Home » Aviation » UPDATED: FY 2018 Omnibus Bill Boosts Shipbuilding $3.3B Over Pentagon Request; Expands F-35, Super Hornet Buys


UPDATED: FY 2018 Omnibus Bill Boosts Shipbuilding $3.3B Over Pentagon Request; Expands F-35, Super Hornet Buys

The omnibus funding bill will fund the completion of Ford-class carrier John F. Kennedy, more F-35Cs, MQ-8C Fire Scouts, the first LX(R) amphibious warship and three Littoral Combat Ships. USNI News Image

This post has been updated to include the Senate’s passage of the omnibus spending bill early on Friday morning.

Congress showed significant support for Navy shipbuilding in its defense-heavy Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus budget deal that emerged this week, adding $3.3 billion for five additional ships to support Navy fleet growth and industrial base needs.

The omnibus spending bill covers the current fiscal year, which is still being funded with a continuing resolution, and comes just days before another government shutdown deadline.

The appropriations bill, passed by the House on Thursday and the Senate early Friday, sets aside $23.8 billion for the Navy to procure 14 ships – five more than the service requested in its original $20.4 billion shipbuilding ask.

The additions include one more Littoral Combat Ship, bringing the total for FY 2018 to three. The bill also increases funding to start what is likely to be the first-in-class next-generation LX(R) amphibious warship, adds money for a fourth Expeditionary Sea Base a year earlier than the Navy intended, and funds an additional Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport.

Highlights from shipbuilding and conversion line:

  • $3.35 billion for two Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers (DDG-51)
  • $3.30 billion for two Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines (SSN-774)
  • $2.32 billion to complete the refueling and complex overhaul USS George Washington (CVN-73) and start advanced procurement for the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) RCOH
  • $2.14 billion to complete funding of Ford-class carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
  • $1.80 billion for the first next-generation LX(R) amphibious warship
  • $1.71 billion to complete big-deck amphibious assault ship Bougainville (LHA-8)
  • $1.57 billion to begin construction of Ford-class carrier Enterprise (CVN-80)
  • $1.56 billion for three Littoral Combat Ships
  • $862 million for Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile sub advanced procurement
  • $635 million for a fourth Expeditionary Sea Base
  • $524 million Ship-to-Shore Connector landing hovercraft
  • $458 million for a John Lewis-class (T-AO-205) fleet oiler
  • $225 million for a Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport
  • $216 million for the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG-100) program

In aviation, the bill includes $19.9 billion for procurement of new aircraft – $5 billion more than the Navy requested for FY 2018, according to the bill.

Highlights in aviation expenditures:

  • $10.2 billion for 90 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft across the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps
  • $1.8 billion for 24 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft
  • $1.7 billion for 10 Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft
  • $1.3 billion for 14 Bell-Boeing V-22 aircraft
  • $84 million for six Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout UAVs

According to a Senate summary of the bill, the agreement adds six Navy-variant Lockheed Martin F-35C JSFs to the Navy’s ask, for a total of ten, and adds four Marine F-35Bs, bringing the total to 24.

The deal also adds four Boeing P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft over the Navy’s ask for six, and adds ten Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighters over the service’s request of 14, according to a House summary of the bill.

Congress also kept open the line for Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned rotary wing aerial vehicle, including funds for six additional UAVs.

The massive $1.3-trillion spending bill was passed by the House on Thursday and early on Friday by the Senate. The bill pumps an additional $15.5 billion over the administration’s ask for the Defense Department, bringing the total to $654.6 billion. President Trump must sign the bill by midnight Friday to avert another government shutdown.

  • NavySubNuke

    Well at least we – finally – have something. It is good to see the combat power being added to the fleet via the carriers, F-18s, F-35s, DDGs, and SSNs.
    I’m sorry to see so much being wasted on more LCS but I understand that pork like that is the price of getting the votes the rest of the Navy needs. At least those ships will add jobs to the districts that contain their shipyards and the sub-contractors who build the components even if the ships will add nothing to the fleet in terms of combat capability.

    • Chesapeakeguy

      Hopefully, that $216 million for the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG-100) program will pay for a couple of rounds of ammo for them!

      • Ctrot

        In all seriousness I hope it goes to modifying the Zumwalt class guns to handle the Army’s M982 Excalibur 155mm GPS guided shell. I also hope I win the Powerball, which is probably more likely than my first wish.

        • Ser Arthur Dayne

          I agree with you but apparently that is not happening. An article on this very website from a few months back said that the Navy has basically given up on the AGS… apparently the barrels of the AGS are unique to the LRLAP, and because of the way the (very, very expensive, custom-made & specifically-designed) barrels are made and with very low-level, specific rifling, they can’t use them for the Excalibur or anything else but the LRLAP (which was also cancelled, due to the $1-million-per-round cost.) Apparently now the plan is to literally do nothing, and just wait while “monitoring industry” to see if someone randomly comes up with an LRLAP-alternative that both works with the AGS and does not cost so much. —- My own personal belief is you’ll see the last DDG-1000 ship, the USS LBJ, have the AGS’s deleted and the ship redesigned (sort of like the USS Jimmy Carter vs. the other 2 Seawolfs) for VLS … I heard that they could fit something like 275 VLS cells on a Zumwalt if they took out the AGS and they used some of the space on the flight deck. It’s already going to be an even-more neutered version of the Zumwalt-class since they’re going with steel rather than composite structures which will raise the RCS even more. Really, just an absolute disaster of a program.

          • johnbull

            It’s great that we finally have something of a budget and better yet that it addresses shipbuilding needs. WRT the Zumwalts, that program may be a bigger train wreck than the LCS, and that’s saying a lot. The best that can come of it is that the design somehow becomes the genisis of other ships, like a follow up cruiser.

          • Duane

            It is quite common that a new ship design that is a radical departure from predominent designs is built in small numbers, to allow for learning and experience and continued design development to be applied to a large production run. That’s how we developed SSNs, building and deploying only one or a handful in each successive class until we finally produced a large run of 637 class boats. What we learn from the Zums will be applied to the future large surface combatant class now in early design development.

          • El Kabong

            Explain the Little Crappy Ship debacle.

            Pumping out ships that should use the Chines name “Junk” would be appropriate.

          • Duane

            LCS was a little different in execution, but the same principals of limiting production runs while the designs are refined were still applied. Two very different design approaches were built and tested simultaneously in just 2 ships for each variant of LCS. The lessons learned on the first four ships resulted in quite a few design tweaks that were subsequently adopted in one 10-ship block buy for each LCS variant. Then the final step in design refinement was planned to be a down-select to a single variant for the final 20 ship buy. That last step, the down-select, was then reworked to become what is now the FFG(X), which will end up being a larger ship with an area air defense capability in the form of a VLS.

          • Dean687

            Never in the history of the US Navy have we built 32 of a class just for ‘testing’ So what you’re finally admitting is that he LCS has been an total failure. Nothing you can say going forward will change that fact.

          • El Kabong

            “LCS was a little different in execution…”?

            LOL!

            There’s an understatement.

            Like the Hindenburg had a little incident.

            Or Pearl Harbor was a minor raid.

            STILL waiting for those “modules” to appear….

          • Todd

            as long as there’s massive profit in modules for Lockmart, we’ll be ‘waiting and waiting’ for those mythical modules to appear

          • El Kabong

            Those modules are imaginary.

          • Dean687

            Answer this if you can
            1. What was the Spruance class doing 14 years after it launched?
            2. What was the OHP class doing 14 years after it launched?
            3. What was the Knox class doing 14 years after it launched?
            4. What was the Arleigh Burke class doing 14 years after it launched?
            5. What was the LCS doing 14 years after it launched-oh that’s right NOTHING.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            I wholeheartedly agree. Well said.

          • Duane

            Beyond that, the Navy has decided to change the primary role of the Zums from close in land bombardment to area air defense, both of bluewater CSGs and of littoral ARGs. So the guns are not useful anyway. Presumably the LRLAP guns will get changed out for another weapons system, likely the new railguns.

          • ShermansWar

            That is not what they said, Mr. always wrong, they said they were being re-purposed for the surface attack role. They don’t even carry the most advanced radar, and can’t do missile defense, as their systems are best suited for nothing bigger than SM-2 for air defence. You can stuff a bigger missile in their silos, but they don’t have the radars to use such missiles to max effectiveness.

            it’s a ship in search of a mission, just like the LCS, bottom line.

          • Duane

            The Navy declared the new role for the Zums … look it up dude, “Mr. Always stubbornly wrong”. it was reported widely including here on USNI. Repurposed for “surface warfare” which includes both defensive and offensive SuW. Which by definition includes area air defense.

            The Zums can deploy any missile that can be fired by a AB or Tico out of a Mk 41 VLS, incl. any SM series, using its Mk 57 VLS. The Mk 57 is totally backwards compatible with all Mk 41 missiles, and can also fire next gen SAMs and SSMs that are a bit larger than can fit in a Mk 41. The Mk 57 on the Zums is the next gen version of the VLS.

            The Zums may not feature AEGIS but they do have air and volume search radar sensors, and if serving with an AEGIS equipped AB or Tico in a CSG or ARG, their SAMs can be launched on networked direction of the AEGIS ship. In effect, the Zum serve as an arsenal ship for the CSG providing an extra 80 tubes, and ditto in one of the new “upgunned ARGs”.

          • El Kabong

            “The Navy declared the new role for the Zums … look it up dude..”?

            Back up your silly claims, Duaney.

          • ShermansWar

            No, he’s right, they did, he’s just mistaken as to what they said.
            They said : Surface strike.
            They did not say: Air defence.
            Here is the quote

            “The Navy is revamping the Zumwalt-class destroyer’s requirements and will morph it into a focused surface strike platform, the director of surface warfare (OPNAV N96) told USNI News today.”

            From an article by Megan Eckstein, dated Dec 4 2017, right here, on USNI.

            He is, as always, wrong.

          • Duane

            “Surface strike” includes area air defense.

            Please provide the tiniest bit of backup for your obviously wrong statement that Zums are incapable of firing SM series SAMs or lack air defense sensors, and cannot serve in that role with CSGs or ARGs. You are completely wrong.

          • ShermansWar

            …. You’re killin’ me…..

            Just stop.Have some decency. Have some dignity.. You didn’t say it’s mission was surface strike, and that that included AA ( an absurd assertion on the face of it, only in Duane land is black called white) you said it’s mission was area anti air. You are unhinged, sir.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            That’s quite a stretch. Especially since there is nothing out there (at least that I can find) that supports that contention.

            This is from the Feb. 21, 2018 issue of The Diplomat. The article it is from is titled “US Navy’s New Stealth Destroyer to Be Fitted With Ship-Killing Missiles”.

            “The decision to change the mission requirements of the Zumwalt-class
            from a land-attack platform to surface warfare took place in November
            2017, although the option to expand the stealth destroyers’ mission set
            by arming it with new long-range anti-ship missiles has been
            periodically discussed since the inception of the Zumwalt program in the 1990s.”

            “After a comprehensive review of Zumwalt class requirements, Navy decided in November 2017 to refocus the primary mission of the Zumwalt
            Class Destroyers from Land Attack to Offensive Surface Strike,” the
            2019 U.S. Navy budget request reads. “The funding requested (…) will
            facilitate this change in mission and add lethal, offensive fires
            against targets afloat and ashore.”

            Now, this same article does say that the Navy is looking into integrating the SM-6 into the weapons load of the Zumwalts. However, the article makes it quite clear that they are looking at the SM-6 mainly, perhaps only, as an anti-SHIP weapon.

            “Zumwalt-class warships, the U.S. Navy’s largest and technologically most advanced class of guided-missile destroyers, will be fitted with new long-range anti-ship missiles, according to the service’s 2019 budget request released on February 12.

            The U.S. Navy’s $89.7 million request to integrate Raytheon’s SM-6 long-range supersonic missile and the subsonic long-range Maritime Strike Tomahawk, an anti-ship missile variant of the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile, was first reported on February 12.”

            Nowhere in the article does it say anything about improving their air defense capabilities. But check it out yourself if you don’t believe me.

          • Rocco

            Nice post

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Thank you..

          • Rocco

            Your welcome. If your ever in my neck of the woods come see me dipertni.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Will do!

          • Rocco

            Cool. Big service memorial day. Big anniversary coming up August 16th

          • Curtis Conway

            Hey Chesapeakeguy, they took your comment down about transgender issues, but not before I answered it, then they put a big red banner across my comment saying your comment, the one I was responding too, was taken down, so my comment wasn’t posted either. my comment was:

            So many times when the feeling Liberal side of the argument begin to lose the tote-board of up checks, they immediately start calling people names, and use expletives as though that adds credibility. They can’t prove their side of the argument with law, argument, facts or data, so they have to resort to something else.

            I think someone on the staff is cross ways in more way than one.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I got an email from the editor. He didn’t like my characterization of their actions and decisions. It reinforces my belief that open discussion and open information exchange is not a priority on here. Now forums supposedly dedicated to advancing the cause of the service are poisoned by the same political correctness, and accompanying censorship, that manifest themselves on so many other venues in this country. Sad but true..

          • El Kabong

            LMAO!!!!!!

            “”Surface strike” includes area air defense.”?

            In what universe, Duaney?

          • Rocco

            Agreed

          • El Kabong

            “…the Navy has decided to change the primary role of the Zums from close in land bombardment to area air defense…”?

            Where’d you read that USN statement?

        • Chesapeakeguy

          I think a smart move would be to replace those ‘Advanced guns’ with a basic 155MM barrel that can truly share the common rounds that the Army, USMC, and allies use. Start THERE. Then go back to square one if need be to develop longer range shells that perhaps ALL can fire from those barrels. I think the Zumwalts will ultimately provide some positive service to the fleet. They very well might be the design a future cruiser will be based on, if the decision is ever made to actually replace the Ticos. Their electrical plant appears to be the way of the future (actually, that future is NOW!). Plus, I admit that they LOOK neat. So I’m holding out hope, just like I do for the LCS!

          • ShermansWar

            Smart move would be to put more VLS in, you’d get more use out of them than you ever will out of the guns.

          • Duane

            Guns are useless for SuW against anything bigger than a boat. The Zum guns were intended for surface bombardment from medium range of land targets. The Navy just axed that role for the Zums. It’s most likely that the LRLAP guns will be replaced with railguns when they’re ready in a few years.

          • ShermansWar

            Railguns are not going to be ready in “a few years”. Research has been stagnant on the system for years now, and the last few reports have said they are having difficulty overcoming technical problems, which is understandable, as we are unable to deliver on almost any new technology we promise. Even investment and funding for them are down. In the end the rail gun they have shoots a solid core projectile that weighs only a few pounds, and it isn’t going to revolutionize anything. Rail guns, if they ever arrive, will be nothing more than a point defense weapon against AShMs, as they are suited for nothing else. Who cares if you can throw a 5 lb solid shot 80 miles to support troops? I’m sure they’d rather have a hellfire on call, it isn’t worth the investment.

            The Chinese are making much faster advances with coil guns than we are with rails.

          • Duane

            Not true. Dahlgren has made great progress in fixing the barrel wear issue, the main challenge. 7-8 years ago the barrels lasted only a few tens of shots, as of July last year Dahlgren reported getting more than 400 shots and stated that they expected to get over 1,000 shots within a year (this year).

            That is way more barrel life than any prior long range naval gun (8 in on heavy cruisers, and up to 16 in on BBs) ever achieved. An Iowa class BB only got about 250 to 300 shots per barrel, and 8 inch heavy cruiser guns only got about 700 shots per barrel.

            The media hype late last year that the Navy was quitting the railgun was manufactured BS. Dahlgren is making great progress, and expects to field a gun on warships by the early to mid 2020s. A “few years” from now.

          • El Kabong

            “Not true. Dahlgren has made great progress in fixing the barrel wear issue, the main challenge.”?

            Prove it.

          • ShermansWar

            LOL, except it fire a 7 lb shot, not an 8 inch shell, lol. doesn’t matter how fast it’s going. it’s an AA weapon, that’s it.

          • Duane

            27 pound warhead moving at Mach 5+ and a range of 100+nm It will be great for AA, but also useful for SuW and land bombardment.

          • ShermansWar

            dont pretend a future projected weapon exists. Such a weapon has never been fired.Current weapon fires a 7 lb shell. and they can’t get it to work right.

          • ShermansWar

            Where normal people come from, a few means 3 or 4. but have no fear Duane, I will be here in the mid 2020s to ask you where the rail guns are.

          • capnav

            >Dahlgren has made great progress in fixing the barrel wear ”

            Actually, the barrel wear is still an issue, according to the latest statement by Adm. Richardson in March, 2018:
            “- The barrel itself is probably the limiting case, the engineering on that, the materials required to sustain that power pulse, and the heat and pressure…”

          • Duane

            As the admiral said barrel wear is the limiting factor until it is resolved. As I wrote the Dahlgren team say they’ve made tremendous progress and expect to achieve at least 1,000 rounds barrel life this year, not some indeterminate time.

          • captlou

            BB61s had NINE guns. Total number of shots were over 2,200 per ship before barrel refurb. Each shell weighed over 2,000 lb. A heck of a lot more firepower. Bring the Iowas back.

          • El Kabong

            “Guns are useless for SuW against anything bigger than a boat.”?

            LMAO!!!

            Sure Duaney, how much armour do frigates, destroyers and cruisers have?

          • ShermansWar

            Isn’t this the same guy who was going on about how capable the 57mm on the LCS was?

          • Duane

            Just facts. For SuW against small boat swarms the Mk 110 is vastly superior to the 5 inch naval gun. Over 12 times the firing rate as the 5 incher, has precision guided shells (unlike the 5 incher), and carries over four times as many ready rounds in the mount.

          • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

            Dueenee is just jealous that ‘his’ is only 57mm while everyone has 127mm ‘guns’

          • Duane

            It’s not armor that matters. It’s lack of range (less than 20 nm for any existing operable US naval gun today, vs. hundreds of miles for surface launched ASCMS, and thousands of miles for air launched ASCMs), and lack of firepower (the warhead on the 5 incher is only 70 pounds vs anywhere from 285 pound to 1,000 pound warheads on our various ASCMs).

            As I wrote above, today’s naval guns are useless for SuW against anything larger than a patrol boat. Using guns in ship to ship battle is bringing a knife to a gunfight.

            Just a couple years ago the Navy attempted to scuttle an old deactivated auxiliary ship with scuttling charges, and the ship broke up in two with just the stern sinking. To try and sink the bow section, an Arleigh Burke was brought in and shelled the bow section from near point blank range, scoring over 70 direct hits with its 5 incher. The bow still did not sink. This was not an armored warship, just an auxilliary. So then the Navy finally brought out a 688 class SSN which finally sank the bow with a single Mk 48.

          • Todd

            The 10 commandments as put forth by the prophet Duenses
            1.They shall not use guns during wartime against thine enemy ships.
            2….
            3….

          • BMC retired

            Nice little ‘story’ you wrote there. Can you write some more? We really get a kick out of them.

          • Rocco

            Lol Chief!!

          • El Kabong

            Keep squirming Duaney…

            “It’s not armor that matters.”?

            LMAO!

            Yeah, how’d that work in the Falklands?
            For the USS Stark?
            USS Cole?

          • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

            “Guns are useless,” so that explains why every real warship on the planet has gun(s) and of larger calipers-because “no one never ever runs out of expensive missiles during wartime, it’s just not possible.” (II book of duenee, chapter 5, verse 69)

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            I actually agree with you. I think that the Zumwalt firing and by that, I mean, actually firing and repeated — providing effective, repeated, continuous 155mm naval gunfire support — would be the smartest thing they could do. The only reason they won’t do that is two-fold — A, it would be admitting complete, utter failure of the entire Zumwalt-class premise (which they basically already have, but redoing the guns to fire the Excalibur would really be the entire white-flag raising) and B, the Excalibur — while an excellent, outstanding artillery round, would still be less than half the range of the AGS/LRLAP — and since the “stealth” Zumwalt was already completely compromised from the onset, the RCS is not nearly as good as it was advertised when the program started…. so then they’d need to bring the Zumwalt closer to the shore, where it would be a huge, 14.5K ton, 600+ ft , cruiser-sized target with less-effective-than-supposed-to-be RCS, less-effective-than-suppoed-to-be air defense, less-effective-than-supposed-to-be radar, and less-effective-than-supposed-to-be construction (all had corners cut, some substantially) … so now you’ve got a $7 billion dollar ship sitting off shore within range of all sorts of weapons, slinging Excaliburs. …. the point of the AGS was it was supposed to let the Zumwalt provide “stealth” NGFS that was supposed to be the equivalent of a 6-gun USMC 155mm battery firing continuously, with pinpoint accuracy. While I agree Excalibur is probably the best of a bunch of bad solutions, I guess they decided it wasn’t worth it when they cancelled the idea. (Again, though, I agree with you.)

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Well, good points all. But, the Excalibur round would provide an increase in range over the standard 155mm round. That at least would (theoretically) allow for some ‘over the horizon’ firings to be conducted. I’m not looking at any of these things as a ‘final product’, I’m just saying the basic 155mm gun is as logical of a starting point as any others are worth pursuing. Give the Zumwalts SOME kind of main gun for supporting troops ashore. The longer the range, the better. We all agree on that. But seeing how we aren’t going to get there with the AGS, utilizing something in the way of rocket assistance on the Exaclibur might offer a realistic short term solution.

            Rail guns might, MIGHT, provide some answers, if the considerable technical challenges still facing them are ever worked out. While being able to bust up fixed targets with a small, un-exploding projectile might have some appeal in some applications, close support for troops engaged in land combat would probably be better served with shells distributing some high explosives.

          • Ctrot

            It’s my understanding that the incompatibility is a result of the autoloader as much as it is the barrel, so just a barrel swap won’t allow use of Excalibur.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            That all might be Ctrot. That and maybe a whole lot more. But I believe that if those in charge DO WHATEVER they have to do to give the Zumwalts something in the way of a main gun, they should. Tear out everything with their guns and start over. Go back to basics. And you can’t get much more basic than a 155 mm gun!

          • ShermansWar

            2x155mm guns don’t rate a 4 billion dollar hull. Put missiles where the guns were and be done with it. If you are going to upgrade anything, upgrade the radar. The money would be better spent, in my opinion, sir.

            People don’t fear Lirov clas BCS because of the guns. It’s the~ 200 missiles that make it something planners must account for.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Well now, how are the guns they have NOW working out? And technically, they DO have two 155mm guns on those $4 billion hulls. How’s about putting something on them that WORKS? If replacing them with VLS cells is the choice, so be it. But as you say, radar ‘upgrades’ and perhaps more will be part of THAT mix. And I suspect that nothing is going to end up quite as simple, nor cheap, as ‘just replace this with that’ because of the enormous complexity built into them. But IF the decision is made to keep a main gun battery, what are the choices? Gong back to basics with a basic 155mm gun and making efforts to improve the shells fired by ALL who use those basic 155mm guns seems like as good of an approach as any. Again, IF those guns are kept. Now, replacing the guns with missiles and doing all the upgrades and perhaps other additions that will be needed just might result in a viable replacement for the Ticos. I do hold out for a silver lining in all this. Though I’ll wager that will be one expensive mother of a ship! LOL..

          • ShermansWar

            I’m willing to bet, of all possible fixes, new guns won’t be the one chosen. Much easier to cut a big square hole, in the deck, yank out the old innards and drop some new box canisters in. I’d bet that’s what they do for no other reason than it’s the cheapest option.

          • Ctrot

            You’re probably right.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            We’ll see. You might be proven right. Of course, then the Navy is back to square one on the gunfire support question for troops ashore. But I’m sure they’ll do the right thing. Don’t they always? LOL..

            And I’ll offer this as well. I’ll wager they won’t ever look to a site like this to see what “the great unwashed” (all of us who partake here) have to offer.

          • Ctrot

            I agree. If they can take that $216 million and replace the 4 AGS turrets, above and below deck, on the first two ships with something based off the Army 155mm gun then I’m all for it. I suspect however, given government propensity for spending 10x what would seem to be an appropriate amount in accomplishing any given goal, that it would probably end up cost that amount per turret. Or more.

          • Rocco

            Now why didn’t I think of this??

        • Rocco

          I like your last comment as I wish the same lol. As for the Zumwalt it could sink in the Potomac River with the iron clads for all I care!!

      • The Zumwalt, LCS and Ford CVN classes are indicative of two trends: 1. Industry has always over-promised wiz bang advances; no surprise there. 2. There are no more realists in Washington who scrutinize designs, processes or bureaucracy.

        The shipyard and steel congressional delegations have sole control now and bulldoze over anyone who says, “but, but…” Admirals don’t mind. Congress considers cost overruns as merely extra dollars to home districts. Construction delays are seen as a full employment plan. What looks accidental is actually by design.

        • Chesapeakeguy

          I don’t argue any of that.

      • Rocco

        Lol

    • ShermansWar

      They cut the third Burke the SASC bill asked for and added 2 LCS instead. The SASC also asked for 13 Poseidons got 10.
      So we traded a flight III Burke and 3 Poseidens for 2 extra LCS.

      I think it also shows that if the FFG(X) program goes forward ( I have my doubts) it appears increasingly likely that an LCS variant will be selected, there is a definite Bias there and this bill shows the political influence of the LCS lobby.

      They also spent a LOT of money on missile defense.

      I am curious, did they include the funding for the design work on a light carrier the Senate armed services committee asked for in their bill?

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        I think it also shows that if the FFG(X) program goes forward… it appears increasingly likely that an LCS variant will be selected

        No doubt about it.
        The other 3 shortlisted designs are there to give the appearance of competition.

        • Duane

          Yes and no. There is no way that any of the foreign designs can win the design competition against the Freedom based frigate … but at the same time the Navy is looking for diversity in design approaches that will have an impact on the final requirements that will be applied to the winner. It’s a worthwhile process and not a sham.

          • El Kabong

            So much for buying the best available kit….

          • VoiceofReason

            Here are the requirements for the LCS as written
            1. it must go very fast and suck lots of fuel (why, we don’t know)
            2. it must have an very complex engineering plant (why, we don’t know)
            3. it must not be built to Navy standards, but to low commercial standards (why, because Navy standards are too high)
            4. it must use unproven and commercial grade electronics (why, because it’s not designed to go into harm’s way)
            5. it must use a tiny tiny pee shooter gun of no more than 57mm and it must be optically guided so that it can’t hit anything (why, because anything that works is scary to the chinese)
            6. it must be built of aluminum (why, because we forgot that aluminum burns)
            7. it must be way way overpriced (why, to line the pockets of Lockmart executives)
            8. it must not have any organic capabilities built-in (why, to give lockmart a revenue stream building so called modules for the next 20 years, but they don’t have to work, you can say “in-progress”)
            9. it must be full of expensive and fragile automation (why, because we hate sailors actually doing Navy things)
            10. finally, one must keep building them no matter what the costs or tests reveal (why, see reason 7).

          • Niki Ptt

            Aluminum does not burn in the solid state we use to build ships, and commercial standards mean we have to pu anough thermal lagging and fire insulation to make it as resistant to fire as steel for at least one hour.

          • ShermansWar

            Yeah, mebbe you need to read up on the Falklands war, or HMS Sheffield, or the Antelope, or the Coventry, or…

          • MerryPrankster

            You forgot to add the USS Belknap after she collided with the JFK in the Med. The next morning, only the steel hull survived the fires. Anything above deck was burned away.

          • ShermansWar

            Great synopsis. You left out keep building them even after we reached the cap number of 32. We have what, 33 under contract now?

          • Rocco

            Great sarcasm!!

          • ShermansWar

            tat waz teh sarkazmz?? I tought dat waz de truth!!!

    • D. Jones

      Has the LCS made it out of Montreal yet?

  • Ed L

    1.56 billion for Three LCS?? That’s 2 to 3 FFGX. Or 24 more Super Hornet’s

    • DaSaint

      I’m more surprised at $225 million for a Spearhead Expeditionary Fast Transport. I thought we bought 10 for $1.8 billion, and that it was a hot production line?

    • DaSaint

      Certainly not 3. The FFG(X) is going to cost more than $800M but won’t be selected until 2019, budgeted in 2020, and delivered in 2023 or 2024.

      So in the interim 6 years…

    • ShermansWar

      Or the flight III Burke they withdrew to fund the LCS instead…

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      The LCS is basically a total jobs program & corporate welfare handout at this point… I wish we could start building FFG(X)s right now, but I fear the more the Navy brass gets rushed in FFG(X), the more we end up with an Independence-class LCS with an ESSM launcher called the FFG(X) [which would be an even bigger disaster considering how much we need the FREMM/F-100/HII Patrol Frigate variants over the LCS]… I don’t disagree with you on the pricing of the FFG(X) but I have said this before – the idea is to have the FFG(X) [after the first one, assuming it gets done right and properly etc.] basically price out at 5:2 FFG to DDG … and I think that is actually a great deal, provided it’s a fully-equipped FFG(X) with 32 VLS cells and all the other stuff it’s supposed to have… and with the cost of the DDG-51 FLT III’s surely to just keep going up, I would not be surprised to see the FFG(X) eventually get to be closer to 3:1 … but be that as it may or may not be, I still believe a properly-equipped, fully “hooked up” FREMM/F-100/HII Patrol Frigate etc. at 5:2 DDGs will make a huge difference in our fleet. 5 FFGs can handle a lot more missions in a lot more places on the planet than 2 DDGs can (despite the DDGs being obviously a more powerful, capable platform… sometimes you need more ships in more places etc.)

      • DaSaint

        Get ready for an LCS variant or variants. They MAY change their mind and keep both lines going if identically equipped.

        • Ser Arthur Dayne

          Now I mean you no disrespect in the way I ask this- but do you have real personal knowledge of this? The reason I ask is because I was of the understanding that they have basically realized that the Independence-class is a total failure…. and it’s only saving feature was it’s huge “cargo room” for the mission package modules, which have basically been cancelled, so … it is basically a failure. (So I have heard.) A lot of people including the people on this group of posters seem to believe LM has already been told the LCS 125M variant is going to “win” … and I could live with that (I don’t like the Freedom-class but I could LIVE with it if done right… I just think the Independence-class is useless) … and I just don’t see how we could pass up on the FREMM (my favorite… I think the Italian GP-variant of the FREMM is the clear best in the business) / F-100 (mini-Aegis/Frigate) / or the HII Patrol Frigate variant (I believe HII could really win this because they design some awesome stuff) … I would really laugh & cry at a dual-LCS-FFG(X)-line. Just a total laugher&cryer of a program result.

          • DaSaint

            So to be clear, I have NO personal knowledge that the Independence class will win. None.

            That said, I don’t see ANY possibility, that the Navy and/or Congress will allow 4,000 persons at a shipyard producing combatant vessels – despite how many feel about them – to be put of of work and shuttered.

            I believe that if the Independence class was not all-aluminum, it would be the preferred of the two LCS. Remember that most, but not all, of the issues were with the Freedom class. But the Freedom class has LM in their corner, and that is major (see F-35)!

            When the Navy selected both classes, it was also a situation where they promised to down-select to one, but due to the excellent pricing they received from both, and industrial base concerns, they bought both.

            Sound familiar?

      • Duane

        The Navy totally disagrees with you on LCS.

        • El Kabong

          Wrong.

        • Todd

          Duenee speak translation. “The Navy” = Lockheed
          “totally disagrees” = don’t say anything that could hurt
          Lockhead’s profit margins

          • SDW

            Thank you. I had tried reading it bass-ackward and it still wasn’t making sense. I still hold out some hope that at least one of the LCS types would become home to some super-secret, gee-whiz sensor and weapon system that would make Duane weep with joy. I’m not holding my breath.

      • Ed L

        Oh, I know that about the LCS programs. I wonder how many political Admirals and politicians got kickbacks from Lockheed and M&M. We need a true fighting frigate that match the streaming performance of the Perry or even the Knox class FFG. I still feel the main gun needs to be a 127mm with the MK 110- 57mm aft on one side of the Helo hanger and the SeaRam on the other. As a career gator sailor with a couple of years on an AOE. I will always remember with happiness when we get a Spruance and a couple of FFG’s as escorts. When the carrier was operating in a different area.

        • Rob C.

          Navy convinced itself that 127mm guns don’t belong, that 57mm are way to go for accuracy…I swear the navy getting like the Airforce, that missiles will solve everything.

          I see that the Congress didn’t go for the Double-buy for the Ford-Class. I wonder if it will really cost more or not.

  • DaSaint

    There’s something amiss with the allocation for that additional Spearhead. Way too expensive for an additional craft on a hot production line. Sounds like $45 million additional. Was that an early consolation prize to start closing things down?

    • ShermansWar

      The prices for everything are bloated, if you notice, at least a lot are.

  • Graeme Rymill

    There is extra money for ships. Is there also extra money to address ship manning shortfalls and ship maintenance backlogs? Otherwise adding extra ships just exacerbates these problems.

    • ShermansWar

      The problem of training more sailors is easier to solve than the problem of getting more hulls. I’d rather have the hulls now and worry about the manpower later. Your point is valid, though.I guess they want to get the hulls while the getting is good. I think the thinking is , it’s easier to argue before a possible democratic congress a few years down the road for more manpower because your navy is undermanned, than it is to argue for more money for new shipbuilding.

      • DaSaint

        The new ships will simply replace older ships if manning remains an issue. The Navy always likes new shiny objects. But getting 11,000 new sailors above today’s level – not a chance, unless there are some serious bonuses and college loan forgiveness programs.

  • ShermansWar

    you have to see the crazy amount spent on social programs and liberal propaganda programs masquerading as educational programs in this bill, it’s insane, an awful lot of money is going to leftist indoctrination under this bill. even legitimate straight up welfare is one thing, this stuff isn’t even that. It’s billions and billions not going to the poor, but activism.

  • ShermansWar

    Well Duane, today is the Day. Today is your lucky day.

    On this day,
    March 23 in the year of our Lord 2018, Duane, at long last, told me something I didn’t know.

    • NavySubNuke

      Even more importantly he actually said something that was completely correct and accurate as opposed to his usual half truths and lies. Simply amazing! I didn’t think he had it in him.

    • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

      Well, we can’t promote the Fleet Admiral anymore, perhaps we can upgrade his basement dwellings. After all, a fleet admiral deserves the best

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    I think the cost curve of the Lightning might be bottoming out….. & it’s not as low as hoped.

    The Super Hornet is a still pretty good price though.
    Round it up to $80m with the additional targeting/Nav pods they use and you still have a great value platform.

  • NavySubNuke

    Duane – I also feel the need to congratulate you. This is, to my knowledge at least, the first time you have actually said something that is completely true and accurate.
    Well done!!! I hope you use this as inspiration to continue this trend moving forward.

    • Dean687

      Give the man a medal already, with oak leaf cluster and the Battle “L” (for lockmart warriors)

  • Pacemaker4

    MIC: “We need to buy XXXX F-35s…and there isnt enough space on the carriers so we need to buy 2 more now.”
    I heard the maintenance gear for an F-35 is taking up a lot of space on the hangar deck.

    How many squadrons fit on a 1,092 ft × 256 ft (333 m × 78 m) flight deck or Hangar deck on a Ford Class carrier?

  • El Kabong

    BUSTED!

    Back up your BS for ONCE, Duaney.

  • old guy

    SWIPE (Shipyard Welfare Incentive Program, Expensive) prevails over national defense needs, once again. Ship life extensions, and upgrades, FFGs, DDG-51s, and LHAs would double the bang foer the buck that we will get out of this fiasco. Forcing the yards off of the Navy teat into commercial competition will further force a more economically sound pricing base. Oh well, this 90+ year old WW2 VET, must be allowed to dream wth the few years I may have left.