Home » Budget Industry » CNO: Navy ‘Taking a Hard Look’ at Bringing Back Oliver Hazard Perry Frigates, DDG Life Extensions as Options to Build Out 355 Ship Fleet


CNO: Navy ‘Taking a Hard Look’ at Bringing Back Oliver Hazard Perry Frigates, DDG Life Extensions as Options to Build Out 355 Ship Fleet

USS Kauffman (FFG 59) decommissioning ceremony in 2015. US Navy Photo

Studies are underway to “take a hard look” at putting eight mothballed Oliver Hazard Perry frigates back into service as well as extending the life of existing Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers to help the Navy reach its goal of a 355-ship fleet, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said on Tuesday.

Speaking before an audience at the U.S. Naval War College, Richardson said service leaders were looking at “every trick” to put more platforms into the fleet including bringing back some Perrys into service.

“We’re taking a hard look at the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates. There’s seven or eight of those that we could take a look at but those are some old ships and everything on these ships is old… a lot has changed since we last modernized those,” Richardson said in a response to an audience question on how the Navy’s inactive reserve fleet could be used to grow the fleet.
“It’ll be a cost benefit analysis in terms of how we do that. The other part is how we do life extension and how do we plan to keep them out of mothballs longer. That’s going to be money in the bank if we do that.”

He said early looks at extending the planned service life of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers could help the service reach a 355 total ten to 15 years faster.

“If we plan now, for instance, to extend the life Arleigh Burke DDGs beyond the current projections, the initial returns are we could buy ten to 15 years to the left in terms of reaching that 350 ship goal,” he said.

In follow-up tweets to his remarks at the Current Strategy Forum, Richardson and a Navy spokesperson stressed the service was still in the early stages of formulating how it would reach the 355 ship goal and that the progress on the life extension program was more mature than reactivating the frigates.

USS Reuben James (FFG-57) in 2012. US Navy Photo

The service – currently at 275 ships – determined late last year that it needed to grow to 355 ships by the mid-2020s to keep a U.S. advantage over adversaries like Russia and China.

“It’s clear to get beyond that we’re going to have to start building, we’re going to have to build ships,” Richardson wrote in a white paper issued last month.
“And we’re going to have to look at extending the life of ships, we’re going to have to look at just about every way we can to increase our inventory of ships in the United States Navy.”

One naval analyst told USNI News on Tuesday considering reactivating the frigates was a sign of the stress the current fleet is under.

“The fact that this is being considered speaks to the strength and utility of the Perry-class frigate design, as well as the strain being felt by the fleet,” Eric Wertheim, author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World, told USNI News on Tuesday.
“While increasing maintenance and shipbuilding funding could help alleviate some of these challenges in the future, near term gaps still need to be addressed more immediately. Returning retired vessels to the fleet could potentially be one near-term solution, and it sounds like it is now being considered – among other options.”

USS Ingraham (FFG 61) prepares to moor at Naval Station Everett following a deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet. US Navy Photo

Bryan Clark, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and former aide to retired former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, told USNI News that the missions for the frigates would be limited and the cost would be high in reintroducing them to the fleet.

“The Perry class are going to be an expensive proposition to bring out of mothballs and maintain just for the purpose of going out and doing some presence missions,” Clark said.
“You’re talking about having to come up with a 150 billets for each of those ships out of an already stressed manpower pool. They’re also not going to offer that much in terms of combat capability. So if you bring them back, they’re essentially going to be like how they were when they left the fleet, which was as a theater security cooperation, maritime security asset.”

The last Perry left U.S. service in 2015 with the bulk of the class set aside for foreign military sale or dismantling.

Originally designed as a guided missile frigate, the class was a key platform for the U.S. during the Iran-Iraq War in the late 1980s and later was a key platform for anti-drug trafficking operations in U.S. Southern Command.

  • Haardcase

    USS Simpson (FFG-56) was the last operational FFG to decommission.

  • Maybe they should talk to the USCG on buying the National Security cutter and up gunning it to Frigate standards. The other option, is to talk to France on getting the FREMM Frigate in the French version.

    • Sons of Liberty

      FREmM is relaly a DDG. If we are going to do that then just increase Burke production.

      The idea is lower cost and a ship that can handle ASW, some AAW, convoy duties. We built the OHp in numbers all at a half dozen plus yards.

      • The other option is to talk to France on the belharra frigate or the UK with the Type 26 CGS or Type 31 light frigate.

  • RTColorado

    Perry class frigates would need significant upgrades…there’s an old and wise axiom about things costly more to upgrade then to build from scratch…don’t remember it ? Don’t feel bad, neither does the Navy.

    • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

      RTC. It all depends what you want the ship to do, and what capabilities it needs.

      I agree that upgrading OHPs into modern, frontline warships could be very expensive.

      However, all that the LCS currently provides is a low-end, show-the-flag type gunboat. If that’s all that is required – then the refurbished OHPs might be a good option.

      • RTColorado

        Since the beginning of the Cold War, the main protanganists have played an expensive and only sometimes necessary game of weapon systems escalation. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and its subsequent withdrawal from “Blue Ocean” submarine operations the US Navy decided it didn’t need frigates as there were no appreciable targets for the frigates to hunt. The resurgence of Russia and its submarine program has alerted the US Navy to the need for frigates once again…the real question becomes “Why a frigate and not just more destroyers?”…Well…that’s a good question, which we’re not going to get an answer to anytime soon.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          We cannot afford to have a surface battle force that is all DDGs.

          • RTColorado

            Agreed…but then we can’t afford a 355 ship navy either, but you’re correct we can’t afford an entire line of DDG’s either. If the US can finally wake up to the fact it’s the United States Navy and not the world’s navy, we might be able to find a navy that we can afford.

          • Sons of Liberty

            BS we are spending less historical than we have and have an economy approaching 20 Trillion.

            Even with all our commitments and the war on terrror we spend a little over 3% on defense.

            We spend almost 20% on healthcare. Where as The Uk spends 9.1% and Ger 11.3% & FR 11.5%.

            We spend more on Christmas (over 1 Trillion) as a nation than we do on defense. Spending on Halloween is more than the cost of a CVN.

            So we can more than afford it.

        • Sons of Liberty

          Cost. Frigates cost less. Frigates are great for convoy duty and small surface action groups.

      • ElmCityAle

        As opposed to LCS, which is limited in many ways and may well be best at exactly that type of mission?

      • Sons of Liberty

        In defense of the Little Crappy Ship it was never intended to be an FFG. It was a single olatform to replace patrol, mine, intel trawlers.

        But given the gost of making them go fast jet boats we have been sold a bill of goods that its a OhP replacement.

        The Danes got the LCS consept right with their Iver Huitfeldt Frigate & Absolon Support ship. Shared hull with modular systems that actually work at a low cost of between $225-300M.

        • Secundius

          In 2003 Prices!/? Try adding ~$197-Million MORE for the Replacement Cost of the Absalon class in 2017 Prices…

          • Sons of Liberty

            The ivers came after the Absolon and are full multimission capable Frigates not a support ship and only cost $325M in 2014.

          • Secundius

            They were also built to Merchant Standards and NOT Naval Standards. That why their So Cheap…

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      The LCS requires significant upgrades.

      The Navy have spent nearly 2 decades trying to replace their frigates and there won’t be a “true” frigate for another decade more.

      Does that sound cheap?

      • RTColorado

        There are two options with regards to ships the Navy procures….expensive ones and the more expensive ones. These two categories can be further sub-divided, ones worth the money and ones not worth the money.

      • USNVO

        The Navy replaced the war fighting mission of the FFG-7 long ago, it is called the Flt2A DDG. For the last 15 years, the sole mission of the FFxGs has been maritime security, primarily counter drug and show the flag type missions. Shoot, the FFXGs didn’t even carry RAM anymore at the end.

        If you want to upgrade them to do anything more than what they have done in the recent past, you are talking hundreds of millions each since they haven’t put money into them since Clinton was president.

    • Rocco

      Lol

    • Sons of Liberty

      Really so not upgrading the F15 or F16 or A10’is cheaper then buying F35s.

      Its never cheaper the argument is just twist to make it seem cheaper. Like the aurgurment above about crew coat. Total BS if we are increasing numbers we need people to man any new hull.

      But i forgot a $133M F35C cost less than 2 $63M FA18 E/Fs according to the new fuzzy math.

      • SvD

        You can keep a lot of old systems in service.

        Have you seen Boeings F-15 2040C proposal? It was projected to cost a maximum of 40 million per airframe and gets the F-15 double the missile load and brand new avionics to reach a service life end in the 2040s.

        180 airframes, 40 mil each, that is just 7.2 billion, with an annual budget of over 600 billion the Pentagon has no clue how to pay for these upgrades.
        It is still no real stealth fighter, but besides that, it would be better than the F-22 with its limited avionics and the air force is facing to have just the F-22 as air superiority fighter.

        I mean wtf.
        That is 1.2% of the annual budget to upgrade the fleet.
        A new F-15 is around 100 million with these upgrades.
        The F-35 is so bad, that the plan to upgrade over 300 F-16 was boosted to upgrade 841 airframes from 8,000 equivalent flight hours (EFH) up to 13,856 EFH !!
        End of service would be 2048.

        The B-52 is again considered for an engine upgrade, which could save a lot of fuel (30%), in-air refueling (and therefore tanker cost), and maintenance.
        Rand (Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command – not RAND Corp) is talking about 40 to 50 more years of service life.
        Also, the Air Force now wants to get sidelined C-5 Galaxy back into service, which means these oldies need new avionics and engines – upgrades which they missed in the past.

        There is no real will to upgrade certain systems, like the A-10 and no real pressure to do so.

        Mattis said, closing useless domestic bases would save the Pentagon 2 billion annually and get the Navy 120 Super Hornet Block 3 over the years. Or 300 Apache attack helicopters, or four Virginia-class submarines…
        But Congress loves these bases to fund some communities.

        Another report said cutting civil personnel in the administrative body and dropping expensive contractors could save more than 125 billion over 5 years. Since 9/11 the administrative body grew about 30%. But the Pentagon tried to bury it.

        Some called it some “hardly game-changing $25 billion a year.”

        No one paid for their OHP upgrades 300 million or more.
        It seems amazing that over 600 billion $ per year are not enough to spend some millions on the smallest things.

        Heck, the radar on the LCS, especially the TRS-4D on the Freedom class is capable of guiding ESSMs and I think SM-2 too. If the combat system is able to use them, it would be a nice fit.

        • E1-Kabong

          “It was projected to cost a maximum of 40 million per airframe…”

          PROJECTED.

          We all know how that story goes.

          • SvD

            A new Super Hornet is 65 million or something, so it should be possible to upgrade an F-15 for less.

            This upgrade/SLEP is solid, there is not much risk but it comes down to the numbers. Upgrading just a few airframes would skyrocket the cost.

          • E1-Kabong

            ???

            Not even remotely close to the facts.

            “…so it should be possible to upgrade an F-15 for less.”?

            Upgrade what?

            New wings?
            AESA radar?
            New ECM gear?

            “…there is not much risk…”?

            Ever hear of the Nimrod MRA.4?

            What happened to the AH-1W to AH-1Z plan?

          • SvD

            The Nimrods were unicorns, not built to a proper standard, so they were all slightly different and there was no way to get the same parts on every airframe.

            For the F-15, it is a well-known airframe and hardly the first time Boeing reworked the F-15.
            The F-15E is going to get some upgrades, so the F-15C/D can make use of these too!

            The main fuselage section, wings, conformal fuel tanks, new “quad packs” for the hardpoints, Talon HATE communications pods, replacing the older EW suite with the new Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS), and a new computer with cockpit displays are on the list. The radar is going to be replaced with Raytheon’s AN/APG-63(V)3.

            A lot of these things are already developed or in the works right now for the F-15E.

            That is why Boeing said, 30 to 40 million per airframe if the get a contract for all of them.

            Properly done, it is possible to strech the service life of almost everything.

          • E1-Kabong

            So, you agree that a ‘simple upgrade’ can turn into a MASSIVE overhaul.

            Speaking of F-15 forward fuselage longerons… *ahem*, *cough*

            Are ALL of those F-15 upgrades approved and being implemented?

            The AESA radar upgrade has been around and in service for years.

      • E1-Kabong

        Ships….Aircraft….

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Can the DESIGN of the Perry’s be the basis for a NEW production run with up-to-date systems? That makes more sense than just taking them out of mothballs and dusting them off.

    • Horn

      Short answer; no. The hull cannot meet today’s demands of a modern frigate; most were retired early due to hull fatigue or cracking. The internal bulkhead designs will no longer work. By then, you might as well design a new ship.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Well, the key word in all this is ‘basis’. The idea IS to design a ‘new’ ship but use the Perry as the blueprint..

        • DaSaint

          What would you keep? The single screw, single gas turbine propulsion system? The boxy aluminum superstructure? The obsolete air search radar and FCS? The old hull-mounted sonar? The poor firing arcs for the main gun?

          So what’s left? The ability to carry 2 H60 helos, tow a TASS, and carry two Mk32 triple tubes. Whats left sounds like the basic specs for a new FFG that will bear no physical resemblance to a Perry class FFG.

          I would NOT object to using the last 8 Perrys in the Caribbean or South America, but that’s it. No WESTPAC deployments, no MED deployments.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Seeing how it’s about getting NUMBERS into the fleet as soon as possible, and no doubt as (hopefully) inexpensive as possible to boot. you look at certainly keeping the hull. So what about the super structure, so long as it can hold and facilitate the operation of the equipment it will need to be effective? Certainly said hull can be lengthened and widened if need be. There were different hulls length-wise used for this class, just like the Spruance’s were the basis for the Ticonderogas. These ships were not retired only because of ‘fatigue’ or ‘stress’ on the hulls, the Navy also chose NOT to keep them ‘current’ and updated so that money would be available for other uses. They didn’t maintain them to repair ‘stressed’ areas on them.

            If an available sonar exists that will fit onto the OHP’s hull and is indeed more capable than the SQS-56, so be it, put it in! If not, use the old ones. They could carry a towed array, so put in a new one if it’s more capable than what the original ships carried. Or use the old ones if need be and they are still capable. Same for ALL systems. They could handle TWO Seahawk helicopters, so they have a built in aviation capability that can certainly be utilized and/or enhanced/augmented to operate various airborne drones. I think most of you missed the point about an UPGRADED design. Like the originals, don’t fantasize that AEGIS or some off shoot of that is viable. These ships, and this will probably be the case for ANY FFG designed or purchased, are not about ‘fleet air defense’. Their missions were ‘ocean escort’ and ASW. Keep it as cheap as possible. The Australian Navy sure seems to get the most out of the hulls they have. Why can’t a NEW, upgraded USN OHP have a VLS forward? Yes, there will be compromises like ‘gun arcs’ not optimized. So what? The Navy lived with that for several decades. Might the hull be lengthened forward to accommodate a gun and a VLS? That would free up the space where the 76 mm gun currently resides on them. That space can no doubt be utilized for something useful. This is about a potentially economical ‘stop-gap’ to put NUMBERS out there. These ships routinely and honorably deployed to ALL points on the compass during their time. It is a PROVEN design, unlike a few of the newer ship types that are so over priced and under performing that their use in combat is not a certainty.

            For all the supposed shortcomings of this class, when tested, they proved they can take a punch. And again, it’s about POSSIBILITIES of UPGRADING an existing DESIGN for NEW ship construction. To put SOMETHING up on the building ways that can serve for 15 to 30 years. It’s as fair and as good of a design to look at as is anything else being proposed!

          • DaSaint

            Here’s the bottom line: The argument will be how long it takes to return approx. 6 OHP to service, with their manning requirement vs. the time it takes to get 6 LCS of either variant in service.

            And since you like emphasis, there is 1) NO way that the Navy will reassign personnel who are already in a training pipeline for the LCS and move them over to man obsolete systems and sensors.2) the Navy will be reluctant to use the manpower for a Perry which equates to 2 LCS; 3) each OHP will require time, resources, and shipyard space just to bring them back into operational service. Remember, there is a backlog in our current public shipyards, and our private shipyards are working on other projects. Yes, there are yards that could do simple hull maintenance and machinery upgrades, but not wholesale system replacements. IF the SPS-49 were to be replaced, one would have to order a new radar – that takes time. They’re certainly not going to divert a system destined for an LCS shipyard. IF the FCS needed replacement, they would have to spec, bid, and order a new FCS. That takes TIME.

            It took between 18 to 24 MONTHS to upgrade each of Australia’s OHPs, and it cost well over $300 million each for equipping them to fire the SM-2 version of the Standard missile, adding an eight-cell Mk-41 vertical launch system for ESSM, and installing better air-search radars and long-range sonar. The USN WILL NOT spend that kind of money.

            So, as much as I like the Perry’s, it doesn’t make financial sense to perform a major systems upgrade. If on the other hand the aim is to get additional vessels on patrol as quickly as possible, then I would AGREE that placing 6 of them back in service with MINIMAL upgrades (software updates, machinery upgrades, habitability and environmental systems, etc. – defined as under $30 million each) may make sense for a 5 year stopgap effort, particularly as some other vessels need to undergo fleet maintenance.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            And yet again, all appear to be missing the point. NOBODY (except for some mentioned in the article) are advocating for taking any ships out of MOTHBALLS. The POINT is about NEW CONSTRUCTION of an upgraded version of this class. It’s as viable of an option to EXPLORE as is anything involving converting LCS’s into FFGs, or taking ships that are in other navies or in our own Coast Guard and modifying them to be FFGs. Certainly the capability exists to reduce the crew sizes in a new construction vessel. The Aussies have a more constricted budget than we do, yet they saw fit to spend the money to maximize their OPH FFGs via conversion. But again, I’m not talking conversions or modifications to ships residing in mothballs. I say LOOK INTO building NEW ships with upgraded capabilities. It’s not about doing things on the cheap, it’s about bang for the buck.

          • Sons of Liberty

            THat would be freat if we had the half dozen yards that built them still active. The OPH does have limitations and to build new would not make sense.

            We would be better off licensing a forgien design.

            The OPH hull and super structure doesnt have much execess capacity for growth. Sobut putting the existing ships back jnto swrvice buys time to develop and build a true Frigate inatead of an upgunned LCS.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            The number of shipyards is irrelevant. I didn’t see anyone advocating for a ‘buy’ of fifty or more of these over some short period. Those ‘half a dozen shipyards’ also are not available to transform any foreign or Coast Guard design into a viable FFG. The Bath yard where many of these ships were built, and where ALL were designed, is still in business.

            ‘Excess room for growth’….for what? It’s a stop gap measure involving NEW equipment on a NEW ship that has a BASELINE of the existing class. Everybody commenting on this STILL looks at it as a proposal to bring some of them out of mothballs, that is NOT what is being presented. And given how questionable of a job the Navy has been doing as far as their more recent endeavors in designing entirely new classes of ships (I am referring specifically to the LCS and the Zumwalts), building on a PROVEN design that served this country effectively and honorably is not something that should be lightly discarded.

          • Sons of Liberty

            You reasoning is off. Capabilities matter and the LCS doesnt have the same capabilities. Also AUS was trying to build a AAW Frigate we have burkes for that mission. Yiu need to look at Taiwan and Turkeys cost 120m fiven we have higher cost and some otherdifferwnt systems i could see 229M per.

        • Rocco

          Agreed!!

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        I’m sure the issues can be resolved while retaining the design.

        • Sons of Liberty

          The hull is arleady max not much room for growth.

  • Blain Shinno

    It only makes sense if the refit can be inexpensive and they install VLS cells in place of the Mk. 13 missile launchers which were removed long ago. Does it need a new fire control system? Maybe

    • DaSaint

      Agree on ESSM. And yes, would need a new FCS As it would have to be off the shelf, it would be the LCS FCS. Irony of ironies.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      What type of mission capability are we intending the FFG to have with a VLS? AW? SUW? ASW? The primary mission for VLS is AW, and with no SPY, this is going to really be subpar for that mission. Traditionally as well, FFGs were primarily meant for ASW. Primary weapon for that is not ASROC or MK32s, but the MH60R! For SUW, the new SSM or even a quad harpoon would work. I see no justification for the expense of a VLS.

      • Hugh

        And FFGs have twin hangars = 2 helos.

      • Rocco

        You got a point boats!!⚓️

    • Hugh

      The RAN FFGs have both the Mk 13 launcher with SM2 and Harpoon, as well as a VLS filled with 32 ESSMs, on the fo’cs’le.

      • ElmCityAle

        At the cost of practically a new ship, yes, but it’s the same old hull already stretched past weight limits. And with all that, it’s a second class platform with decades old radars and some shiny new consoles. No thanks and no way will it happen.

      • Lazarus

        and the first of those, HMAS Sidney, that completed refit in 2008, is already retired. The Australian FFG upgrade program spent $1.4b US to get 9-10 years life out of 4 ships that were already old. Two FFG’s had to be cannibalized to make that refit happen as well. Not good value for the US to emulate.

  • Jon

    LCS costs over $475 million each, for the bare bones “seaframe” in return for an expected 20 year service life. The actual cost is sufficiently over the publicly released $475 million figure that the exact figure is “classified”. Each LCS requires roughly 200 crew, stateside dedicated facilities on each cost, plus an extensive and expensive forward deployed maintenance capability. With each LCS costing almost as much as a DDG to operate. Any mission packages cost additional monies, up to $250 million even without the inevitable overruns. That puts the upfront costs of an ASW capable LCS around $750 million dollars, for a hull that is totally reliant upon its embarked helo for ASW, with a 20 year service life.

    We could spend $350+ million per OHP to refurbish and modernize, for 10+ years of service, and still come out ahead. In number of personnel required, cost up front, and in yearly operating costs. And have a far more capable ship.

    While putting out a new class of small surface combatant based on the proven/upgraded OHP hull, and lower costs by volume production.

    • DaSaint

      So let me understand this, you prefer to spend a third of a billion dollars to refurbish a dated, though respected FFG that by your account, may only last 10 years?

      And then send them to low threat environments. Like an LCS.

      • Jon

        Jethro Bodine math sez a third of a billion dollars for 10+ years of service life beats three quarters of a billion dollars for 20 years of service life . While putting 8 useful hulls back to work, at half the operating costs, and helping buy us a little time to build actual modern frigates.

        Or would you rather double down on failure, and purchase an equivalent number of “LCS-FF” for probably $1+ billion each once the dust, secrecy, and lies settle?

        • Al L.

          Yours is not an apples to apples comparison.

          LCS projected costs are what they are because they are crewed for doubled the deployed time: approx. 2 deployed per 4 ships. Historical OHP costs are based on its historical deployment rate: approx. 1 deployed per 4 ships. Operating costs of LCS would be substantilly less with a single crew deploying at half the rate. Hull life would also be increased.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Funny thing is: before LCS came along, ship drivers talked days underway – vice days deployed. I would argue the former is far more important than the latter.

            I’d be interested in seeing the availability of operations (Ao) rates of the LCS. It seems from reports that they spend a lot of time pierside in Singapore – even when supposedly “deployed”.

            I’m also highly skeptical that the LCS will make it to its expected service life (20 yrs?). The post-deployment pics don’t indicate they are aging all that well. They look like rusty garbage scows.

          • Al L.

            Days underway by it self is a useless measure. A ship that spends most of its days underway within sight of its CONUS home port has next to no utility to US foreign policy. A ship must first be deployed where a COCOM can utilize it before its days underway matter at all. Lots of days underway sailing back and forth to the forward area means nothing. What matters most is days available for use by the forward command.

            Now Mr. analyst why don’t you use your analytical skills, do a little math and tell us which would have more days available to a forward command: a ship class that’s forward 50% of the time but spends 60% of that time under maintenance or one that forward 25% of the time but spends 30% of that time under maintenance. Its not a trick question. It also tells you why almost everyone who is discussing how to get more out of the Navy we have talks more and more about forward deployment and less about days underway. We no longer need a Cold War Navy who’s primary job is to sail around in circles in the blue water ocean waiting for WW3. (except for the SSBNs, we need them sailing around in circles)

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I am not arguing with you in principal. Forward presence is a good and important mission.

            However “number of days forward deployed” is an insufficient and somewhat superficial measure when examined in isolation.

            What is arguably more important is what the ship was DOING while deployed. How many days was it underway? Did it interact with allies? Participate in exercises? Or was it largely non-misson capable (NMC) and stuck in port?

            An LCS that spends most of its “forward deployed” time tied pierside in Singapore (which appears to be the norm) hasn’t accomplished much of anything.

            We need a forward deployed combatant that is simple, reliable, and has the “legs” to cruise around for weeks at a time. And that can actual provide useful military capability if presence fails.

            Something like an OHP perhaps? It’s certainly worth studying.

          • Lazarus

            Good points. The most recent LCS deployments (Fort Worth and Coronado) featured a good deal of time out of Singapore. The LCS’ tend to operate more along the lines of FDNF ships in Japan rather than a traditional CONUS deployer. Unlike the 1990’s, there is not a lot of “box ops” such as patrolling the waters of the Southern No-Fly zone and the like. Forward deployed ships like Coronado and Fort Worth conduct exercises like CARAT and MALABAR, FONOPS (such as Coronado recently did,) and simple underways for weapon and engineering test and qualification. This is often the norm for non-CSG deployers.

        • DaSaint

          It makes no sense to pour that kind of money in a 30 year old, single-shaft, frigate hull. Period. Like it or not, you’re basically putting new build LCS money into the modification of an existing peer vessel. That makes no sense.

          If you want to take them out of mothballs, and maybe do $30M worth of engineering and software upgrades, and put them near the CONUS or Gulf of Mexico for counter-narcotics patrols, or South America, fine, despite the manpower requirements. But even then, you’ve got to do that for 5 years or less. Those hulls just wont take much more.

          Comparisons with what Australia and Turkey are doing are worthless. The Aussies were way over budget, but these were primary ships until their new Spanish-designed DDGs came on line. The USN would NEVER spend that kind of money on a Perry FFG upgrade. Again, if this is a 5-year stopgap measure, and you can put 8 ships back in the water for maybe $240M in total and find the manpower, then I’ll think this is a good idea.

      • Sons of Liberty

        Yes

    • Lazarus

      Disagree. There are plenty of hidden costs in trying to keep a 30+ year old ship designed for a 25 year life span operational. $350m might get an FFG back in service as is, but that means a platform no better than the baseline LCS sea frame.

    • Sons of Liberty

      Total LcS program cost for 40 ships without mission module is 26.7 B for an average cost of $666M. Current unit cost runs for units 3-40 runs 590M each.

      This includes 3.97B in R&D that includes purchase of first 2 sea frames and 22.42B for procurement of remaining 38 seaframes.

      When we factor in the mission modules the cost increase considerably for each ship. Given that full R&D cost are atill not fully known but estimated at 2.6B (procurement cost of 4.5B) You can expect these cost to rise higher.

      67 mission modules cost 7.1B. For an average unti cost of 69.6m.

      So 26.7B for the LcS + 7.1B for mission modules total cost 33.8B for 40 ships. 845M avg cost in 2017 dollars for full 40 ship production run.

  • Blue387

    The navy should look at other countries like Turkey and Australia on upgrading the Perry class frigates.

    • Ben Johnson

      That’s way way to logical. Why would you bring australias ASC on board to upgrade a class of ship its highly experienced in upgrading?

  • Ben Johnson

    A OP Class FFG with an Australian CEAFAR radar atop will create the most powerful FFG in the world next to the FFGs operated by the RAN.

    • DaSaint

      Not happening. Not for a low threat environment or presence mission.

    • Hugh

      Agreed!

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Hmm. CNO talking about (potentially) bringing back the OHPs. Yet another thing that Lazarus predicted would never happen.

    • Lazarus

      It won’t; just pandering to politicians.

      • Sons of Liberty

        No more likely setting up the taxpayer for a bigger blunder and fleecing.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    A bit of spit & polish and a some new toilet cistern blocks (if one is being extravagant) & it will still be better than the LCS.

  • David Gordon

    As far as personal go,why not welcome oldtimers back to the fleet? how physically fit do you really have to be? I was an ICman, at 55 I could carry out every duty as I did as a 20 yr old. There are folks out a work. Heck give me 30k I’ll sign up for deployment, as long as we stop in the Philippines for some San Miguel’s

    • Rocco

      Kudos!! I’m right there with you!! I had a buddy back in mayport FL that was on a Perry 81-82…. Really nice ship !!

      • MLepay

        I was privileged to serve on the Gallery FFG-26 (Egyptian navy now)and the Reuben James FFG-57 (Target practice I believe), both tops in their squadrons.

        • Rocco

          Thanks for your service sir!! I did 2 tours on CV-59!!⚓️☠️

    • Sons of Liberty

      The manning aurentnis a red herring used to kill the idea. If we are going tonincrease ship count we need men no matter. The issue is do we want them manning surviable gray hulls or the overpriced Little Crappy Ship.

      Never should have retiref OHP. Instead we shouldnhave trulybimvested in upgrading and getting the most out Of her

    • muzzleloader

      And a plate of lumpia!

    • Gen. Buck Turgidson

      Ill go back to vung tau,,meet my whaheenes granddaughter,,

  • Philip Kaiser

    Let me reup and I’ll be there. Get rid of the weight and physical standards silliness that only 20 somethings can meet. There are plenty of us out here that are STILL doing the exact same job the Navy trained us for and we have vast amounts of knowledge and experience that we have gained since leaving. Most of us would run over what is given now in training, discipline, leadership.

    • MLepay

      I would come back too.

  • aztec69

    It’s easy — bring them back and then only use them in areas where they would come up against ships at least as old as they are. They should be great in the South Atlantic, Southwest Pacific, Hudson Bay, Gulf of Mexico, etc. How many drones and those remotely controlled underwater vessels can you buy for what a dozen new DDs would cost? Course, you’d have to perfect AI robots to operate them because we won’t be able to afford the humans to do the job. But, hey, as long as there’s a real life four-star admiral friend of Fat Leonard to command them who cares?

  • Adrian Ah

    It’s a pity the US is hung up on designing and building at home. Surely if they let the UK or Australia build some ships, at least it stays within the friendly Anglo Saxan sphere of allies- the UK is almost ready for the Type 26 frigate and looking at the Type 31, and Australia has just ended building light destroyers and soon building their frigates (which are only 200 tons lighter than the “destroyers” they just built. The UK and Aust are practically spot on for timing. Finish the 32 LCS make work ships, and the other countries will be ready to build the US’s frigates.

    Or…make the LCS with smaller engines for a top speed of 30 knots. Will get an increase in range and relaibility.

    • Horn

      It’d be even more expensive in Australia and the UK. Have you seen the cost increases for the Hobarts?

  • Curtis Conway

    Never was a huge fan of the little, light, slow OHPs. However, after having steamed with them in the Med, Atlantic, and the Pacific I gained a tremendous respect for them, their crews, and their capabilities. There are numerous photos of a US Navy OHP in the foreground, with something huge and deadly steaming right on the other side of them. They were multi-warfare, and with that Mk13 shooting SM-1s up front they were still very deadly. Put an SM-6 without Mk72 boosters coming out of those Mk41 VLS cells and it would be even more deadly. They just need a 3D radar. Never was crazy about the OTO MELARA 76 mm. However, it performs quite well, and will do even better if upgraded with a guided projectile capable gun (DART/STRALES 76mm guided ammunition). Some had Tactical Towed Array System (TACTAS) so all should go there in upgraded fashion. The MH-60R will be a step-up, and they should also work with the RAST system when coming aboard in heavy weather.
    Our ‘new build frigate’ needs the same caliber gun the CG/DDGs have, so they can all use the same Hyper Velocity Projectiles (HVPs) coming out in the future. Every system on the OHPs should be better and a step up in capability on the new frigate, including ice-hardened hull. We can squeeze some more years out of the OHPs and grow the fleet quickly, but our new Small Surface Combatant needs to be just that . . . deadly and capable, and remain relevant for the next 40+ years.

    If the OHPs come out of Mothball, then we should look very closely at what Taiwan has done, and is planning to do, with theirs. The Australian and ANZAC Frigates are other cases in point for what can be done, particularly the Harpoon locations. A SLQ-32 upgrade, and EO/IR installation will be required, along with Link-16. Probably ought to upgrade the consoles to those new DRS multi-display workstations, and install some Large Screen Displays for the strategic and tactical pictures in combat and some other locations.

    • Rocco

      Agreed sir !! Nice piece. OHP’s used to be our ( FID ), escorts on deployment along with early Spreance class DD’s in the Med & In the Gulf. Very cool to hear a ship go by after replenishment that sounds like a jet!! Lol. I got to board one in Mayport had chow too boot! Nice layout of a ship. Very low profile as well. Hard to pick out on the horizon. But you could pick out a Knox class out with that big crows nest for a stack lol. One thing you didn’t mention if we make new OHPs is to give them double prop shafts if possible or a new screw with more bite!

      • Curtis Conway

        The US Navy needs to establish a floor capability of every surface combatant employing a non-rotating 3D AESA radar, even if it is a TRS-4D with four fixed array faces. Costs more, but in a TBMD and ASCM environment, one simply does not have the time to entertain a lower and time-late data rate when a supersonic ASCM is closing on its target.

        As for propulsion, the OHP will always have a single screw and rudder. The HM&E should perhaps be upgraded, but redesigning the propulsion system into two screws just ain’t happening on that hull. Buying a new hull would make more sense. Placing what is on an OHP on an NSC would be interesting. Then we have all kinds of room for the upgrades and additional support.

  • BlueSky47

    Here’s what we know about the OHP vs LCS 1. the OHP can take a huge punch and live to fight another day, the LCS-a large fart will sink it. 2. they can be upgraded and modernized via the Aussi model, the LCS, is currenlty overweight, nothing works as planned, and it can’t do anything beside steam around and break down. 3. The OHP is still a better platform than the NSC option, with TACTAS, upgraded SAM, radars, electronics, it can be a powerful and effective platform, with the ability to take on DDG missions-the LCS, not in our lifetime.

    • Rocco

      Agreed!!

    • Sons of Liberty

      Amen

    • Lazarus

      OHP’s Stark and Roberts survived because: 1) no one continued to attack them after they were first hit, 2) help was nearby and unimpedef by enemy action, and 3) the calm seas of the Persian Gulf made damage control much easier than in the open ocean. Had one of these three factors not be in place, either ship might have suffered the fate of HMS Sheffield.

      • BlueSky47

        fyi, in damage control situations, it’s all on the ship’s own crew, another ship alongside can do little to help, and perhaps the biggest factor in their survival was their training and tremendous efforts put forth in saving their ships

  • Rocco

    Anyone recall the name of the Perry class that was used for target practice buy everything under the sun & took like 6 plus hr’s to sink on the west coast last yr?

    • Horn

      Yeah. It had no fuel or ammunition to feed the fire.

      • Rocco

        Made no sense!!

        • Horn

          Exactly! I wanted explosions! Where were the uncontrollable fires?

          • Rocco

            Either answer my question or don’t bother!!! …..Ed already did!

          • Horn

            I’m sorry. I guess you didn’t understand my comment. Despite the fact that there wasn’t any damcon, these ships can’t really take a punch and I feel Thach’s survivability during testing has been vastly overhyped. The Thach didn’t have any fuel, munitions, or aviation fuel on board that could cause more fires or secondary explosions. All doors and hatches were sealed, aiding in compartmentalization. Ventilation was closed, reducing the chance of internal fires spreading.The target wasn’t moving, which is why the bow didn’t break off from the torpedo hit. I would bet money that if the torpedo had hit the Thach amidships, the exercise would have ended much sooner. Look at the sinking of the HMAS Torrens or the USNS Kilauea for perfect examples of a devastating torpedo attack.

            I may be responding to the wrong person but the FFG-7s should not be brought back. The money can be better spent elsewhere. Sorry, but I took your question/comment as an endorsement to the survivability of the FFG-7 class.

  • Ed L

    USS Thach (FFG-43) Commissioned:17 March 1983 Decommissioned:1 November 2013 was sunk fifty-five miles north off the coast of Kauai. Despite being hit by at least four antiship missiles, bombs, Hellfire missiles and a torpedo it took twelve hours to sink. She didn’t even make it to her 30th. If they bring the OPH back, I think they should take the forward missile launch and build a raised deckhouse over it so a 24 cell VLS could be install. with a couple of those remote MK38 with 25mm chain guns on a raised platform forward of the superstructure but aft of the VLS. I like guns on a ship the more the better.

    • Rocco

      Thanks Ed , I forgot the name of the ship. Even a B-52 couldn’t sink her. I agree with you as well with black but I’d like a 5″cannon on the bow as well!⚓️

    • CHENG1087

      It’s a shame that, at about the tenth hour in that all-out assault on THACH, someone with some forethought didn’t step in and say “cease fire.” What was the point of the SINKEX? Watching the smoking hulk of a stationary sitting duck slip beneath the sea? Or was it to exercise the professional “shooting” skills of aviators, surface warriors, and submariners? Seems to me those trigger-pullers did a pretty good job, and we probably proved that point after ten hours. But NEUTRALIZING a warship’s offensive capability is the point of war-at-sea, isn’t it? Was it necessary to see her crumpled hull finally sink? Wasn’t there something of value to be learned by sending structural design experts aboard her hulk to discover WHY she didn’t sink after all that ordnance was expended?

      That proud veteran ship — though totally immobile and defenseless — was able to shrug off an overwhelming three dimensional assault. The survival of USS STARK (two Iraqi Exocet missiles) and USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (Iranian mine) spoke volumes about the heroism and damage control prowess of those two fine crews. The survival of the inert THACH after such an incredible pounding spoke volumes about the fundamental design and construction of a ship built to warship, rather than commercial standards.

      One very valuable mission of any SINKEX is “lessons learned.” What did we learn from the dismembering and sinking of that good ship THACH?

    • Sons of Liberty

      Sinkex is ashame but does show how tough and reslient the OHP is. I cant see the LcS standing up the same way.

      • E1-Kabong

        Did it have fuel and ammunition on board?

        Not representative of the class….

    • E1-Kabong

      A ship with empty magazines and no fuel on board….

  • Secundius

    With exactly WHAT?/! There are ~5 Semi-Operational “OHP’s” in the Mothball Fleet (for Foreign Service), 6 Non-Operational destined for “Scrap” and 1 “Splicer” by way of Target Practice…

    • Sons of Liberty

      An even dozen. Perfect makes for a good sized capable flexible surface warfare group.

      Bigger than most countries whole navy. The UK would kill to have 12 Frigates. Of thier planned 19 ship surface fleet theybonly have 15-16 operational ships right now. And that the Royal Navy. Italy has one more frigate than that with 11 but more than half are Maestrales built in 1980. So are older than the OHPs and operting longer.

      • Secundius

        One is “Gutted” and is expected to be Used for Target Practice, 6 are Scheduled to be Cannibalized of Spare Parts for Foreign Sale and 5 are Semi-Serviceable and are Scheduled to be Transferred into Foreign Service. Probably Taiwanese Naval Service…

        • Sons of Liberty

          Navy says 8 are good to be pulled. So assume some allies dont get the Surplus.

          • Secundius

            We’ll just have to See if the Navy’s Right, Won’t We…

  • Curtis Conway

    Like the CEA radar, and that combat system has seen some service. That little ANZAC Frigate is quite a package, and instructional for our new frigate. We should pay attention.

  • Secundius

    Unless the US Congress repeals the “Jones” Act of 1920, there WON’T BE “Any” foreign Naval Ship purchases…

    • CHENG1087

      How did we get around the Jones Act with the three USS EDENTON class ATSs (EDENTON, BEAUFORT, AND BRUNSWICK) — all built by Brooke Marine, LTD in the U.K. In the early-1970s?

      • Secundius

        Most likely reason is because they were originally bought by the US Army Corps of Engineers!/? US Army isn’t restricted by the “Jones” Act of 1920. And currently the USACoE has a Fleet Strength of ~273 Ships

    • airider

      The point of the Jones act was to ensure our ships are built here. Since these ships were built here, the Jones act doesn’t apply. This circumstance is very similar to the “Ayatollah Class” DDG’s. U.S. Navy had to pay to complete the Kidd’s so the precedent exists to acquire foreign naval ships that are/were built in U.S. shipyards.

      • Secundius

        One “Slight” Problem to you Theory?/! The “Buy America” Act of 1933, which Favors ANY and ALL American Designs before ANY and ALL Foreign Designs. All any American Design has to do, is Pass the 51% Threshold of Acceptance to Win. Even if Their (Foreign Design) is better than ours…

  • NPC#OU812

    Spruances would have been perfect to bring back. Too bad, in their infinite wisdom, they sank them all.

    • Secundius

      You could always Trade Four “Arleigh Burke’s” for the Four “Kidd’s” that are in the Taiwanese Navy’s Service. And use those as a Template for any future “Spruance” class build…

  • JohnQTaxPayer66

    No matter what the new ship builders say the cost to return a half dozen FFGS to service to fill roles for sourthern command and anti-piract efforts will be a steal compared to LCS. Even if we have to replate the hulls it’s still a deal of the century. Foriegn militaries have them upgraded with VLS, we should follow that path.

    • Rocco

      Copy that!!

    • Sons of Liberty

      See thats the issue it not a big new order for HI or Bath. Doesnt so anything for thier stock.

  • seamarshal

    If the Coast Guard can run their ships 40-50 years why can’t the Navy? The Navy always wants NEW. Sorry, upgrade the 25-35 year old ships and keep them running for another 15 years. They won’t sink!!

    • DaSaint

      Using your argument, the Coast Guard should upgrade their two heavy icebreakers, right? Not happening. You can make the argument all you want, but when per vessel modernization costs exceeds 50% of the cost of a new comparable vessel, it’s a non-starter.

      There is no way the USN will allocate over $1 Billion with a capital B to bring back a half dozen Perrys. After all, in some cases they’re getting $100 million for selling them to foreign navies.

      Not happening.

      • Sons of Liberty

        Yes to cost effective for them to make the right decision. Not to mention screw their post retirement jobs.

      • seamarshal

        100M per ship! I highly doubt it when we give away those ships fora buck! How many ships can you buy for $1 B. maybe 2! For 1 B you can have 6. Doesn’t that make sense to you. Makes sense to the taxpayers!!

  • RobM1981

    this is a negotiation tactic. There are at least five better ideas, but they won’t scare John McCain as much as this absurdity.

    Ignore them. Better yet, fire whoever worked on this proposal. If they have time to do this nonsense, then clearly they are not necessary personnel. Call it a cost saving measure

  • Mark Jasek

    There are many reason to bring these ships out of inactive service and many reason to keep them there. As long as the manpower is there, I think a gradual return of a few of these ships would be beneficial. I am in total agreement with Big-Dean that it can be done and would be a effective platform for another 20 years.

  • Ed L

    The Perry Class became the red headed stepchild of the Navy Brass a long time ago, with their abilities being overshadowed by glitzy AEGIS capable destroyers and cruisers. As a result, the ships have been starved of funding and major upgrades over the last couple of decades turning them into what some call the ‘Ghetto Navy.’
    The Perry Class lost their area air defense capability well over a decade ago, with the SM-1R missile needing upgrades along with the ship’s combat systems to keep viable. Of course the money was not allocated for this upgrade so their rotary missile magazines were removed and their Mk13 single arm missile launcher turrets were welded over and a chain-gun was tacked on in their place.

    In retrospect, this was an incredibly stupid idea as other nations have not only efficiently upgraded the Perry Class’s sensors and combat information system but they have also upgraded the Mk13 launch system and magazine to accept powerful SM-2 ‘Standard’ surface-to-air missiles. Not only that, but Turkey’s G-Class has also added an eight cell Mk41 Vertical Launch System to their ex-Perry Class frigates, giving them a whopping 32 long-range SM-2s Standard missiles and 32 ultra-modern and deadly Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). Even a set of RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile tubes were added to this US tuned Turkish frigate to give them a long-range over-the-horizon anti-ship punch. In essence, an upgrade like the G-Class gives these ex-Oliver Hazard Perry Class Frigates the capabilities of a pocket destroyer, one that can safely escort a flotilla and provide area air defense even in an intermediate threat environment.

    • ElmCityAle

      And even with all of those upgrades and cost, the platform is still based upon a limited radar, a decades old hull, and many, many other issues that the old timers and frigate fan-boys in these comments are ignoring. Those updates all might well have made sense 10-20 years ago – but no longer. It’s time for new designs with modern equipment; if and how the LCS hulls fit into the puzzle is yet to be determined (per the infinite other comment wars about them).

      • Sons of Liberty

        Ah new clean sheet design is what got us into this mess. Between the LCS mess and ad the zumwalt to the list. New deisngs take decades and drive cost beyond whats reasonable for a Frigate.

        The LCS at an average cost with mission module of 845 M is foolishness on steriods. And to pay a kings ransom for an upgunned LCS/Frigate is juat flushing a Billion plus dollars down the drain.

        Compared to 120-200 M refurbishment plan for Perrys. At the least it buys time to develop or license a proper frigate design to get into production and theough RDE&T.

  • Sons of Liberty

    About time the CNO made this move. Never should have mothballed them for the Pos LCS.

    Better yet let follow the led of forgien mabies and refurbish them to include VLs and we can get 15 years out of them at less cost then a LCS.

    • Secundius

      Unfortunately there are ONLY 5 Semi-Serviceable “OHP’s” in the Mothball Fleet. Which will that at least 18-months to make them Fleet Ready…

  • If we do bring back the Perry’s, I’d say we modernize them in the Version of Turkey, Spain and Australia.

  • Lazarus

    Too expensive an option for the USN to pursue.

    • airider

      With no analysis to back it up….

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    4 stackers ,,

  • Rob C.

    I served on a Perry-Class ship and knew few who also servered on them when the Gulf Tanker War was happening. These aren’t safest ships to be on due to their aluminum construction. Also the remaining ships are lacking their Mk 13 missile launchers, that made them well…functional as guided missile escort. To see Ingraham without it, seems to be pointless to use her other than a coast guard cutter. I’d rather see the full-size Freedom Class Frigate (the export variant that larger, has VLS missile tubes, 3 inch gun) than see money poured into the ship.

    I have serious doubts that the Navy going install a Mk 41 16-cell launcher on this thing to make it be able to conduct it’s original anti-air missile mission.

  • Gabriel Soares

    The older OHP-class are no doubt better platforms for low intensity zones than the current LCS yachts – whose concept is good but bad executed. USN will no doubt readopt frigate-type vessels for lower duties in peacetime (why send a 1.8 billion dollars ship to hunt pirates in Somalia?) and second-line missions in wartime according to a high-low fleet concept, and the OHP is a good idea today before the adoption of more modern classes similar to those used by some nordic navies and the japanese.