Sunday, January 06, 2013

If Tim Kaine wants to cut wasteful spending, he can start with the Littoral Combat Ship

One of the most important committee assignments Virginia's newest senator received was to the Senate Armed Service Committee. As a member of this committee, Tim Kaine will have responsibility for providing oversight to our nation's armed services and defense spending in general. Congress, and Democrats in particular, are going to be under a lot of pressure to cut wasteful spending. Few programs are more wasteful and more deserving of being cut than the Littoral Combat Ship.
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-1) USS Freedom is plagued by extensive corrosion and manufacturing issues more recent and serious than anything the Pentagon or prime contractor Lockheed Martin has publicly acknowledged thus far.

This is based on a guided tour of the ship in dry dock, as well as sources intimately familiar with Freedom’s design, repairs and operations, U.S. Navy documents and defense analysts.

The vessel is rusting and blistered by corrosion in many areas, marred by crack repairs throughout the deckhouse and hampered by what appear to be flaws in vital piping systems.
Read the complete article at Aviation Week.

Both versions of the LCS are deeply flawed, weakly built, fragile, and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. Neither the Freedom nor the Independence are fully operational, despite years of expensive dry docking and rebuilding. The Freedom was commissioned in 2008 and has never been deployed operationally--the vessel's hull has a tendency to crack when subjected to any kind of weather other than a dead calm. Compare that to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, a far larger and more complex vessel, that only took two years to become fully operational after her commissioning.

US sailors deserve better than this over priced piece of junk and American taxpayers deserve a better value for their tax dollars.

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