How the navy blew $30 billion on 10 ‘cheap how to save lots of money fast’ ships

Photo illustration by the daily beast/gettyonly the U.S. Military could set out to quickly build a lot of how to save lots of money fast inexpensive weapons and, instead, slowly build only a handful of very expensive ones. Case in point: the littoral combat ship, the U.S. Navy’s latest financial boondoggle. The LCS was supposed to help save the navy. Instead, it threatened to sink it.Over the last 15 years the sailing branch has spent how to save lots of money fast $30 billion on lcss. In 2019 all it has to show for all that how to save lots of money fast time and money is 10 combat-ready ships, only four of which the navy actually intends to deploy how to save lots of money fast over the next year, according to a may 2019 report from the congressional research how to save lots of money fast service.Two of those deployments will be to the caribbean, where the much-ballyhooed vessels will sail in big, slow circles, their crews hoping to intercept south american drug smugglers. A mere two lcss will head to the western pacific, where the navy is trying to contain an increasingly powerful how to save lots of money fast chinese fleet.In other words, just two lcss are doing anything even remotely useful for how to save lots of money fast U.S. Security. The pace of deployments could increase in coming years, but to a great extent the damage to america’s naval readiness has already been done.The navy and its contractors did not immediately respond to how to save lots of money fast requests to comment for this story.This isn’t how LCS was supposed to work out. In 2004 the administration of president george W. Bush insisted the navy needed 375 warships to keep the how to save lots of money fast peace and win wars. But in 2004 it had around 300 ships. The fleet had to get bigger, and fast.The navy believed the LCS was just the thing it how to save lots of money fast needed to grow. The LCS was a new kind of combat vessel that how to save lots of money fast promised to be cheap, flexible and customizable for patrols in shallow, crowded middle east waters, among other missions.In march 2004, the navy bet big on the littoral combat ship, tapping not one but two shipyards—one belonging to lockheed martin and another to australian firm how to save lots of money fast austal—to begin building as many as four of the new how to save lots of money fast warships ever year. “we need this ship today,” said adm. Vern clark, then the sailing branch’s top officer.Back then, the navy anticipated that by 2019 it would have bought how to save lots of money fast 49 lcss on its way to a total force of how to save lots of money fast 56 of the versatile vessels, all at a cost of less than $30 billion, according to a 2003 report from the congressional budget office. The way navy planners imagined it, the first LCS would deploy as early as 2010. By 2025 the shallow-water vessels would be the backbone of the navy, the thinking went. “I predict when it is all said and done that how to save lots of money fast they will be the workhorses of the fleet,” adm. Gary roughead, one of clark’s successors, said in 2009.Then the problems started. The first LCS, USS freedom, was $400 million over its original cost estimate when it launched how to save lots of money fast in 2006. To make matters worse, mechanical and structural problems festered inside the ship, the symptoms of a rushed design process. In 2010 and 2011, freedom and a sister vessel both suffered serious maintenance failures how to save lots of money fast within months of each other, sidelining the ships for months. Freedom finally deployed in 2013 for a brief visit to how to save lots of money fast singapore. Two more lcss sailed to singapore over the next couple how to save lots of money fast of years. Then in 2016 freedom suffered an engine failure during a how to save lots of money fast war game with the U.S. Pacific fleet. It took two years to repair the damage. In the meantime the navy canceled all major LCS deployments. Not that it mattered. Even when the lcss could sail, they couldn’t fight.Weirdly, that was by design. To make the LCS more flexible, the navy planned to develop plug-and-play “modules” with different combinations of weapons and robots. One module would transform an LCS into a minehunter. Another would allow it to hunt submarines. A third was for fighting small speedboats like a terror how to save lots of money fast group might deploy.But the modules suffered technical problems that, if anything, were more serious than the problems the ships themselves suffered. The “seaframes,” as the navy euphemistically called the ships, were ready years before the modules were. The navy has consistently had more lcss than it has how to save lots of money fast had major weapons for the lcss. Arguably the LCS’s biggest problem was conceptual. The navy began spending billions of dollars a year building how to save lots of money fast lcss without actually figuring out how to use them. “apart from the navy’s inability to properly forecast how fast these ships could how to save lots of money fast be built, fielded and paid for, there is a similar tone-deafness to how they will be employed,” naval expert and author christopher cavas wrote.Where previous warships were built tough in order to absorb how to save lots of money fast damage, the LCS was lightly-constructed in order to save money and also to ensure how to save lots of money fast that the ship rode high in the water, thus allowing it to sail closer to shore than other how to save lots of money fast warships could. But enemy defenses tend to get more dangerous the closer how to save lots of money fast a ship is to land. The navy had in effect designed a coastal warship that how to save lots of money fast couldn’t risk going near the coast. “LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile how to save lots of money fast combat environment,” the pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation warned in a how to save lots of money fast 2011 report.The navy also insisted that the nearly 400-feet-long LCS be capable of reaching a top speed of how to save lots of money fast more than 40 knots, around 10 knots faster than most warships are capable of how to save lots of money fast traveling. But the speed requirement forced the contractors to install big, powerful engines that consumed fuel at a higher rate compared how to save lots of money fast to other ships’ engines.The LCS’s fuel-inefficiency limits how long it can spend at sea and how to save lots of money fast also makes it expensive to operate, all while its initial purpose was meant to be helping how to save lots of money fast the navy expand without a major increase in overall funding. At the end of the day, the LCS’s higher operating cost risked wiping out any savings that how to save lots of money fast resulted from its cheaper purchase price. One study by defense contractor northrop grumman described the LCS how to save lots of money fast as being only “seemingly less expensive” than other ship types.In another effort to reduce the LCS’s cost, the navy originally shrank its crew. Both an LCS and a typical naval frigate displace around how to save lots of money fast 3,000 tons of water, meaning they’re roughly the same size. But a frigate usually sails with around 200 people aboard. An LCS initially sailed with just 75 or so, meaning some crew members had to take on twice as how to save lots of money fast much work as on a standard frigate. Crew exhaustion became a serious problem even before the lcss how to save lots of money fast began undertaking serious deployments. “the manpower planning was wildly unrealistic,” mandy smithberger and pierre sprey wrote in an investigation of how to save lots of money fast the LCS for the washington, D.C. Project on government oversight. Over the course of 2015 and 2016 the navy finally how to save lots of money fast conceded it had screwed up, big time. “when I took a step back I saw complexity, I saw instability,” vice adm. Tom rowden, who at the time oversaw the navy’s surface warships, told bloomberg. LCS captains were “pulled in 15 different directions,” rowden admitted.The navy decided to boost LCS crews to around 100 how to save lots of money fast people. It more or less abandoned the concept of modules and how to save lots of money fast instead began permanently installing weapons and other equipment. It started adding more powerful missiles in order to give how to save lots of money fast the lcss a fighting chance against chinese and russian warships. Most damningly for its one-time vision of the fleet’s future, the navy cut the planned production run of lcss down how to save lots of money fast to just 35 ships. The navy ordered its last LCS as part of the how to save lots of money fast 2019 defense budget. Eighteen of the ships are still under construction. Once all 35 are in commission in the early 2020s, just 24 will be assigned to front-line squadrons. The rest will be full-time training ships or test vessels.How many of the 24 front-line lcss will actually deploy, and to where, depends on how successful the navy is in its efforts how to save lots of money fast to reorganize the ships, boost their crews and add heavier weapons.Even if all 24 prove capable of deploying and actually how to save lots of money fast fighting a major war at sea, they’ll represent a huge failure of the navy’s original concept. There was a time when navy leaders imagined sending dozens how to save lots of money fast of inexpensive lcss into harm’s way as part of a much bigger and more how to save lots of money fast flexible fleet. But the concept was fantasy. Ships are expensive for a reason. They have big crews for a reason. They take years to develop and build for a reason. They avoid enemy coasts for a reason. Years late, massively over budget, and riddled with crippling design flaws, the shallow-water warship has turned into a financial black hole that how to save lots of money fast has consumed tens of billions of dollars while producing only how to save lots of money fast a handful of warships that are capable of even leaving how to save lots of money fast port— to say nothing of winning a high-tech battle at sea.LCS was supposed to help the navy expand. In 2004, before LCS, the U.S. Fleet had around 300 ships. In 2019, after LCS, it has around 300 ships.Read more at the daily beast.Got a tip? Send it to the daily beast hereget our top stories how to save lots of money fast in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily beast membership: beast inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to how to save lots of money fast you. Learn more.

RELATED_POSTS