Welcome to the CavasShips Podcast with Christopher P. Cavas and Chris Servello…a weekly podcast looking at naval and maritime events and issues of the day – in the US, across the seas and around the world.
This Week…When it comes to providing combat systems for the US Navy there is no more important company than Lockheed Martin, producers and integrators of the Aegis combat system installed on nearly every major US warship. We hear more about that from Jon Rambeau of Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems.
In lieu of this week’s squawk, Chris and Chris provide their takeaways from the SNA National Symposium.
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This Week’s Naval Round Up:
For the first time since 2008 there is no significant Zumwalt-class construction work going on at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The third and last ship in the DDG 1000 program, LYNDON B JOHNSON DDG 1002, sailed away from the shipyard in Bath, Maine on January 12, bound for the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. There, the JOHNSON is to undergo final fitting out of her combat systems before proceeding to San Diego, homeport of her sisterships ZUMWALT and MICHAEL MONSOOR. Bath will now concentrate on building Flight IIA and Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, while the US Navy is working on plans to install hypersonic weapons on the three Zumwalt-class ships.
Meanwhile, some details of the next-generation DDG(X) destroyer were revealed by the Navy at the Surface Navy Symposium just outside Washington DC on January 12. The notional design shown at the show depicted a large surface warship with SPY-6 radars coupled with an Aegis Baseline 10 combat system. Power will be provided via an integrated power system similar to that in the Zumwalt class, with a single power plant feeding both combat and propulsion systems. The ships would have significantly more electrical power than the Burke class, able to power a 150 kilowatt laser weapon. The ship would be armed with hypersonic weapons and possibly carry 12 large missile launcher cells in place of the 32-cell Mark 41 vertical missile launch cells shown in the graphic. Notably, the ship will have the ability to carry out, quote, expanded Arctic operations.” The Navy did not provide dimensions or displacement of the ship and did not comment on cost, although some reports indicate the first ship could cost between 3.5 and 4 billion dollars, dropping down to two and a half billion for later ships. It remains to be seen – hopefully whenever the 2023 budget is presented – just when the Navy hopes to begin procurement of the DDG(X) ships.
Stopping in to visit the Military Sealift Command display booth at the Surface Navy Association symposium on January 12, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro declared he would like to see more ceremony associated with the delivery and entry into service of new MSC ships. Although Navy owned and directed, MSC ships – which include fleet oilers and large supply ships — are operated by civilian mariners and do not have the traditional commissioning ceremonies of US Navy ships. SECNAV seemed earnest in his desire to perhaps create more awareness of the command and its activities.
In the Indian Ocean region, a three-ship Russian naval group is conducting a series of visits in the area. The Russian Pacific Fleet’s cruiser VARYAG, destroyer ADMIRAL TRIBUTS and oiler BORIS BUTOMA left Vladivostok December 29 to begin the cruise. The trio visited Kochi, India for two days beginning January 13 before moving on to Chabahar, Iran.
India’s new aircraft carrier VIKRANT left its shipyard in Kochi on January 9 to begin a third round of sea trials. The ship, widely known in India as the “indigenous carrier,” has been under construction since February 2009, and is the first aircraft carrier to be built in the country. India’s president and vice president have each visited the carrier in recent weeks, underscoring their support for the project.
On the historic ships front, the Gearing-class World War Two-era destroyer ORLECK will officially have a new home – Jacksonville, Florida. The ship, while being displayed as a museum ship since 2000, first at Orange, Texas and since 2009 at Lake Charles, Louisiana, has been battered by hurricanes and floods and is now in a floating drydock at Port Arthur, Texas undergoing repairs costing about $1.8 million. The City of Jacksonville approved the proposal to move the ship to Florida, with funding coming from the state, donors and loans. The ORLECK was commissioned in September 1945 and served the US Navy until 1982, when it was transferred to Turkey.