HASC chair: Don’t mothball the cruisers, upgrade them

HASC chair: Don’t mothball the cruisers, upgrade them

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon said Wednesday he wants the Navy to keep the seven cruisers it has proposed decommissioning because the fleet needs the ships to reach their full lives.

He told an audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library out in California that he would try to help save the ships that Secretary Panetta and other top leaders — though not Navy leaders — have basically characterized as worn out.

“We will try to hold back cuts to the Navy’s cruiser force,” he said, “finding the money for our cruisers to undergo proper upgrades, instead of mothballing ships needed to sustain the shift to Asia, before those ships reach the end of their lifespan.”

The surface Navy loves the cruiser and destroyer modernization it has begun with the early ships in the two classes, which gives crews nicer accommodations and brings the ships’ weapons, sensors and electronics up to the latest standards. But the yard work costs money and it sidelines warships for months that, as we keep hearing, are in high demand from combatant commanders.

McKeon did not detail what the Navy should give up to keep its cruisers, or go into many specifics on much else in his Reagan Library speech. The remarks weren’t really for the usual Washington eggheads — by donning the mantle of Reagan, McKeon seemed to be aiming his call for support at a wider audience of conservatives outside the defense family.

“To put it plainly, we need your help,” he said. “We need your help restoring the concept of the Reagan military. Just the name invokes the concept of strength and certitude. I need you to be advocates for the principles that President Reagan advocated. I need you to stand with our troops. I need you to reject government intrusion in our lives, and refocus this great Republic back to Constitutional obligations like providing for the common defense. These cuts can be stopped, averted, held off. But it requires you to be involved. To be vocal. To be strong. How can we call ourselves Reagan Republicans if we sit quietly by during the most systematic and catastrophic cuts to an institution that Reagan helped build?”

The Reagan Challenge! It’s the ultimate gauntlet for conservatives — the final trump card. The question is, will it work? Can defense advocates drum up a popular groundswell to pressure Congress to deal with sequestration and the other thorny questions in the defense world, or is this subject just too wonky?


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“We need your help restoring the concept of the Reagan military.”

The Cold War is over. The military we need today is not the military we needed 30 years ago.

I think all of this may not matter in the future. What matter most is your spiritual health. JC is coming soon.

Yes but it sounds like modernization is a cheaper alternative so that we can continue keeping these ships out there in the Pacific where they are needed The threat from China is out there in the Pacific and will be there after these ships go thru their modernized life cycle. Thats if it ever gets done.

Rep. McKenon is so full of it again. His vow to fight the Presidents budget ensures that no budget will be passed and that Sequestration will hit because congress is too busy name calling and fighting than passing real ideas to help the DoD.

To save the navy cut more useless army programs crap like ICC should die sooner than later.

From the time of the Arabian Nights, there has been a saying. Always trust in (Allah or whatever name you call him), but tie up your camel.

What does the acronym ICC stand for?

Individual Carbine Competition. It’s the Army’s program to replace the M16 and M4 rifles with something new. Lance has it in his head that cancelling this program will somehow free up the hundreds of billions of dollars the DoD needs for other programs. It’ll take at least a decade to replace 1 million rifles at no more than $2000 a copy. Do the math.

If the US sells the 7 cruisers to allies such as Taiwan and Saudi Arabia effectively making them (1) forward deployed ships paid for by allies and not the US budget, thus (2) reducing US surface combatant requirements, and (3) providing enough income for the Navy to add a DDG-51 destroyer or SSN-774 attack sub to the budget, then it might be worth it. Otherwise, a Navy that is short on ships (especially with all frigates being decommissioned soon) could likely upgrade all 7 (which could serve 10–15 more years each totaling 70–105 years) for the price of one new DDG-51 (that would serve 35–40 years).

You should know there are three things to never discuss: Poitics, religon, and the Great Pumpkin!
–Linus Van Pelt

If Taiwan and Saudi Arabia bail us out — yea or we could just wait for the tooth fairy LOL.

Neither want to buy cold war relics.

There’s a tipover point, after which keeping an old ship in service on the front line starts costing exponentially more money. The AEGIS cruisers were bleeding-edge designs 30 years ago when they came off the line, but they’ve been ridden hard and put away wet for 3 decades while technology has marched on. The cost to get another 15 years out of ‘em will not be small.

The M-16 needs to get replaced. It was never the best and there is a whole bunch of good rifles on themarket.

If he did come, bone heads like would crusafy.

As opposed to design, layout, build time, weapons intrigration, and such for a new line of ship? A proven hull can be fitted with a new weapons package a lot simpler than proving a new ship design…and turn around time is less too. It is a familiar beast with known traits.…plus bdgets or a new class would have to be balanced against something else…do we cut carriers? If LCS can be proven in a tactical situation, perhaps as a small scale drone carrier (like aajeep carrier in WW2) then we may be abl to slack off the cruiser, however the Ageis system is good for missle defense ON A CRUISER, this should be of some intrest to increase defense at a smaller budget hit than a new class.…

Not worth it its all 5.56mm weapon and so like the Marines and other services said NO to a new carbine. The millions wasted to when the Army finds out that M-4A1 PIP is just as good as a crappy plastic ACR they’ll cancel it then and waste even more money the Government dont have remember that’s money we buying from China.

Since no other service will follow this program most experts and gun maker already predict the M-4A1 will win in the end.

I Can’t Cut-it.

From what I’ve read here and elsewhere in recent months, the upgrades the Navy would like to add to the DDG-51 hull actually exceed the space and power constraints of the older design. The newer radar has a much larger antenna, the various combat systems require more power and the weight of the systems themselves contribute to decreased sea-keeping. Most of the upgrade systems are at main deck level and above. The original ship design parameters will not gracefully accommodate many of these upgrades simply for weight considerations not including power and space requirements. Truthfully, while the existing systems are not the very latest technology, they are very capable. Perhaps the best choice would be a battle group “hi-low mix” whereby one upgraded cruiser is the nucleus element with several older generation cruisers as support. Let the older ships get software upgrades that increase capability since that won’t involve major changes in the ships physical structure. Some combat systems can be upgraded without a weight or power penalty such as the upgraded SM-2 missiles. Granted, those missiles work optimally with the enhanced phased array radars coming on line but even without the improved accuracy of the newer radar, missiles can be launched from many platforms and improved software will lessen the impact of using the less accurate radar — because the older phased array radars are not that inaccurate. Technology is improving them, not necessarily obsoleting them.

One thing is for certain though. Aside from carriers, all Navy vessels burn fuel for main propulsion and the Navy’s support fleet is creaking with age. The USS Cole might not have been bombed had it been able to replenish at sea instead of putting into port in a country of questionable security but the combat support vessels were and are, few and far between. The Navy needs to shore up that segment of its fleet as much as it does upgrading existing cruisers. They won’t be much use without fuel.

Doesn’t have to be a new ship design, we have two active shipyards currently producing 2 major surface combatant hulls. If it cost, say, 50% the cost of new purchases to get 10–15 more years out of the CGs, we still have to spend 100% of the new purchase cost before those 10–15 years are up.

Much of the merits this discussion depends on two things not available to the public: the condition of the CG hulls being retired, and the cost estimate to keep them viable for another decade. One informs the other, the worse shape the hulls are in the more it will cost to get more years out of them.

Its exactly as Moose points out. In many cases with aging platforms its pay ~$50M to extend a ships life for an indeterminate 10-15yrs or pay ~$100M for a new ship that will last 30 years and that still carries the possibility of the same 10-15yr life extension. The reality is there is probably some optimization point in which you upgrade a certain number to meet short term demand, and build-a-new the rest.

If they modernize them , bring them to Bath for the work. Bath is screaming for work between the DDG-1000 issues and the DDG-51 restart. This would fit nicely into their timeline, and have the proven skill set to get the job done

They should keep them around and mothball some of the defanged frigates and destroyers that are now glorified gun boats. at the same time every carrier we have is capeable of an anti ballistic missile defense system being installed (as well as other weapon systems) with plenty of room and energy for it without having to remove other systems or perform mh&e upgrades.

$100 million for a new warship?

I have never heard of such a bargain.

Where can you get this discount warship?

1. Alot of people here keep saying that warships are just giant missile targets and will always lose to them. So why bother?
2. The Reagan Challenge. Are they asking for charity? They should “earn” that bailout they’re asking for, not ask for pocketchange from the public. Even so, how charitable can these people be?
3. But are they asking the common American taxpayer? hmmm

I’ve got a great idea, let’s retire those big nasty overbearing puffed up with too many weapons and scaring our allies and not understood enemies cruiser type WARships and replace them with a whole fleet of our super duper do anything warp drive happy happy joy joy bobbing up and down in calm seas nice big staterooms for everyone lots of room but can’t carry anything aluminum foiled high tech makes China happy do anything fully automated Star Trek consoled LCS that ONLY cost $1,866.3 million each*-what a bargain!

That would be a great idea-who’s with me


Yeah, try more like $1.5–2 billion. How many years of extended lifetime out of how many ships for the price of one new one?

Or possibly outfit the decom CG’s to serve the Coast Guard as a new Spruance Class national Security Cutter…just without Offensive Capability.…redo the superstructure’s properly (Hence BATH IRON WORKS).

Oh yes, because carbines are almost never used in modern warfare and it doesn’t matter that the Army continues to use a 1960s design that tends to jam in hot dusty environments, but hey, its not like there’s any chance of a ground war in a desert anytime soon, and where surface warships like cruisers and destroyers are engaged every day in heavy combat, firing hundreds of rounds a day at the enemy, and their 1980’s technology must be immediately upgraded.

Its not like a single cruiser or destroyer will cost more than the ICC or that the Army can buy a brand new carbine for each and every soldier for the same price as three new cruisers


@Rogelio… You’ll have big difficulty refitting Sprucans, as all (or nearly all) have been sunk or scrapped.

What about outfitting the defanged FFG-7’s to the US Coast Guard. They can use them as a Patrol frigate

What ever happen to the idea of turning a Burke DDG to a Burke CG. Their was one website that showed a design called the UNITED STATES INTERIM CG CLASS CG. It was based on the Burke variant that almost looks like a CG called the SEJONG CLASS DDG that the South Korean Navy operates. Maybe we can build a Burke CG out of a common Burke Hull. Much like we did to the Spruance Class and the Tico class.

Link http://​www​.jeffhead​.com/​a​e​g​i​s​v​e​s​s​e​l​s​o​f​t​h​e​w​o​r​l​d​/ne

@Nicky … According to the article linked below, in 2009, “Vice Adm. Barry McCullough told lawmakers at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that the fleet’s Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates’ hulls were rusting and wearing thin, that the ships couldn’t bear the weight of additional weapons or sensors, and that it generally wouldn’t be worth trying to extend their lives… And, after the hearing, McCullough described the long metal bars on the hulls of many frigates at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., which help strengthen metal that has rusted and thinned faster than engineers anticipated.“

So how much would it cost to retrofit a defanged FFG-7 to a patrol frigate standard

What! No takers? I’m shocked, shocked I tell ya. What are you all-a bunch of deep thinkers or something?

I’m going to shop this idea to the Navy brass, I’m sure they will go for it. ;-D

There is no design really much better than the M-4 and hay it works far better than a crappy Type 56 the Taliban uses you been brainwashed by politicians who want to drain millions into foreign guns and have American gun makers put of of business. You full of crap M-4 have 97% approval and is a 90s design not a M-16A1 from Vietnam pal.

How can we call ourselves Reagan Republicans if we sit quietly by during the most systematic and catastrophic cuts to an institution that Reagan helped build?”
If you blindly supported the administration of George W Bush, then you are no Reagan Republican. That administration spent us into financial ruin, ignoring the fact that Ronald Reagan raised taxes to pay for things, and mortgaged the future of this nation to a COMMUNIST dictatorship. The result, is that now we have to make VERY HARD choices, as our military was grossly misused, and is now at its lowest state of readiness since Viet Nam.

As a Canadian, who’s federal Government decided it was a GREAT deal to buy Upholder Class subs for the UK. For a cheap discounted rate. I advise the USA to NOT ever do this…ever.

It is the Democrate controlled Senate where the budget fails to pass. The House has actually passed MULTIPLE budgets each year.

so many arm-chair quarterbacks

I think the original Idea was to replace the Ticonderoga’s with the CGX, but then that got axed so now we’re they’re being replaced with the Block 3 Raleigh’s “in spirt.”

But more or less I agree. So long as it doen’t have the hull truble the Tico’s do.

Don’t worry gents, this Administration and Congress will figure out how to fund these and other issues…on the backs of us retired veterans!!

Go read some of the recent discussions on KitUp. The legendary unreliability of the M16/M4 is more legend than reality.…..

Those cruisers were built on the Sprucance hull with Spruance mechanical systems and they have not done well over their lifespans thus far. Lots of cracked and broken tank tops and leaks in the hulls and class-wide problems with some of the auxiliary systems. I’d like to see a small life extension that will give another 5 to 10 yrs and that will be mostly water-tightness and seaworthy type modifications. Thats not much time but will allow replacement ships which will probably be DDGs to be built.

I think your name should really be “Thank-(not)fullyretired”. You are the only one who sounds like you’ve actually walked the steel decks of a tincan. Your points of “hi-low mix”, seakeeping and the need to fuel these ships are not only real but central. I would also like to add the chilling thought that we will take casualties, there will be ships lost. If each new ship is a budget buster then we have bigger problems than we think. Better work on our world-view before someone wakes us from our world-dream. There are a lot of challenging areas out there in the real world and by far most are not land locked (or nearly land locked). Destroyers and cruisers operating independently are the cops on the beat. Oh, and by the way, carriers don’t go running around by themselves, they need the force protection of the small boys. If you add all of these things up then you start to realize we need to get the most out of every serviceable hull.

I guess I was a little long winded — but to finish— You need to design and build mission flexible, serviceable ships; and you do need to fuel, feed, and arm them while underway. Modernization of ships will not only extend the fleet but keep Bath sharp and busy (thanks Norm). Maintaining those skill sets are a national investment. And last, there is the Constitution to follow; Article 1: Section 8: Paragraph 13 “To provide and maintain a Navy”

If they agreed to mothball it, just sell it instead to some country who can use it like the Saudi Arabia, Philippines and Kuwait. The proceed can be used to make new and modern fregates and cutter boats and ships.


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