Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

May 7, 2009

Administration releases FY2010 Navy shipbuilding request

The Obama Administration has now released more detailed FY 2010 defense budget proposals. And though Pentagon officials and military personnel were sworn to secrecy as it was constructed, there are few surprises as far as the shipbuilding budget goes. The administrationt is requesting funding for the following military shipbuilding programs:

Shipbuilding and Maritime Systems--Joint Service

JHSV Joint High Speed Vesse:l $373.3 million

Shipbuilding and Maritime Systems Š USN

CVN 21 Carrier Replacement: $1,397.3 million

DDG 51 AEGIS Destroyer: $2,241.3 million

DDG 1000 Destroyer $ 1,623.2 million

LCS Littoral Combat Ship $1,877.8 million

LPD 17 Amphibious Transport Dock Ship: $1,062.2 million

SSN 774 VIRGINA Class Submarine: $4,182.0 million

RCOH CVN Refueling Complex Overhaul: $1,775.4 million

TŠAKE Auxiliary Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ship $940.1 million

According to the Pentagon's DoD FY 2010 Budget Request Summary Justification, the "Shipbuilding Program focuses on maritime system acquisitions and aims to achieve a minimum force structure of 313 ships for global missions. The Navy's 313-ship fleet will allow the U.S. to maintain maritime superiority well into the 21st century. The mobilization of the 313-ship fleet will ensure missions are accomplished."

Highlights of the FY 2010 Shipbuilding Portfolio:

DDG 51 AEGIS Destroyer --one ship procured

DDG 1000-- second year of incremental funding for the FY 2009 ship

JHSV-- two ships procured (1 Navy, 1 Army)

LCS-- three ships procured at $460 million unit cost cap

MLP-- advance procurement for a future ship

LPD 17 -- second year of incremental funding for the tenth ship in FY 2009 and advance procurement for the eleventh ship in FY 2011

T-AKE -- two ships procured as part of the Maritime Prepositioning Force Future mission.

VIRGINIA Class-- one ship procured in multiyear procurement contract and advance procurement for future ships.

The mention of the MLP above is the only reference to the Mobile Landing Platform ship program in the Budget Summary Request Justification. Basically, the idea is to have a semisubmersible heavy lift ship act as a platform for at-sea transfers of cargo. NASSCO has already been given a $3.5 million award to come up with a preliminary design. In trials of the concept, the heavy lift ship Mighty Servant I was chartered in.

Following are comments on other ship types in the FY2010 program taken from the Budget Request Summary Justification.

The Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) is a cooperative Army and Navy effort for a high speed shallow draft vessel designed for rapid intra-theater transport. Mission: The JHSV ships provide combatant commanders high-speed, intra-theater sealift mobility, inherent cargo handling capacity, and the agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances. Delivery of the first JHSV is scheduled for the first quarter of FY 2012. The FY 2010 Program: Procures two predominantly commercially designed vessels.

CVN 21 Carrier Replacement:Currently, there are 11 active carriers in the Navy's fleet. The CVN 21 ships will include new technologies such as an integrated topside island with a new multi-function radar, a new propulsion plant, monitoring improvements, manpower reduction technologies, flight deck enhancements, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS), and advanced arresting gear. Mission: The CVN 21 Carrier Replacement ships provide credible, sustainable, independent forward presence during peacetime without access to land bases; operate as the cornerstone of a joint and/or allied maritime expeditionary force in response to crisis; and carry the war to the enemy through joint multi-mission offensive operations.

FY 2010 Program: Funds the third year of incremental funding for the lead ship and advance procurement items for a future ship. The Nuclear Propulsion Equipment is one of the critical long-lead time items.

The DDG 51 AEGIS Destroyer Class ships operate defensively and offensively as units of Carrier Strike Groups and Surface Action Groups, in support of Underway Replenishment Groups and the Marine Amphibious Task Forces in multi-threat environments that include air, surface, and subsurface threats. The DDG 51 ship is armed with a vertical launching system that accommodates 96 missiles and a five inch gun that provides Naval Surface Fire Support to forces ashore and anti-ship gunnery capability. Mission: The DDG 51 AEGIS Destroyer ship provides air and maritime dominance and land attack capability with its Aegis Anti-Submarine and Tomahawk Weapon Systems.

FY 2010 Program: Funds one DDG 51 AEGIS Destroyer.

The Pentagon says the DDG 51 program was restarted to meet ballistic missile defense and open ocean anti-submarine warfare (ASW) requirements.

The DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer (DDG 1000) will be an optimallycrewed, multi-mission surface combatant designed to fulfill volume firepower and precision strike requirements. Armed with an array of weapons, the DDG 1000 ship will provide offensive, distributed, and precision firepower at long ranges in support of forces ashore. Mission: The DDG 1000 provides striking power, sustainability, survivability, and information dominance

FY 2010 Program: Funds the second year of incremental funding for the FY 2009 ship. The DDG 1000 program will be completed with the third ship in FY 2009. (The CNO Admiral Gary Roughhead recently had this to say about the truncation of the program:"Well run program, incredible technology; but not the type of ship that I envision us needing in the future.")

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) will be a fast, agile, and stealthy surface combatant capable of anti-access missions against asymmetric threats in the littorals. It will be the first Navy ship to separate capability from hull form. For example, LCS will be capable of employing interchangeable mission modules for Mine Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, and Anti-Surface Warfare to counter anti-access threats close to shore such as mines, quiet diesel submarines, and swarming small boats. The LCS mission modules will be exchanged as operational conditions warrant. Mission: The LCS defeats asymmetric threats, and assures naval and joint forces access into contested littoral regions by prosecuting small boats, mines countermeasures, and littoral anti-submarine warfare.

FY 2010 Program: Funds three LCS ships at a unit cost of $460 million each, which equals the congressional cost cap. Procurements in FY 2009 and FY 2010 will be combined to maximize competitive pressure on pricing as a key element of cost control. Procurement includes LCS mission modules.

The San Antonio Class Amphibious Transport Dock ships (LPD 17) are functional replacements for 41 ships of four classes of amphibious ships. The LPD 17 design includes systems configurations that reduce operating and support costs, besides other operational performance improvements. System engineering and integration efforts have developed further reductions in life cycle costs and integrated performance upgrades in a rapid, affordable manner. Mission: The LPD 17 San Antonio Class Amphibious Transport Dock ships embark, transport, and land Marines in amphibious assault by helicopters, landing crafts, and amphibious vehicles.

FY 2010 Program: Funds the second year of incremental funding for the tenth ship in FY 2009 and advance procurement for the eleventh ship in FY 2011.

The SSN 774 Virginia Class Submarine is an attack submarine that provides the Navy with the capabilities to maintain undersea supremacy in the 21st century. The Virginia Class Submarine is nuclear-powered and is intended to replace the fleet of 688 class submarines. It is characterized by state-ofthe- art stealth and enhanced features for Special Operations Forces. Virginia Class Submarines are able to attack targets ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters, and other sea-based forces. Mission: The Virginia Class Submarines seek and destroy enemy ships across a wide spectrum of scenarios, working independently and in consort with a battle group and other ships, providing joint commanders with early, accurate knowledge of the battlefield.

FY 2010 Program: Funds one Virginia Class Submarine in a multiyear procurement contract and advance procurement for future ships. Procurement includes funds for Virginia Class Support Equipment.

The CVN Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) life extension program provides for the modernization of nuclear powered fleet aircraft carriers. In the RCOH program, the nuclear fuel is replaced, and major system modernization activities are implemented to extend the useful operational life of the ship. Mission: The RCOH program refuels and upgrades the Nimitz class aircraft carries at mid-life to ensure reliable operations during the remaining ship life that uses a traditional maintenance cycle. FY 2010 Program: Funds the second year of incremental funding for the FY 2009 ship and advance procurement for a future ship.

The Lewis and Clark Class Auxiliary Dry Cargo and Ammunition Ship (T-AKE) will replace the aging fleet of refrigerated cargo and food storage ships and ammunition ships in the Navy's Combat Logistics Force. The T-AKE will provide logistic lift capability as a shuttle ship from sources of supply for transfer at sea to station ships and other naval warfare forces. Mission: Lewis and Clark Class Auxiliary Dry Cargo (T-AKE) ships provide ammunition, spare parts and provisions to naval forces at sea in its role as a shuttle ship.

FY 2010 Program: Funds two T-AKE ships in the National Defense Sealift Fund as part of the Maritime Prepositioning Force Future (MPF(F)) mission.

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