Category Archives: Surface Forces

Document: Coast Guard Cutter Procurement

Document: Coast Guard Cutter Procurement

The following is from the July, 3 2013 Congressional Research Service report, Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress.

This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard’s programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). These 91 planned cutters are intended as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard cutters and patrol craft. The Coast Guard began procuring NSCs and FRCs a few years ago, and the first few NSCs and FRCs are now in service. Read More

Lawmakers Want to Suspend Egyptian Military Aid

Lawmakers Want to Suspend Egyptian Military Aid

An undated photo of the ENS S. Ezzat, an Egyptian Fast Missile Craft. VT Halter Marine Photo

An undated photo of the ENS S. Ezzat, an Egyptian Fast Missile Craft. VT Halter Marine Photo

In the wake of the public uprising that deposed former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — senior members on the Senate Armed Services Committee — have called on the Obama administration to suspend $1.5 billion in military aid to Egypt.

“We ought to suspend aid until the new government shows that it is willing to — and in fact does — schedule elections and put in place a process to come up with a new constitution,” Levin said Monday. Read More

Joint China-Russia Exercise More Political Than Military

Joint China-Russia Exercise More Political Than Military

People's Liberation Army Navy guided missile destroyers in April, 2012. PLAN Photo

People’s Liberation Army Navy guided missile destroyers in April, 2012. PLAN Photo

China and Russia made headlines this past weekend when they participated in the rather blandly titled Joint Sea 2013. Despite the name, Joint Sea was China’s  largest ever joint naval exercise, and one of the more noteworthy bits of naval activity in the past several years. Eighteen surface ships, one submarine, three airplanes, five ship-launched helicopters and two commando units took part in the exercise, participating in a variety of activities including antisubmarine warfare, close maneuvering, and the simulated takeover of an enemy ship. Chinese and Russian officials alike were quick to note that Joint Sea wasn’t directed at any third party, something that might sound insincere but that actually reflects the reality that Chinese and Russian interests in the Pacific are very different. Read More

NAVSEA Awards Three Contracts for Oiler Development

NAVSEA Awards Three Contracts for Oiler Development

USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on June 30, 2013. US Navy Photo

USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on June 30, 2013. US Navy Photo

Naval Sea Systems Command has issued three contracts to shipyards for work toward the Navy’s next-generation fleet oiler (T-AO(X)).

General Dynamics NASSCO, Huntington Ingalls Industries and VT Halter Marine, “were each awarded firm-fixed price contracts at or below the not-to-exceed amount of $1.7 million as contained in the solicitation for Trade-Off Industry Studies,” according to a Wednesday release from NAVSEA. Read More

Underwater Art Galleries Keep Memory of Ships Alive

Underwater Art Galleries Keep Memory of Ships Alive

An image from The Sinking World of Andreas Franke, an art exhibition currently on display aboard the wreck of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, almost 90 feet below the Atlantic Ocean. Image courtesy of Andreas Franke

An image from The Sinking World of Andreas Franke, an art exhibition currently on display aboard the wreck of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, almost 90 feet below the Atlantic Ocean. Image courtesy of Andreas Franke

Austrian artist Andreas Franke has turned an artificial reef made from the hull of a World War II Coast Guard cutter into a fine art gallery with a naval twist.

Almost 90 feet below the Gulf of Mexico, Franke has hung a dozen magnetized picture frames on the side of USS Mohawk CGC (WPG-78), a 1,005 ton cutter sunk July 2, 2012 to create an artificial reef 28 miles of coast of Florida.

The images on display are pictures of the ship taken shortly after Mohawk was sunk super imposed with models Franke shot in his Vienna studio, the diver/photographer told USNI News on Tuesday. Read More

NAVSEA: LCS Missile Competition Could Start Next Year

NAVSEA: LCS Missile Competition Could Start Next Year

The Griffin Missile, Raytheon Photo

The Griffin Missile, Raytheon Photo

The U.S. Navy could start its investigation into its new surface-to-surface missile for its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program as early as next year, Naval Sea System Command officials told USNI News on Monday.

Currently, NAVSEA is testing the Raytheon Griffin IIB as part of the Surface Warfare (SuW) mission package, only, “as an interim capability,” according to a statement provided to USNI News. Read More

Polar Star Leaves for Sea Trials

Polar Star Leaves for Sea Trials

US Heavy Ice Breaker Polar Star (WAGB-10). US Coast Guard Photo

US Heavy Ice Breaker Polar Star (WAGB-10). US Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. Coast Guard’s decades-old heavy icebreaker is currently undergoing sea trials off the coast of Alaska, according to a Friday report from Alaska Public Radio Network.

USCSC Polar Star (WAGB-10) left Friday for ice trials to put the ship and its crew through a training regime focused on Arctic planned to last several weeks. Read More

Military Sealift Command Will Keep WestPac Until 2014

Military Sealift Command Will Keep WestPac Until 2014

Westpac Express High Speed Vessel pulls away from the pier at Naha Military Port, Okinawa. US Navy Photo

Westpac Express High Speed Vessel pulls away from the pier at Naha Military Port, Okinawa. US Navy Photo

U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) is exercising a contract option on a high-speed aluminum catamaran used to transport U.S. Marines by six-months, MSC officials told USNI News on Monday.

WestPac Express, in use by MSC since 2001 years, has been retained until February of 2014 by MSC, according to a release by the Australian vessel owner, Austal. Read More

Philippines Exploring Allowing U.S. and Japan More Use of Bases

Philippines Exploring Allowing U.S. and Japan More Use of Bases

USS Enterprise (CVN-65) at Subic Bay in 1993. US Navy Photo

USS Enterprise (CVN-65) at Subic Bay in 1993. US Navy Photo

The Philippines plan to give greater access to U.S. and Japanese allies to military bases including the former U.S. Naval Station Subic Bay, Philippine defense officials said Thursday in a report in Reuters.

The report comes in tandem with reports, the military is preparing a proposal to expand leftover U.S. bases after the Pentagons removed its forces in 1992.

According to the report, Philippine naval leaders are preparing a $230 million plan to base development bases as hedges against increased Chinese expansion into the South China Sea. Read More

Document: Guardian Grounding 'Wholly Preventable'

Document: Guardian Grounding ‘Wholly Preventable’

The following is from the May 22, 2013 U.S. Pacific Fleet investigation findings from the Jan. 17, 2013 grounding of the minesweeper USS Guardian (MCM-5). The report was released by the Navy on June 20.

Causation: This tragic mishap was wholly preventable and was the product of poor voyage planning, poor execution, and unfortunate circumstances. This investigation uncovers no single point of failure; instead, there were numerous links in the error chain leading up to the grounding. Had any one of which been appropriately addressed, the grounding would have been prevented. USS GUARDIAN leadership and watch teams failed to adhere to prudent, safe, and sound navigation principles which would have alerted them to approaching dangers with sufficient time to take mitigating action. Read More