The ship once steamed through the seas with 200,000 horsepower and became one of four carriers in naval history to record 400,000 arrested landings of jet aircraft.

Enterprise completed its final combat deployment in November and was removed from military service the following month.

Since then, sailors have worked to prepare the ship for its eventual decommissioning.

The combat crew of 2,500 sailors has been whittled down to about 1,300. Eight gaping holes were visible in its hangar bay during its tow to Newport News.