Revitalizing US Navy Shipbuilding / Problems with U.S. Shipyards

IMO this is the simple solution to the issue.

Have the ship modules made in Mexico and Central America. Tow them to the Gulf Coast and assemble. More ships, therefore more work for American welders. More work for people south of the Border, therefore less impetus to cross it illegally.

Mandate a quota of American steel to go in each ship.Less than the mandate now but more ships being built means more American steel in total.

It works for cars. Why not ships?


Only for large ships.

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Isn’t that what Russia is doing already? All those “proudly built in Russia by true patriots” tankers and LNG carriers they have commissioned in recent years have been mostly built in South Korea…

Now they are in deep shit as Samsung and Hyundai have withdrawn due to the sanctions. Everything they are trying to build by themselves is running years behind schedule. The last nail to the coffin was when they bombed the foundry in Ukraine that was supposed to deliver parts to their new nuclear-powered icebreakers…

edit: Just to clarify, I’m making fun out of Russia’s failure to produce these ships domestically while at the same time boldly claiming otherwise, not the plan to revitalize US shipbuilding. However, while it seems to work in (the) Europe(an Union), I’m not sure if it’s a viable strategy for the US as an alternative to build back full “blank-sheet-to-delivery” capability.

The days when combat ships can safely bang away at shore targets with guns is over. Almost every nation with a coastline has anti-ship cruise missiles that make naval gunfire support a suicide mission. Against the most recent cruise missiles with hard target penetrator warheads even an Iowa class or the old Yamatos would not last long. Missles like JASSM and Storm Shadow who’s BROACH warheads can cut through meters of steel reinforced concrete. How long do you think a warship would last?
Even the US Marines are rapidly moving away from conducting big traditional beach landings against a dug in enemy. They are simply not survivable. Today the mantra is stand off. Assaults will be conducted from over the horizon along multiple axes using tilt rotors and LCACs. Close support will come from organic manned and unmanned air power using precision guided munitions. General Mattis prototyped this kind of assault in November 2001 when he led an assault on a dirt airstrip south of Kandahar from TF-58 ships in the North Arabian Sea. The assault relied entirely on CH-53Es and aerial refueling by Marine Corps KC-130s. The assault force moved over 400 miles by air from their ships to the target. Gen Mattis left his artillery and armor on the ships and relied on Marine air power from his ships for close support. Modern PGMs are every bit as accurate as artillery, maybe moreso and aerial refueling gives the aircraft the loiter time needed to be responsive to the ground force. The assault was a success and a prototype for the future.

Well US shipyards all want Uncle Sammy to protect them so they don’t have to be competitive with the best in the world. Order books for box ships and LNG carriers are overflowing but US yards do not compete in this bonanza. Their technology is out of date, their processes are inefficient, and worst perhaps is none of the yard’s owners and managers seem interested in competing. Easier to hide behind the Jones Act than to actually compete.
Just me but I think the US should invest in expanding its government owned shipyard and build all Navy, Coast Guard and even important MSC ships in government yards where the government has direct control of costs, doesn’t have to spend years and literally millions of dollars on labor just to negotiate a contract and will not have to guarantee a big multinational corporation a profit. I know on the aviation depot side the government depots are always lower cost but because the big defense contractors refuse to sell or share their data rights the government depots often cannot bid on overhaul and maintenance contracts. That has to stop but do you want to wager Congress won’t allow it?
Build government ships in government yards and cut the civilian sector loose to sink or swim. As a taxpayer it burns my backside to pay higher prices so someone else can have a safe protected job.

If the US is going to farm out the construction of warships, which btw Congress will never permit, but since we are playing the naval equivalent of fantasy football, my suggestion would be to let Japanese yards do the work. Raise your hand if you have ever been on a Japanese warship? They are built to the same standards as US Navy warships except their overheads are a tad lower. All the data tags and other markings in the ship are in English and adhere to the same markings protocols used by the US Navy. You could almost put a US Navy crew on a Japanese ship and they’d have it figured out in a week. Some combat systems are unique to the JMSDF, a few are European but most of the equipment would be familiar to a US Navy sailor.
The Japanese manage to produce ships as sophisticated as any in the US Navy such as the Maya or Mogami classes for a fraction of the cost and their build times are shorter. No diminution in quality. In fact I would argue the US should be buying Mogami class frigates instead of a Fremm derivative. The Mogami class is probably the best frigate being built by any navy.

First ship(s) to be built should be Heavy Deck Cargo Vessel(s) able to carry large hull sections from the the manufacturing yard to the assembly yard in the US:

Or Dock Ship(s) like this:

Able to carry both hull sections and complete hulls for smaller vessels.

Unless you want to go for the big stuff:

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Where are the workers going to come from?:

US Navy has a way of solving the “Problems with US Shipyards”

Surpriser, surprise:

Del Toro talking tough to … (deaf ears??):

YES!! Hold the shipyards accountable for poor worksmanship and delays. Quit pouring money into their pockets for the same substandard work.

The navy for their part needs to streamline design and building requirements. If they need to redesign something mid-run then ensure the new builds are built to the new spec instead of going back and fixing them later, which is what they do now.

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Just read the USNI article, I served on a WW2 designed destroyer in 1970-1972, that was laid down in 1944 & launched in Feb of 1945. The US Navy kept a ship, built “mass-production” at various yards, in service for 30 years. The ship then went on to serve with the Greeks until 1995. Not bad for a ship that wasn’t supposed to last more than a decade. So IMHO, I have to agree with the article. Multiple yards & common NAVESEA design.

Yeah right, since when have stock prices driven compensation of anyone other than the lowest tier of hourly employees? Since when have executive paychecks and bonuses decreased a dime as stock prices plummeted from poor management?

Defense contractor executives are like commercial fishermen, they will fight to the death to catch the last living fish and pork barrel project as long as it puts another penny in their pocket.

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