Shipbuilding

USN drydocks shut for seismic review

The U.S. Navy is suspending submarine repairs at four dry docks in Washington state due to concerns about their possible vulnerability to seismic activity. Stressing that there is “no immediate risk,” the USN says the decision enables a team of experts to assess three drydocks at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard drydocks in Bremerton and one at the Trident Refit Facility in nearby Bangor. [node:read-more:link]

Vladimir Putin loses his cool

Russia’s trade and industry minister, Denis Manturov, was rebuked by President Vladimir Putin today for not stepping up orders for aircraft and ships. “It is taking too long,” Putin said during a government meeting, interrupting Manturov’s presentation. “What are you fooling around for?” Putin said the minister needed “to sort this out with the defence ministry.” [node:read-more:link]

AOPS or A-oops?

The latest projected cost of having six Arctic offshore patrol ships for the Navy and two similar vessels built for the Canadian Coast Guard is upwards of $6.5 billion, according to the federal government and its procurement department. The cost of the naval ships has risen to $4.98 billion from an earlier estimate of $4.3 billion while the CCG estimate has risen by $100 million from $1.6 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Two more AOPS contracted

Irving Shipbuilding and the federal government have finalized a $1.6-billion contract to build two additional Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the Canadian Coast Guard. “We're going to further grow our team . . . as we look to 2025 building these ships,” the company’s vice-president of communications, Mary Keith, said January 4. [node:read-more:link]

Cruise ship tech coming to military

Pierroberto Folgiero, chief executive officer of Fincantieri, which is contracted for new U.S. Navy guided-missile frigates in Wisconsin, plans to draw on the Italian company’s cruise ship expertise. “We aim to use more preconstruction on land . . . which means building modules before adding them to the vessel,” he says. “We are transferring the technique to our naval yards in Italy” and a team has been sent to Wisconsin “to put the changes into effect in 2023.” [node:read-more:link]

Surface Combatant costs skyrocketing

With two years remaining before Irving Shipbuilding begins construction of the first of the navy’s new Canadian Surface Combatant fleet, designed to replace current destroyers and frigates, the federal government has spent $4.8 billion so far. This is according to figures presented to the House of Commons two months after the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated the total lifetime cost of the 15-ship program at $306 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Problems in the Navy’s AOPS fleet

The Royal Canadian Navy’s Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, HMCS Harry DeWolf, is expected to be out of service until April because of problems with its main diesel generators. Since Irving Shipbuilding’s warranty has expired, taxpayers are on the hook for repairs to the AOPS flagship, which was delivered to the Navy in July 2020. Meanwhile, the third in the fleet, HMCS Max Bernays, accepted from Irving in September 2022, is having bowthruster issues. The navy also plans to have a look at the second of a planned six AOPS, HMCS Margaret Brooke, which was delivered in July 2021. [node:read-more:link]

Royal Navy shelves new ships over costs

Plans for new Type 32 frigates and Multirole Support Ships have been withdrawn by the Royal Navy because they are too expensive. The decision, made last July was disclosed November 30 in a National Audit Office report which says it will “result in a revised costing profile . . . likely to be significantly higher” than planned. However, a Navy spokesperson said today that both designs “remain a key part of the future fleet and we are working to ensure both projects are affordable.” [node:read-more:link]

First new British frigate set for launch

The first of eight Type 26 frigates ordered by the Royal Navy – a BAE Systems design also chosen by Canada for 15 “surface combatant” platforms to be built by Irving Shipyards at a cost of at least $60 billion – is set for launch in Scotland. Construction of HMS Glasgow began in 2017 and construction of the next two is under way. [node:read-more:link]

Russia launches two nuclear icebreakers

A flag-raising ceremony and dock launch today for two Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers tasked with ensuring year-round operations in the Western Arctic was attended remotely by President Vladimir Putin. “Both icebreakers were laid down as part of a large serial project and are part of our large-scale, systematic work to re-equip and replenish the domestic icebreaker fleet, to strengthen Russia’s status as a great Arctic power,” Putin said. He also said his country’s current economic difficulties would not stop further development of the fleet. [node:read-more:link]

Five new frigates for Royal Navy

The U.S. defence ministry has signed a £4.2 billion contract with BAE Systems for five more Type 26 anti-submarine frigates. BAE already has three under construction at its Scottish yards and the new order fulfills a long-standing time government commitment to field a fleet of eight. [node:read-more:link]

Navy’s CSC budget irrelevant

The cost of new Canadian Surface Combatants as a common replacement for the Royal Canadian Navy’s destroyer and frigate fleets continues to rise. The Parliamentary Budget Office, responding to a parliamentary committee request, reported today that the projected cost now is $84.5 billion or 9.2 percent above its $77.3 billion. The government has acknowledged that project delays and mean that its 2017 budget of $60 billion is no longer adequate. It originally was $26.2 billion in 2008 [node:read-more:link]

Surface Combatant preliminary design upcoming

Glenn Copeland, general manager of rotary and mission systems for Lockheed Martin Canada, said October 19 at a naval trade show in France that the preliminary design review for the Canadian Surface Combatant will be completed by the end of this year. The Royal Canadian Navy plans to procure 15 replacements for its Iroquois-class destroyers and Halifax-class frigates at a cost of at least $55 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Capitalizing U.S. Transport Command

While U.S. Transportation Command is interested in new purpose-built sealift ships as a longer-term solution to recapitalizing its fleet, there’s an interim interest in used vessels to cover operational gaps. The average age of current Transport Command ships is 46 years; many are slated to be retired in the next decade as the operation struggles with increasing maintenance costs. [node:read-more:link]

Shipyards job action stalls construction

Progress on new Navy supply ships and Coast Guard vessels has stalled at Seaspan shipyards in British Columbia. Workers on the company’s tugs went on strike September 30 after contract talks stalled and shipyard employees are refusing to cross picket lines. “It would be premature to estimate the impacts as the strike is ongoing,” a company spokesman says. “We are working to resolve the issues and minimize the impacts to our customers and the broader industry.” [node:read-more:link]

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