Home » Budget Industry » U.S. Navy Won’t Upgrade USS Fitzgerald to Baseline 9 Aegis Combat System


U.S. Navy Won’t Upgrade USS Fitzgerald to Baseline 9 Aegis Combat System

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) sits in Dry Dock 4 at Fleet Activities Yokosuka to continue repairs and assess damage sustained from its June 17 collision with a merchant vessel. US Navy Photo

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) won’t be upgraded to the latest version of the Aegis Combat System when it completes its repairs following a collision with a merchant ship off of Japan, according to Naval Sea Systems Command.

Instead of upgrading the combat system of the destroyer to the new Baseline 9 standard, which allows the ship to simultaneously take on ballistic missile and traditional air warfare threats, Fitzgerald will retain a legacy version of Aegis when the destroyer returns to the fleet after its planned repair at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss, NAVSEA said in a statement to USNI News.

Fitzgerald was already scheduled to undergo a midlife upgrade in Fiscal Year 2019, though the Navy intended to conduct a scaled-down availability that would cover hull, mechanical and electrical (HM&E) improvements but not a combat system upgrade to Baseline 9. Following the collision, despite the need to replace portions of the ship’s combat system, radar and electronics, the Navy decided to go along with its original decision to keep the ship in a legacy configuration instead of upgrading to Baseline 9.

“There are no additional DDG-51 Flight I ships planned to receive Baseline 9 upgrades. The USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) is capable of performing Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) operations and is planned to receive all FY19 scheduled alterations to include HM&E, [command, control, communications, computers, cyber and intelligence] and BMD upgrades during the restoration availability,” reads the statement.

The planned HM&E availability is estimated to cost about $170 million and will retain the legacy military computers instead of upgrading the destroyer with modern servers. The full mid-life upgrade for a destroyer would have cost around $270 million

In total, the final cost for the repair for Fitzgerald is estimated to run about $367 million and take more than a year.

The ship was severely damaged when it collided with a merchant ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan on June 17 resulting in the death of seven sailors. The flared bow of Crystal caved in the superstructure of the ship, crushing the radar face and twisting the metal of the superstructure. The bulbous bow of Crystal punctured the ship below the waterline and flooded the ship’s berthing and several machinery spaces.

Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) is being repaired at the U.S. Navy facility in Yokosuka, Japan, after its own fatal collision with a merchant ship off of Singapore that resulted in the death of 10 sailors. McCain completed its mid-life upgrade in FY 2015.

  • tim

    … so ~ $200 million “repair” damage – wow. I wonder when the time comes to build ships more similar to trucks, possibly assembling them like Lego ships. Using many prefabricated parts that can be used for many types in different configurations. The electronics, power, maintenance, kitchen ect units all interlocked with their own connection hole / water tight seals? It would make maintenance and operations easier and less costly. With prefab spares in hand, repairs shorter. Our Navy is big enough to at least warrant a feasibility study.

    • Horn

      This is actually a great idea, in theory. In practice it could have the potential to be disastrous. Most importantly though, you have multiple ship designs built by multiple yards. Unless the shipyard designers and shipyards become federal controlled, or someone has a monopoly on ship construction in this country, you will never see that kind of cooperation.

      Also, prefab didn’t really become a thing until the 90s and open architecture until the early 2000s. This ship was designed before both of those.

    • RDF

      That is standard shipyard procedure on a class basis. At least for 25 years or so. Its a “galley”, not a “kitchen”. Kitchens are on RV.

    • old guy

      When the shipyards let go of momma NAVY’S TEAT AND BECOME COMPETITIVE WITH OTHER YARDS OF THE WORLD.

      • Duane

        You mean, where our unsubsidized shipyards, paying American scale wages and salaries, are able to compete with other shipyards that pay third world starvation wages and are subsidized to the hilt, usually as part of their typical kleptocratic standards of open corruption?

        Yeah, must be.

    • Rhino601

      I just got off the phone with the CNO…he’ll call you tonight to discuss.

  • Western

    It’s been four months – certainly enough time to present a detailed time-line of events in the bridge of the Fitzgerald leading up to and after the collision. Where is the investigation?
    Where is the ACX Crystal investigation?

    • Fred Gould

      Could it be that that the blame would rest with decisions made by the USN leadership and the Pentagon?

  • Secundius

    I suspect it was because “Fitzgerald” was “Designated” as a Training Vessel and what the point of Upgrading a Vessel that used Primarily for Training…

    • Duane

      Please provide a source for designating the Fitz as a training only vessel. I haven’t seen anything to that effect.

      • Secundius

        According to “Navy.Mil” dated June 15, 2017, Out of 279 Ships in the Fleet ~47 (17%) were on Active Patrol and ~36 (13%) were on Training Duties. “The Maritime Executive” dated 207-07-29, 20:02:33 by Matthew Harper, Cdr., USN (Ret). Gave Five “Possible” Scenario’s of the USS Fitzgerald/MV ACX Crystal incident as a Possible Training Cruise gone awry, by misdirection of Orders and How Orders were carried out. No “SOLID” Evidence that, that what it was, other than a Plausible Scenario of the Incident…

        • Duane

          Well, so nothing claiming that Fitz was officially designated as a training ship, then. The fact that the Fitz may have been engaged in training maneuvers when the accident has nothing to do with the ship’s official designation. All US Navy ships train their officers and crews basically perpetually, through individual study, watch station quals, drills, organized exercises, certification evolutions, and specific training maneuvers. “Training ships” would normally not be forward deployed.

          • Secundius

            You had ~36 Vessels assigned to preform Training Duties!/? I doubt that ALL 36 Vessels would be preforming Training Duties in Home Waters. They’d be probably scattered to give the Best Possible Training Scenario’s available at any given time and to assure a Larger Fleet Deployment, even if ONLY “Window Dressing”. And considering that Navy.Mil DIDN’T List which Ships were Active and which Ships were Training…

          • Duane

            Bottom line, you have nothing that declares or reveals that the Fitz was officially designated a training ship … when her purpose was officially declared by the US Navy to be part of the global missile defense network of the Navy, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan as part of Seventh Fleet. Fitz was noted by the Navy to be participating in routine exercises with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces in June, the month she suffered the collision.

            Fitz was never designated a “training ship”.

          • Secundius

            And a Training Vessel CAN’T be assigned to a Routine Exercise?/! The Fastest Way to “Acclimate” an Untrained Crew is to Give them “Real World Experience”…

          • Duane

            You have nothing that says the Fitz is a “training vessel”. Just admit it.

          • Secundius

            If you’re conducting a Training Exercise?/! Doesn’t that Qualify as a “Training”1/? Whether the Crew is “Green” or “Blue”, Your Constantly “Training”…

          • Duane

            ALL US warships conduct “training exercises” as a routine matter or normal operations. Few US warships are designated as “training ships”.

          • Secundius

            Where did I say they were “Designated Training Ship’s”?/! I said they “Possible” Conducting Training on the Ship. Even “Navy.Mil” DIDN’T Specifically Name Ship’s as Training Vessels. They just said that ~36 (13%) were Performing Training Duties…

          • Da Facts

            You appear to be pathologically unable to admit error. Your exact quote was

            “I suspect it was because “Fitzgerald” was “Designated” as a Training Vessel and what the point of Upgrading a Vessel that used Primarily for Training…”
            You are wrong, and even when beaten with the reality stick, you refuse to lower your flag….

          • Secundius

            I also said “Suspect”!/? Suspect in NOT a Point of FACT but a GUESS. As I SUSPECT “Your a A**hole”, NOT that You ARE a A**hole…

          • Da Facts

            And what you are is self evident.

          • Secundius

            Would this have something to do about “Aircraft Carriers” doing Onboard Training while on Active Deployments…

          • Snoooopy

            While you’re at it, tell Secundius about apostrophes.

          • Secundius

            Why DON’T “YOU” tell me Instead?/! Instead of Hiding Behind Others…

          • El Kabong

            Meanwhile what did the last few carriers do before being decommissioned, Duaney?

            Start with the USS Midway and work from there trying to form a coherent excuse.

          • Duane

            Your response is senseless, dude. I did not claim there is no such thing as a “training ship”. Of course the Navy has training ship.s The Fitz has NEVER been designated a training ship.

            What’s your excuse for nonsensical responses?

          • El Kabong

            Dude?

            LMAO!

            Keep squirming.

          • Duane

            Trolls don’t make me squirm.

            Trolls make themselves squirm when they don’t achieve their required trolling objectives for the day from Vlad Putin’s troll factory in St. Petersburg. Too bad, you lose.

          • El Kabong

            I’m making you squirm.

            I can do that to trolls.

          • Duane

            Apparently you’ve never served on a US Navy warship, right?

          • RDF

            What a strange argument you two are having. Who is this person that knows nothing of shipboard life?

          • Centaurus

            I wonder if 50% of posters have served

          • El Kabong

            Bottom line, you have nothing.

            As usual.

          • Da Facts

            Seems to have more than you. The last carrier to be designated a training carrier was the USS Forrestal, AVT-59 in 1992. Only other that served was the USS Lexington AVT-16. Since then ALL carriers serve as ‘training ship’ in rotation, as part of their normal deployment cycle.

          • RDF

            This is a true statement.

          • Centaurus

            No, it was a “training” statement.

          • El Kabong

            Seems you can’t read.

            Nope.

            USS Kennedy was a training carrier.
            Antietam…
            Midway…
            Lexington…

          • Da Facts

            Yep, I can read. AVT is the naval designation as Auxiliary Training Carrier. Both Lexington and Forrestal were redesignated as AVT from CV, and served as training carriers. Other ships have been assigned training duties, which is not the same thing. USS John F Kennedy was designated as a Reserve ship in 1995, but retained her primary combat mission, as well as being assigned peacetime training duties, but was not designated AVT-67, because she still retained her combat mission. This concept was ended after 2001, and the reserve designation was removed.
            Doing further research, several ships were redesigned as AVT while laid up, but that was for an older designation of Auxiliary Aircraft Transport, no longer in use. 2 other vessels were designated (According to the Naval Vessel Register) CVT, AVT-3 Cabot and AVT-4 Bataan.

          • El Kabong

            Reading comprehension is a SOB, for you, clearly.

            “Other ships have been assigned training duties, which is not the same thing.”?

            LMAO!

            Could they DEPLOY?

            Nope…

          • Da Facts

            Swing and a miss! Yes, they could deploy, if by ‘they’ you mean the ‘other ships have been assigned training duties’. See, the whole thread started with Secundius suspecting Fitzgerald was ‘Designated a Training Vessel’ It was not. The US Navy has no designated ‘Training Vessels’ amongst the Burke Class. The US Navy for example, designated some Knox class Frigates FFT (for Reserve Training Vessels). When a carrier gets Designated a training vessel, it’s designation changes, from CV to AVT. That signifies, not only are they assigned training duties, but the crew and sometimes the ship is modified for the training mission. Combatant vessels are training all the time. Sometimes for a few hours, as a drill. Sometimes for a few days as an exercise. Sometimes they even get assigned to fill some part of the training pipeline, like with student pilots practice landings or midshipman cruises. But they remain a combatant vessel, not designated as a training vessel. Try submitting something constructive next time.

          • Secundius

            When you were in the Navy?/! Which Naval Ship’s did you Serve On!/?

          • Da Facts

            USS Albert David (FF-1050) and USS St Louis (LKA-116). You?

          • Secundius

            And Which States Side US Navy Frigate School and US Navy Assault Ship School did you Attend…

          • Da Facts

            There isn’t a Navy Frigate School or Assault Ship School. I did attend Basic Electricity and Electronics, Electrician’s Mate “A” School at Great Lake NTC and , Pre Nuclear Power School, Nuclear Power School at Orlando NTC, Unrep Electricians School, and Cargo Weapons Elevator School at Treasure Island, as well as 2 trips to Damage Control school at San Diego and Yokosuka.

          • Secundius

            And the Rest of your Training!/? On Ship I gather…

          • Da Facts

            Training never stops. Either someone is training you, or your training your replacement.

          • Secundius

            When I was in the Army as an Helicopter Repair and Ordnance Specialist, I was Constantly being Trained. Even as a W01, the Training Never Stopped for ME and Those I was Required to Train. Something NEW always came my way…

          • El Kabong

            Not even in the ballpark!

            “Yes, they could deploy…”?

            LMAO!

            The JFK was WORN OUT and not updated.

            Nice try, kid.

            Try submitting something constructive next time.

          • Da Facts

            The Kennedy was designated a reserve carrier in 1995, Its designation as such meant it was to train reservists, while also being available to deploy, thus remaining a combatant vessel. This was after a 2 year Complex Overhaul (Sep 1993-Sep 1995) at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. While designated a Reserve Carrier, she deployed for a Med-Persian Gulf cruise Apr 97-Oct 97 with CVW-8, and again Sep 99-Mar 2000 with CVW-1. In 2001 the Reserve designation was removed, and she deployed to the Med-Persian Gulf in Feb-Aug 2002, and again in Jun – Dec 2004, finally decommissioning in 2007. Yes, she deployed for 4 more major deployments. But don’t let facts get in the way of your opinions….

          • El Kabong

            Clearly, you don’t let the facts get in the way of your rantings.

          • old guy

            As I stated so was the “IWO” and the “Midway”.

          • Duane

            You’re just weird, dude.

          • El Kabong

            You’re just clueless, Duaney.

            Look!

            An LCS…

          • Da Facts

            Then as usual, you would assume wrong. Navy ships in general spend a significant amount of time training, both as drills and exercises while underway, and usually in local waters. Other then a couple LCS which have been formally designated to train rotating crews, and perhaps a MCM or PC or two, the Navy does not have training ships per se. Ships rotate through deployed, refit and workup (training) cycles.

          • Secundius

            I NEVER served in the Navy?/! So it was ONLY a Guess, Not a Point of Fact…

          • old guy

            Not completely true. I was the Director of R&D (SEA 003), When we rescued CV-41 (USS MIDWAY) from the stupid disaster of adding sponsons to bring her allowable displacement to 85,000 tons, Her roll period was still too low (15 seconds) to perform in all sea states, in a carrier group, so we committed her to the Med and used it, solely, for training.
            Get off Secundius’s back, you’re just nit-picking and he provides valuable data, very often.

          • Duane

            Nobody here is saying that the Navy doesn’t have and designate “training ships”. They obviously do and nearly always have. So your point about the Midway is both true and irrelevant.

            What we are saying is that Secundious claimed that the USS Fitzgerald was designated as a “training ship”, which as a point of fact, is not true.

          • Da Facts

            Which years are you referring to? She performed a number of typical post WW2 exercises to 1950, She did full Med cruises in 1950 – 1955, after that served in the Pacific until the end of her career. I spent a couple cruises chasing her around as plane guard. She most certainly wasn’t a training carrier in Vietnam, or while forward deployed to Yokosuka.
            Furthermore, I don’t recall her ever displacing anything near 85,000 tons, she was around 45,000 at commissioning and 64,000 at decommissioning. She received SCB-110 refit in 1955-1957 and SCB-101 in 1966-1970. Complaints about her seaworthiness came after the SCB-101 refit, but that didn’t preclude her from deploying to Vietnam in 1971. Are you referring to 1970-1971 when she was designated an attack carrier with CVW-16 assigned?

  • It might be because of the power requirements. But still what’s a hundred million more or less to do the upgrade. Me thinks my the current crop of Navy leaders have their heads up their butts. We need warships and more warships and less expeditionary whatevers and fast high speed transports. Warships are the name of the game. Can’t land troops if you can’t control the seas and inshore waters. SCPO(SW) USN Ret.

    • RDF

      Power Projection requires much more. Do you suppose after 200 years our Naval Leadership has forgotten all they knew? What do you think the probaility of you right and they wrong is?

  • US Navy is going about this the wrong way. Instead of spending Billions on new, highly sophisticated ships, they should look into building cheap cargo ships. Thus far, Cargo ships: 2, US Navy ships: 0.

    • RDF

      We did that with “liberty” ships in WWII. We know how to build lots of expendable hulls. We are not sure how to convince Sailors to man and fight same. Ideas? Shanghai? Chains? What do you think?

  • Secundius

    You might try “The Thai Military and Asian Region” Website!/? Their Extremely Informative on Information on Specific Topics of Interest. In Some Cases “Over-Informative” on Information…