US might sell boondoggle warships to allies — Analysis

US Chief of Naval Operations has proposed selling South American vessels that have a defect in design to countries.

A top US Navy official has come up with an alternative to scrapping recently-built warships with design and mechanical failures that make them unworthy for Washington’s use: Selling the vessels to South American allies.

“We should consider offering these ships to other countries that would be able to use them effectively,”Admiral Michael Gilday was the chief of naval operations and spoke out at Thursday’s US Senate hearing. “There are countries in South America, as an example, that would be able to use these ships that have small crews.”

It is the decommissioning of nine littoral battle ships (LCSs) by the US Navy despite resistance from some members. They were each built for $360m, with the youngest vessel, the USS St. Louis entering service just two years earlier.

US Representative Elaine LuriaA former naval officer and law enforcement official, (D.Virginia), has stated that LCS ships have failed. 11 were constructed less than a decade ago. “The Navy owes a public apology to American taxpayers for wasting tens of billions of dollars on ships they now say serve no purpose,”Luria claimed that Luria made the statement in March, just after Pentagon presented its last budget.

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Many mechanical issues have beset the Freedom-class ships. After just 13 years of service, the first LCS (named USS Freedom) was retired in 2021, less than half its expected lifespan of 25 years. The design problems of the ships’ propulsion systems, firepower and other components were also pointed out by naval officials.

“While the mechanical issues were a factor, a bigger factor was the lack of sufficient warfighting capability against a peer competitor in China,”Gilday spoke to lawmakers Thursday. Il stated that LCS had been ill-equipped to perform anti-submarine warfare, one of its most important tasks. “We refused to put an additional dollar against that system that wouldn’t match the Chinese undersea threat.”

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However, Luria has argued that the Navy is decommissioning ships faster than it’s building them, investing in “Gucci”Technologies that have not reached maturity for decades are needed to meet rising threat from China and Russia. “The Navy has no strategy,”She said. “Stop saying you do because if you did, you would be able to explain how this fleet size will allow us to defend Taiwan.”

According to Navy officials, decommissioning the ships and LCS fleet will help save $3.6 billion in five-year costs. Retirement of the ships can be more economical than trying to get them into service. “Those ships, relative to others, just didn’t bring the warfighting value to the fight,” Gilday said.

The admiral didn’t spell out how ships that failed to function as desired for the US would provide added value to South American countries. 

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Counter-narcotics operations have seen success with Freedom-class ships. The Navy is planning to decommission one LCS called the USS Sioux City. This LCS intercepted an LCS near the Dominican Republic last September and took more than $20million worth of cocaine.



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