Category Archives: Uncategorized

Navy to consign Bonnie Dick to the scrappers

200716-N-WD349-1423 SAN DIEGO (July 16, 2020) Sailors depart the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) after combating a fire on board. On the morning of July 12, a fire was called away aboard the ship while it was moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego. Base and shipboard firefighters responded to the fire. Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability, which began in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jeffrey F. Yale/Released)

After an epic four-day fire that captured headlines around the world and scorched or flooded 11 of 14 decks, the Navy has decided that USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) will not be going back to her Pascagoula birthplace for a $3B/5-year rebuild, or get a cheaper $1B conversion to a non-combatant hospital ship, command ship, or submarine tender, and will instead be decommissioned, stripped of all useable components and materials to keep her sisters in service, then sent to the breakers.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her.

“Although it saddens me that it is not cost-effective to bring her back, I know this ship’s legacy will continue to live on through the brave men and women who fought so hard to save her, as well as the Sailors and Marines who served aboard her during her 22-year history,” Braithwaite said.

As noted by USNI News, “Decommissioning the ship – and the inactivation, harvesting of parts, towing and scrapping the hull – will cost about $30 million and take just nine to 12 months.”

Of ominous note, the loss of BHR will go in the books as the worst U.S. Navy casualty in terms of tonnage, even eclipsing the destruction of the battleships USS Arizona (BB-39) and USS Oklahoma (BB-37) at Pearl Harbor.

As for a replacement? The well-used Tarawa-class gators USS Nassau (LHA-4) and USS Peleliu (LHA-5), whose keels were laid in the 1970s, have spent much of the past decade growing rust and greenery in the backwater of Pearl Harbor’s lochs. Bringing either one back– Peleliu has only been sidelined since 2015– would surely be a headache, especially for their crews as their huge CE boilers by all accounts didn’t age well, but may prove a useful stopgap until the current America-class LHA pipeline can take BHR’s place in the Western Pacific.

“Harry Greene flies his Boeing Stearman Kaydet Primary Trainer airplane over the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, May 30, 2016. Greene is a helicopter pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and an aircraft enthusiast in his off-duty time.” Note Peleliu and Nassau in the foreground. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

One of these things is not like the other…or is it?

U.S. Navy destroyers and torpedo boats at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, prior to World War I, between mid-1908 and early 1914. The original photograph was published on a tinted postcard by the Pacific Novelty Company, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, California, at about the time it was taken.

Courtesy of R.D. Jeska, 1984. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.color Catalog #: NH 100034-KN

These ships are, despite the caption on the card (from left to right): USS Lawrence (Torpedo Boat Destroyer # 8); USS Goldsborough (Torpedo Boat # 20); and USS Farragut (Torpedo Boat # 11).

The 246-foot Lawrence, at a whopping 400-tons, was a giant compared to the 198-foot/255-ton Goldsborough and 214-foot/279-ton Farragut. However, all three vessels, regardless of their designations, had the same armament of two 18-inch torpedo tubes angeled over the bow and a couple of small 6-pounder guns, as well as the same ~30-knot speed.

The gap between DDs and TBs would, nonetheless, grow widely in the coming years.

Determined Warrior

Some 20 years ago today, on 12 October 2000, while she was being refueled in Yemen’s Aden harbor, the Ingalls-built Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67), was attacked by terrorists who left 17 sailors dead and 39 others seriously injured, damaging the ship to the point that she was almost lost.

Her crew endured, and the lessons learned from that attack have helped mold current DC and topside security protocals.

Today, almost a quarter-century after her commissioning, USS Cole is still very much on active duty.

An extensive tour of the “Determined Warrior,” below:

Unfurling the Fish on the Hoosier Boat

200925-N-AY957-050 GROTON, Conn. (September 25, 2020) – The Virginia-class submarine USS Indiana (SSN 789) arrives at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn. Sept. 25. Indiana returned to homeport from its maiden six-month deployment in support of the Navy’s maritime strategy – supporting national security interests and maritime security operations – in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Christian Bianchi/RELEASED)

Note the boat’s (unofficial?) fish banner, including the traditional 19-starred Indiana Torch, sonar muffs, and a Mk48. It varies a bit from the sub’s official crests, which includes silhouettes of the famous battleships that carried the state’s name in the 20th Century, but still covers much of the same bases.

Also, nice to see that the iconic UDT frogman shorts are still very much a thing with rescue divers.

That Holiday Spirit

USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) dressed for the season:

The Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship has been in the fleet since 1971– making her one of the oldest vessels on the Navy List and, indeed, older than just about everyone who walks her decks. She is 6th Fleet flagship forward-deployed to Gaeta, Italy, and the afloat command platform for STRIKFORNATO.

Meanwhile, in Scandanavia, the Royal Swedish Air Force’s Norrbottens Flygflottilj F 21 just conducted their annual “Julgransflygning” (Christmas tree flight) across the country– putting their JAS39 Gripens in formation in an ode to the O’ Tannenbaum.

Photos by Jesper Sundström/Försvarsmakten.

Feels like the Good Old Brezhnev/Andropov days

I saw that “New Coke” is back and the music of Queen is more popular than ever, but the whole reboot of the 1980s seems to be getting a little extreme.

So this happened, from the USN 7th Fleet PAO:

190607-N-NO101-001 PHILIPPINE SEA (June 7, 2019) The U.S. Navy cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), right, is forced to maneuver to avoid a collision from the approaching Russian destroyer Udaloy I (DD 572), closing to approximately 50-100 feet putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

At approximately 11:45 am on June 7, 2019, while operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer (UDALOY I DD 572) made an unsafe maneuver against guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), closing to approximately 50-100 feet putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk.

While USS Chancellorsville was recovering its helicopter on a steady course and speed when the Russian ship DD572 maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville accelerated and closed to an unsafe distance of approximately 50-100 feet. This unsafe action forced USS Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid a collision.

We consider Russia’s actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional and not in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), “Rules of the Road,” and internationally recognized maritime customs.

So maybe hold off on that Sig P365 purchase

It looks like there may be trouble in paradise with Sig’s new subcompact P365 carry gun. While the double stack micro is about the same size as Glock’s G43 (which has sold an amazing one million units in the past two years), the Sig comes to the party with 10+1 rounds of 9mm rather than the Glock’s 6+1, which guarantees it to be a smash hit.

However, growing word on the street is that Sig’s gun is not a rival for Glock’s reliability.

Not my words, but check out the below from Max Life Tactical, who got 550~ rounds through one on a review before the fit hit the shan (the review starts off glowing but then rapidly makes a 180 at the 6-minute mark)

Then, Tim Harmsen from the Military Arms Channel dropped this on social media yesterday. The words “failed catastrophically” are used.

Yikes.

Could just be a bad batch of guns. Could be that Sig used the customer as a beta tester. All platforms have hiccup periods. I’ve seen it before, regularly.

Still, you may want to wait until the hiccups are over on this one…

« Older Entries