Category Archives: US Navy

Billions on missiles, Austal gets new T-AGOS contract, FFG 65 ordered

Pentagon contracts of note that were released yesterday.

Make of them what you will. Emphasis mine.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Missile and Fire Control, Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $750,552,869 firm-fixed-price contract for Lot 21 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile B-2 missiles with containers, tooling and test equipment, and spares. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida; and Troy, Alabama, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 18, 2027. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Australia. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2023 Air Force missiles procurement funds in the amount of $737,669,116; fiscal 2023 Air Force operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $209,098; fiscal 2022 Air Force missiles procurement funds in the amount of $4,840,000; and FMS funds in the amount of $7,834,655 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8682-23-C-B003).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Missile and Fire Control, Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $443,760,469 firm-fixed-price contract for Lot 7 of Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, spares, Dummy Air Training Missiles, and tooling and test equipment. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida; and Troy, Alabama, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 18, 2027. This contract action does not involve Foreign Military Sales. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2023 Air Force missile procurement funds in the amount of $211,058,011; Fiscal 2023 Navy weapon procurement funds in the amount of $192,036,293; Fiscal 2023 Navy research and development funds in the amount of $17,277,571; fiscal 2023 Department of Defense research and development funds in the amount of $5,760,000; fiscal 2023 Air Force research and development funds in the amount of $15,840,000; fiscal 2023 Air Force operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $1,188,796; fiscal 2022 Navy weapons procurement funds in the amount of $108,132; fiscal 2021 Air Force missiles procurement funds in the amount of $470,526; and fiscal 2021 Navy weapons procurement funds in the amount of $21,140 are being obligated at time of contract award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8682-23-C-0001).

Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, Wisconsin, is awarded a $526,293,001 fixed-price incentive (firm target) modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-2300 to exercise an option for detail design and construction of one Constellation class guided-missile frigate, FFG 65. Work will be performed in Marinette, Wisconsin (51%); Camden, New Jersey (17%); Chicago, Illinois (7%); Green Bay, Wisconsin (4%); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (3%); Hauppauge, New York (3%); Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin (3%); Cincinnati, Ohio (3%); Kaukauna, Wisconsin (2%); Charlotte, North Carolina (2%); Bethesda, Maryland (2%); Millersville, Maryland (2%); and Atlanta, Georgia (1%), and is expected to be completed by December 2028. Fiscal 2023 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $526,293,001 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Austal USA LLC, Mobile, Alabama, is awarded a $113,906,029 fixed-price incentive (firm target) and firm-fixed-price contract for detail design of the Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ship T-AGOS 25 Class. The contract includes options for detail design and construction of up to seven T-AGOS 25 class ships, special studies, engineering and industrial, provisional items orders, post-delivery mission system installation period, and data rights buy-out, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $3,195,396,097. Work will be performed in Mobile, Alabama (42%); Houma, Louisiana (13%); Camden, New Jersey (13%); Shelton, Connecticut (6%); Cincinnati, Ohio (5%); Grove City, Pennsylvania (3%); Semmes, Alabama (3%); Chesapeake, Virginia (2%); Milford, Delaware (2%); New Orleans, Louisiana (1%); and various locations across the U.S., each less than 1% (10%), and is expected to be completed by November 2024. If all options are exercised, work will continue through June 2034. Fiscal 2022 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $113,906,029 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the website, with two offers received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-23-C-2203).

More on the T-AGOS 25 Class (Previously TAGOS[X]), via Austal:

Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) is pleased to announce that Austal USA has been awarded a US$113,906,029 fixed-price incentive (firm target) and firm-fixed-price contract for detail design of the Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ship T-AGOS 25 Class for the United States Navy. The contract includes options for detail design and construction of up to seven T-AGOS 25 class ships which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to US$3,195,396,097.

T-AGOS ships, operated by United States Military Sealift Command (MSC), support the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission of the commanders of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets by providing a platform capable of passive and active anti-submarine acoustic surveillance. The 110 metre, steel ‘small waterplane area twin hull’ (SWATH) vessels support the Navy’s Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) by gathering underwater acoustical data using Surveillance Towed-Array Sensor System (SURTASS) equipment.

Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the T-AGOS contract adds to Austal USA’s growing portfolio of steel shipbuilding programs and is a further demonstration of the US Government’s trust in Austal USA’s capabilities.  

“T-AGOS is a unique auxiliary naval platform that plays an integral role in supporting Navy’s anti-submarine warfare mission. Austal USA is honoured to be selected to deliver this critical capability for the Navy, utilising our advanced manufacturing processes, state-of-the-art steel shipbuilding facilities and our growing team of shipbuilders.

“The T-AGOS contract is a clear acknowledgment of Austal’s capabilities in steel naval shipbuilding, that includes the Navy’s Towing, Salvage and Rescue (T-ATS) ships, an Auxiliary Floating Drydock Medium (AFDM), and the US Coast Guards’ Offshore Patrol Cutters.

“These four steel naval shipbuilding projects, and our continuing successful delivery of the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship and Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport programs, are positioning Austal USA exceptionally well to meet the growing demands of the US Navy and Coast Guard,” Mr Gregg said.

As prime contractor for the contract, Austal USA is teaming with L3Harris Technologies, Noise Control Engineering, TAI Engineering, and Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors to deliver the TAGOS-25 program, from the company’s new steel shipbuilding facility in Mobile, Alabama.

Utilising proven, advanced manufacturing processes and innovative production techniques that incorporate lean manufacturing principles, modular construction, and moving assembly lines, Austal USA is currently delivering multiple naval shipbuilding programs and sub-contracted projects, including;

  • Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (17 of 19 vessels delivered)
  • Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transports (13 of 16 vessels delivered, including the largest uncrewed capable vessel in the U.S. Navy, USNS Apalachicola, EPF-13)
  • Four Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue (T-ATS) Ships
  • Up to 11 Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutters for the US Coast Guard
  • An Auxiliary Floating Dock Medium (AFDM)
  • Elevators for the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
  • Command modules for Virginia-class Submarines (SSN)

This ASX announcement has been approved and authorised for release by Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer, Paddy Gregg.

And the one-pager on T-AGOS 25 via the Congressional Research Service:

Logging that Pattaya Beach time

The Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) series of bilateral military exercises conducted between the U.S. Pacific Fleet and allied nations in Southeast Asia, never really gets a lot of attention, although it has been a thing since 1995.

It isn’t anywhere as big and sexy as the biannual RIMPAC exercises, or involves a large dynamic ground force element such as Balikatan, so it doesn’t provide a lot of great images.

However unsung, CARAT allows USPACFLT to interface with all the old SEATO allies in the region at sea but without the 1960s Cold War vibes, although the Chinese are now the proxy for the Soviets.

The current ex has seen the recently completed Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Mobile (LCS 26), in a good sort of flag waving use for the class, hanging out in and around Sattahip, Thailand for CARAT 29 8-16 May.

Besides the normal feel-good ship tours, festivities, and community relations events, Mobile got some underway formation time with three Thai assets that are very interesting in the respect that two are Chinese exported warships and while the third is a rather modern ROK-built vessel.

These included:

HTMS Naresuan (FFG-421), a modified version of the 3,000-ton Chinese-made Type 053 frigate, albeit outfitted with largely 1980s American gear.

HTMS Bangpakong (FFG-456), a 2,000-ton variant of the Chinese-built Type 053H2 frigate complete with YJ-8/C-801 anti-ship missiles and a full Eye Shield/Square Tie/Sun Visor/Rice Lamp sensor/EW suite. While dated, it is always nice to get an up-close look at stuff like that from both ends.

HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej (FFG-471), a 3,700-ton variant of the So Korean Gwanggaeto the Great-class “stealth” frigates. She only entered service a few years ago and has a mix of European sensors and American weapons.

Spotted in the Mississippi Sound: Cool Little Haze Gray AUSVs

So we came across this interesting little guy while wandering around the small craft harbor in Gulfport last week.

A closer look shows lots of solar panels on the folded sail over a torpedo-shaped hull, a forward-facing camera, and a FLIR gimble over the stern.

This is it being towed into the harbor past the Gulfport Yacht Club by a 25~ foot RHIB workboat with sparse markings.

CF 9065 LE. Looks to be a repurposed old CG 26ft RB-S, note the painted-over red sides

They motored up to the recreational boat ramp by the repro Ship Island Lighthouse where a guy with a pickup truck and a wheeled recovery cart was waiting.

Up she comes.

The hull form has a centerline thruster stem/stabilizer.

It could be deployed by two-three men. While we watched they unloaded two of these, towing them each off with a Toyota Tundra.

Stumped? It is an Ocean Aero Triton, which is capable of sailing autonomously for 3 months on solar and wind power at speeds of up to 5 knots.

The TRITON is the world’s first and only Autonomous Underwater and Surface Vehicle (AUSV). It can sail and submerge autonomously to collect data both above and below the ocean’s surface and relay it to you from anywhere, at any time.

The TRITON was built to be versatile and to handle a range of missions across a number of industries. Our pre-packaged payloads will cover 90% of the applications in the defense, research, and off-shore energy sectors, but the system is designed to support rapid NRE efforts for more specific use cases. Optional state-of-the-art payloads include advanced modal communications for high bandwidth data transfer in remote areas as well as obstacle avoidance software/hardware to ensure autonomous reactions to unexpected mission complications.

The Specs, and some shots from Ocean Aero of the Triton submerged:

Click to big up 3452×2154

Bookends, Flattops

Two very interesting things have occurred in the past few weeks when it comes to the Navy’s capital ships.

First, USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the oldest-serving U.S. commissioned aircraft carrier in the world, successfully completed its 350,000th arrested aircraft landing while sailing in the South China Sea, a milestone nearly 48 years in the making.

Capt. Craig Sicola, commanding officer of Nimitz, and Cmdr. Luke Edwards, commanding officer of the “Fighting Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, piloted the landing in a F/A-18F Super Hornet from VFA 22 on the morning of April 22nd. 230422-N-HK462-1291 Photo By: Hannah Kantner

Nimitz is the first active U.S. Navy carrier in the Fleet to reach this milestone– even surpassing the numbers seen by Enterprise, the Forrestal, JFK, Midway, et. al. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) has the next highest total of arrested landings at 326,600.

The Navy is starting long-lead planning to defuel and dispose of Nimitz (CVN-68), with the carrier scheduled to leave service in 2026 after 51 years in the fleet.

And in a follow-up to that, the first of the new Ford-class supercarriers, CVN-78, departed Naval Station Norfolk for her first real deployment, on 2 May.

The GRFCSG consists of USS Gerald R. Ford, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Warship Wednesday, May 10, 2023: The Sleazy B

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1954 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, May 10, 2023: The Sleazy B

Naval History and Heritage Command NH 56568

Above we see a view of the slipway at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., some 105 years ago this week, of the Wickes-class four-piper USS Breese (Destroyer No. 122) just after she was launched on Saturday 11 May 1918. Completed too late for the war she was intended for; our humble little tin can would be very busy in the next one.

The Wickes

Breese was one of the iconic first flight of “Four Piper” destroyers that were designed in 1915-16 with input from no less an authority as Captain (later Admiral) W.S. Sims. Beamy ships with a flush deck and a quartet of boilers (with a smokestack for each) were coupled to a pair of Parsons geared turbines to provide 35.3 knots designed speed– which is still considered fast today, more than a century later.

The teeth of these 314-foot, 1,250-ton greyhounds were four 4-inch/50 cal MK 9 guns and a full dozen 21-inch torpedo tubes.

They reportedly had short legs and were very wet, which made long-range operations a problem, but they gave a good account of themselves. Originally a class of 50 was authorized in 1916, but once the U.S. entered WWI in April 1917, this was soon increased and increased again to some 111 ships built by 1920.

Wickes class USS Yarnall (DD-143): Booklet of General Plans – Inboard Profile / Outboard Profile, June 10, 1918, NARA NAID: 158704871

Wickes class USS Yarnall (DD-143): Booklet of General Plans – Main Deck / 1st Platform Deck / S’ch L’t P’f’m, S’ch L’t Control P’f’m, Fire Control P’f’m Bridge, Galley Top, After Dk. House and 2nd Platform Deck. / June 10, 1918, Hold NARA NAID: 158704873

Wickes class. A close-up of her stern top-down view of plans shows the Wickes class’s primary armament– a dozen torpedo tubes in four turnstiles and stern depth charges.

Meet USS Breese

Our warship is the only one named in honor of Kidder Randolph Breese.

Mr. Breese, a Philadelphian, was appointed a Navy midshipman at the age of 15 and saw wartime service on the sloop USS Saratoga off Mexico before his appointment to Annapolis. He later went on to join Commodore Perry’s Japan voyage and in the Paraguay Expedition in the antebellum period of the young republic. Civil War service included serving on the USS San Jacinto during the Trent affair, then with RADM David Dixon Porter for Vicksburg and Fort Fisher. Post-war assignments were varied and included inspecting the battle-damaged ironclad Huascar and command of the Torpedo Station at Newport, where he passed in 1881 at the rank of captain, aged a well-traveled 50.

Laid down on 10 November 1917 at Newport News, she was launched on 11 May 1918 with Mrs. Gilbert McIlvaine, the late Capt. Breese’s daughter, as sponsor, and commissioned on 23 October 1918, just three weeks before the Great War ended.

Notably, she was built side-by-side with her sister USS Gamble (DD-123) and the two were launched on the same day.

Newport News Ship Building Company, Newport News, Virginia. Caption: USS Breese (DD-122) and USS Gamble (DD-123) on the ways between November 1917 and May 1918. Description: NH 43018

USS Breese (DD-122), double launching with USS Gamble (DD-123) at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia on 11 May 1918. NH 56567

With the line still hot, just five minutes after she was launched, workmen began putting down the keel plates for sistership USS Bagley (DD-185) on the ways that Breese had just vacated while USS Clemson (DD-186) had her plates installed on Gamble’s freshly vacant berth.

Still, our brand new destroyer was able to get some wartime service in, effectively spending her shakedown on convoy escort duty with the Atlantic Fleet Cruiser Force.

USS Breese (DD-122) photographed circa November 1918, dressed in flags. Note her dazzle camouflage, which she would shed within a year. NH 42836

Immediately after the war wound down, Breese along with Gamble and several of their sisters Destroyer Division 12, would deploy to Cuban waters for most of 1919.

USS Gamble (DD-123) and USS Breese (DD-122) photographed circa 1919, probably at Balboa, Panama, Canal zone. Courtesy of Jack Howland, 1983 NH 94956

USS Breese (Destroyer # 122). Photographed circa 1919. Note that she still wears a small hull number (“122”) in its World War I position below the bridge, as well as a large number in the post-war location on the bow. Courtesy of Jim Kazalis, 1981. NH 92527

Div 12, with Breese along with it, then set out for the Pacific Fleet, where they would be active out of San Diego for the next two years.

USS Breese (DD-122) moored to a buoy circa 1920. NH 56572

USS Breese (DD-122) in San Diego, California, circa 1920. Note her single 3″/23 “anti balloon gun” behind her forward 4-incher. Courtesy of Mr. Donald M. McPherson, Corte Madera, California NH 56573

USS Breese (DD-122) photographed circa 1920. NH 61910

Destroyers nested at San Diego, CA circa 1920; from L-R: USS Radford (Destroyer No. 120), USS Sproston (Destroyer No. 173), USS Breese (Destroyer No. 122), USS Badger (Destroyer No. 126) and USS Montgomery (Destroyer No. 121). NH 50241

Destroyer Divisions 13, 15, 14, 11, and 10 moored in nests, off San Diego, California, circa 1922. Ships in the left foreground nest include (from left to right): USS Breese (DD-122); USS Radford (DD-120); USS Gamble (DD-123); USS Farquhar (DD-304); USS Robert Smith (DD-324); USS Montgomery (DD-121); and USS Lamberton (DD-119). The leftmost ship in the nest at right is USS Kennison (DD-138). Courtesy of ESKC Joseph L. Aguillard, USNR, 1969 NH 69514

Three Wickes (Lamberton) Class Destroyers during a public event at an unknown west coast port, maybe San Diago Ca in the early 1920s. From the left is USS Lamberton DD-119 (lead ship of the modified Wickes Destroyers), USS Breese DD-122, and USS Radford DD-120. Ships were part of Destroyer Force Division 12, Pacific Fleet

U.S. fleet in Balboa, Panama, early 1920s. The center of the photo is the battleship USS New Mexico BB-40, then a cluster of flush deck destroyers including USS Ramsey DD-124, USS Montgomery DD-121, USS Breese DD-122, USS Lamberton DD-119, and USS Gamble DD-123. In the background are the battleship USS Mississippi BB-41, the tin cans USS O’Bannon DD-177, USS MacKenzie DD-175, USS Hugan DD-178, USS Anthony DD-172, and several other destroyers and another battleship in the far distance.

With the Navy flush with destroyers and few destroyermen billets to go around, Breese was decommissioned on 17 June 1922 after just short of four years of service and laid up.

Destroyers refitting at Mare Island. View taken circa 1921-22. Many of these ships are being modified to place the after 4/50 gun atop an enlarged after-deckhouse. Ships present include (listed from the foreground): USS Lamberton (DD-119); unidentified destroyer; USS Breese (DD-122); USS Radford (DD-120); unidentified destroyer; USS Elliot (DD-146); USS Tarbell (DD-142); USS Yarnall (DD-143); USS Delphy (DD-261); USS McFarland (DD-237); USS Litchfield (DD-336); USS Kennison (DD-138); USS Lea (DD-118); and two unidentified destroyers. Collection of Rear Admiral Ammen Farenthold, USN (MC), 1932. NH 50325

Welcome to the Mine Forces

After nearly a decade on red lead row, Breese was taken out of mothballs and redesignated a fast destroyer minelayer (DM-18) on 5 January 1931. This saw her head to Mare Island for a general overhaul and conversion.

The Navy had previously converted 14 Wickes and Clemson class ships to this designation in 1920, with the simple swap out of having their torpedo tubes replaced with tracks that could carry approximately 80 1,400-pound Mark VI moored antenna mines (of which the Navy had 50,000 left over from the Great War) to drop over the side.

As noted by Destroyer

Among the lessons World War I offered the US Navy was the possibility that fast ships could be effective in laying minefields to disrupt enemy operations. The surplus of flush-deckers at the end of the war provided an opportunity to experiment.

The original 14 circa 1920 rated destroyer-minelayers were slowly replaced throughout the 1930s by a smaller group of eight converted flush-deckers taken from mothballs– USS Gamble (DM-15)(DD-123), USS Ramsey (DM-16)(DD-124), USS Montgomery (DM-17)(DD-121), USS Breese (DM-18)(DD-122), USS Tracy (DM-19)(DD-214), USS Preble (DM-20)(DD-345), USS Sicard (DM-21)(DD-346) and USS Pruitt (DM-22)(DD-347).

Jane’s 1931 entry on the type. Note Breese is misspelled as “Breeze.”

Curiously, these ships would retain their white DD-hull numbers but wear mine-force insignia on their bow, outwardly looking much more destroyer than minelayer.

Wickes-class destroyer USS Ramsey (DM-16)(DD-124) view was taken by Tai Sing Loo, at Pearl Harbor, T. H., circa 1930. Note that she is fitted out as a minelayer (DM) and retains her DD-hull number while wearing mine-force insignia on her bow. NH 49953

In addition to these minelayers, a number of Wickes/Clemson class flush deckers were converted during the WWII era to other tasks including eighteen fast minesweepers (DMS), fourteen seaplane tenders (AVD), and six fast “Green Dragon” transports (APD) plus test ship Semmes (AG 24, ex-DD 189) at the Key West Sound School and damage control hulk Walker (DCH 1, ex-YW 57, ex-DD 163) which was reclaimed from commercial service as a dockside restaurant at San Diego.

All eight of the active destroyer-minelayers were formed into Mine Squadron 1 headed up by the old minelayer USS Oglala (CM 4), flagship of Rear Admiral William R. Furlong, commander of Minecraft for the Battle Force of the Pacific Fleet, and forward-based with “The Pineapple Fleet” at Pearl Harbor, where a new conflict would soon find them.


All MineRon1’s ships were swaying at their berths at Pearl’s Middle Loch on 7 December 1941 when the Japanese attack came in. The squadron was divided into two divisions, with MinDiv2 consisting of Gamble, Montgomery, Breese, and Ramsay.

The response by Breese, among others, was immediate. From her after-action report:

At 0755 two dive bombing planes approached Ford Island from the west at an altitude of 200 ft., in horizontal flight and bombed the sea plane hangar and adjacent gasoline tanks on the west end of Ford Island. The general alarm was sounded, and the anti-aircraft battery manned. This ship opened fire with 50 cal. machine guns at 0757, the first ship to open fire in the Middle Loch area.

In all, Breese got off 1,700 rounds .50 cal. AP/tracer and 45 rounds from her single 3″/23 cal. AAA gun which had been designed primarily to shoot down balloons. Her crew also broke out the light machine guns reserved for use by the landing force– three 30 cal. Lewis machine guns and three M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles. The ship claimed one “kill.”

Four planes were observed by this officer as they were shot down in the Middle Loch area. One of these was hit by a 3″ projectile from this ship, which blew the after part of the fuselage away the remainder of the plane crashed into the west bank of the channel in flames.

By 0917, with an unidentified submarine sighted in the middle of the channel northwest of Ford Island, Breese got underway towards where a periscope had been sighted. She spent the rest of the morning hunting down sound bearings and dropped 11 depth charges on what were thought to be contacts, and Breese may have had a hand in accounting for one of the five Japanese Type A kō-hyōteki midget subs lost in the attack.

Her casualties that day included two gunners suffering minor injuries while working the 3″/23 and minor splinter damage to the ship’s rigging. Likewise, all seven of her DM sisters came through the Japanese strike’s fury and were ready for service. However, Oglala capsized through a series of strange events but would be quickly raised and returned to service as an engine repair ship.

DANFS is almost criminally short on Breese’s subsequent wartime service, summing it up as :

Breese operated in the Central Pacific from 7 December 1941 until 10 October 1944. She then extended her sphere of duty westward to include various islands in the Marianas-Philippine area and continued to serve as a minelayer and patrol ship until 7 November 1945.

Her nine-page War History, in the National Archives, shed much more light on the service.

She would lay one of the first American offensive minefields of the Pacific War, in French Frigate Shoals, and spend much of 1942 on ASW patrol around Hawaii. This would include a sortie to Midway along with USS Allen and USS Fulton, where the three ships picked up 81 men and three officers from the lost carrier USS Yorktown.

Then came some real excitement, detailed via some excerpts from her War History:

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Tucker (DD-374) sinking on 4 August 1942. Tucker had struck a mine in the area on 3 August 1942, breaking her keel. She was being towed by a motor launch from Espiritu Santo to beach her before she sank when she jack-knifed amidships about 3 1/2 hours later and sank off the northwest corner of Malo Island. The destroyer minelayer USS Breese (DM-18) is standing by, in the foreground. Photographed from a seaplane based on USS Curtiss (AV-4). NH 77031.

Breese (DM-18) underway on 11 December 1943. Note by this point in the war she had three stacks rather than four. NH 107270

Her 7 May offensive mine efforts are detailed by Destroyer

On 7 May, Radford led GamblePreble and Breese in an offensive operation to the New Georgia Group. Approaching Kolombangara from the south through Ferguson Passage, the three laid 250 mines in 17 minutes across narrow Blackett Strait, a well-known route of the Tokyo Express to Vila. The following night, three unsuspecting destroyers of veteran Japanese Destroyer Division 15—which had conducted more Tokyo Express operations to Guadalcanal than any other division—ran into it from the east at 18 knots enroute home from their advance base at nearby Vila plantation. Kuroshio sank immediately; class leader Kagero and division flagship Oyashio were disabled. Despite rescue barges sent out from Vila, they remained exposed to attacks by American aircraft, which found and bombed them the following day. Both eventually sank.

Then came a very busy string of island-hopping campaigns. 

Breese (DM-18) 22 April 1944 off Aitape, New Guinea. Note her small “18” hull number, reduced stacks (three rather than four), and green camouflage, much like that seen on the APD fast transports of the time. National Archives photo SC259984

Among the eight flush-deck destroyer minelayers, the class earned 44 Pacific battle stars. Breese accounted for 10 of these by herself, including:

  • 7 Dec 41 Pearl Harbor–Midway
  • 12 May 43 – 13 May 43 Consolidation of Southern Solomons
  • 29 Jun 43 – 25 Aug 43 New Georgia-Rendova-Vanunu occupation
  • 1 Nov 43 – 8 Nov 43 Occupation and defense of Cape Torokina
  • 12 Oct 44 – 20 Oct 44 Leyte landings
  • 4 Jan 45 – 18 Jan 45 Lingayen Gulf landing
  • 16 Feb 45 – 7 Mar 45 Assault and occupation of Iwo Jima
  • 25 Mar 45 – 30 Jun 45 Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto
  • 5 Jul 45 – 31 Jul 45 3d Fleet operations against Japan

In August and September 1945 Breese swept mines in the East China Sea “Klondike” areas and Van Dieman Straits in the Kyushu-Korean area.

Then, she headed home for good.

She transited the Panama Canal and put into New York on 13 December 1945. She was decommissioned on 15 January 1946 and sold on 16 May 1946.


Breese’s war diaries, plans, and war history are preserved in the National Archives.

Meanwhile, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum’s gallery contains her ship’s bell.

(US Navy Photo by Max Lonzanida/Released)

Breese’s Pearl Harbor skipper, LCDR Herald Franklin Stout (USNA 1926) would go on to earn two Navy Crosses in the Solomon Islands with the “Little Beavers” of DESRON 23 ( Squadron) as skipper of the new Fletcher-class tin can USS Claxton (DD-571). He retired in 1956 as a rear admiral and passed away in 1987, aged 83. The Pascagoula-built destroyer USS Stout (DDG-55) is named after him and has been in service since 1994.

Of the eight flush-deck destroyer minelayers, two were lost during the war, including Breese’s twin, USS Gamble, who was so severely damaged off Iwo Jima while screening the old battleship Nevada that she was towed to the Marianas and scuttled off Guam. The other loss was Navy Unit Commendation recipient USS Montgomery (DM-17)(DD-121), who fouled a drifting mine in Palau in late 1944 and was decommissioned shortly after limping back home.

Besides Gamble and Montgomery, at least 11 other Wickes class destroyers were lost during World War II in U.S. service. The remainder were scrapped between 1945 and 1947.

Today no Wickes-class tin cans survive. The last one afloat, USS Maddox (DD–168), was scrapped in late 1952 after serving in the US, then RN, then Canadian, then Soviet navies.

However, one of the class, USS Walker (DD-163), has been given new life in the excellent alternate history series Destroyermen written by Taylor Anderson.

There has never been another USS Breese.

Ships are more than steel
and wood
And heart of burning coal,
For those who sail upon
them know
That some ships have a

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I’m a member, so should you be!

Peak Knox, underway

A beautiful photo essay on the Knox-class destroyer escort/fast frigate USS Donald B. Beary (DE/FF 1085), seen circa April 1989 off Hampton Roads. This is a great example of the class in its final weapon fit, which was undoubtedly its best including an SLQ-32, an MK-16 8-cell ASROC matchbox (with 8 reloads) that could also carry Harpoons in two cells, the Mk 42 5-inch gun, Sea Sprite hangar, towed array, and stern CIWS. 

These are U.S. Navy photos DN-SN-90-08276 through -08284 by photographer PH2 Vise, available in a much larger format in the National Archives.

Awarded 25 August 1966 to Avondale Shipyards, Inc., in Westwego, Louisiana, the only ship named for WWII Navy Cross recipient RADM Donald B. Beary was commissioned on 22 July 1972 at Boston NSY.

Following 19 years of service, at the conclusion of the Cold War, she was reclassified as a training frigate (FFT 1085) in 1991 as part of the failed NRF Frigate program which she was a part of for a few years before she was struck in 1995 and transferred to Turkey, renamed TCG Karadeniz (F-255).

While manpower-intensive due to their 1960s steam plants, a modern version with a diesel-electric plant and much-reduced manning would be a great ASW/ASuW asset today, especially if fitted with a VL-ASROC, MK 45 5″/62, and 16 NSMs. You know, kinda what the LCS should have been. 

Wicked Monstah Boat

The 25th Virginia-class hunter-killer, USS Massachusetts (SSN 798), was christened at Newport News over the weekend, with a tentative commissioning date of May 2024 in Boston. She will be the fifth such commissioned vessel (9th planned) named for the state filling the 61-year gap on the Navy List that was left when the SoDak class battlewagon USS Massachusetts (BB-59) was struck from the Naval Register on 1 June 1962.

HII photos: 

Massachusetts Logo Placement on Hull

Massachusetts SSN 798 Christening

Massachusetts SSN 798 Crew Photos

Massachusetts SSN 798 Christening Ceremony

Much as BB-59 was rushed into combat, it is possible that her follow-on namesake could come just in time to a war that she is much-needed.

Warship Wednesday, May 3, 2023: Where Dewey and Halsey Intersect

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1954 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, May 3, 2023: Where Dewey and Halsey Intersect

Via the estate of Lieutenant C.J. Dutreaux, U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. WHI.2014.21

Above we see the splinter-riddled and abandoned Spanish Navy Velasco-class unprotected cruiser (crucero desprotegido) Don Juan de Austria as she appeared some 105 years ago this week, her hull on the bottom of Manila Bay, the first week of May 1898. Lost on the same day with two of her sisters of the “Escuadra Negra,” she would go on to serve a further two decades, albeit under a different flag.

The Velasco class

Built in three Spanish yards (La Carraca, Cartagena, and Ferrol) as well as at the Thames Iron Works in Blackwall, these very slight cruisers were meant for overseas colonial service and diplomatic representation in Spain’s far-flung global territories, not for combat against the armored fleets of modern states. Ridiculously small vessels by any measure, they ran just 210 feet overall with a 1,100-ton displacement. However, they could float in just two fathoms, which was important for their taskings.

Beautiful three-masted iron-hulled barque-rigged steamers with a bowsprit, they carried a quartet of British Humphrys cylindrical boilers to feed on a pair of horizontal compound steam engines that could turn a centerline screw for speeds up to 15 knots, although they typically only made about 12-13 in practice.

The eight-ship class included Velasco, Gravina, Cristóbal Colón, Isabel II, Don Antonio de Ulloa, Don Juan de Austria, and Infanta Isabel, all traditional Spanish naval heroes and regal names.

Only the first two, Velasco and Gravina, carried their maximum armament of a trio of British-made Armstrong M1881 BL 6-inch guns and two smaller 70mm/12cal Gonzalez Hontorias.

Cruiser Gravinia, Spanish Velasco class. The period illustration shows her sailing rig

The six follow-on vessels would carry a more homogeneous four-gun battery of 4.74-inch/35 cal M1883 Hontorias in single shielded mounts amidships, augmented by four five-barreled 37mm Hotchkiss anti-torpedo boat gatling guns, another quartet of 3-pounder Nordenfelts, and two 14.2 inch Schwartzkopff torpedo tubes along the beam.

Period line drawing of Conde de Venadito, note the two broadside sponsons supporting her 4.7-inch guns

The four 12-cm. B. L. Hontoria M1883s on the last six cruisers of the class had a range of 10,500 meters but were slow to reload. Here, is a blistered example seen on the Spanish Cruiser Isla de Cuba.

Our subject, named for the 16th-century Bavarian-born illegitimate son of King Charles I of Spain who went on to become a noted general and diplomat, was laid down at the Arsenal del Cartagena in 1883 and completed in 1889.

Constructed and delivered between 1879 and 1891, they saw much overseas service, with sister Infanta Isabel— the first metal-hulled warship built in Spain– especially notable for her appearance in American waters during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World.

Infanta Isabel in New York. (1893), Note the great view of her guns and masts

Infanta Isabel at the International Columbian Naval Review in New York in April 1893. Description: Courtesy of Ted Stone, 1981.NH 92029

Infanta Isabel in New York 1893

Spanish Velasco-class Unprotected Cruiser Infanta Isabel towing Nao Santa María out of Havana April 1893

Another, Conde de Venadito, would later transport the remains of Christopher Columbus from Havana to Seville at around the same time.

Cruisers Sánchez Barcaíztegui and Conde de Venadito, Havana, 1895

Spanish Cruiser of the Infanta Isabel Class photographed in U.S. waters, likely either Conde de Venadito or Infanta Isabel, with the river steamer Angler in the background, circa the 1880s or 1890s. NH 46866

As noted by the above images, the class typically carried a gleaming white scheme, which led to sisters assigned to the Philippines who carried more practical, black-painted hulled derided as “the Black Squadron.”

Sadly, they would also prove extremely unlucky to their crews. The English-built Gravina would be wrecked in a typhoon while in Philippines waters in 1884 just three years after she was completed. Meanwhile, the Carraca-constructed Cristóbal Colón ran aground in the Los Colorados shoal near Mantua Pinar del Río Cuba in 1895 then was destroyed by a hurricane before she could be pulled free.

Some saw extensive combat.

For instance, Conde de Venadito provided naval gunfire support during the Margallo War against the Rif in Morocco in 1893. Ulloa was continually active against Philippine insurgents in Mindanao in 1891 then again in 1896-97 in the Tagalog Revolt. Similarly, Velasco would unleash her guns on insurgents in Manila in 1896 and in Bacoor, Vinacayan, Cavite, Viejo, and Noveleta the following year.

Others fought Cuban rebels and those trying to smuggle munitions to them from time to time prior to 1898.

This brings us to…

The Crucible of the Spanish-American War

While fine for service as station ships in remote colonial backwaters, a floating sign to the locals that Spain’s enduring empire still had a modicum of prestige remaining, they just couldn’t slug it out with other modern warships of any size. Of the eight Velascos, two had been lost in pre-war accidents. Conde de Venadito, Isabel II, and Infanta Isabella were in Cuba, with the latter laid up in need of a refit.

Meanwhile, Velasco, Don Antonio de Ulloa, and our Don Juan de Austria were in the Philippines where they had been for a decade.

Their fight in the Battle of Manila on 1 May 1898 was brief.

Don Juan de Austria was the first Spanish ship in Admiral Don Patricio Montojo’s battleline to spot Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron, at 0445.

Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898. With Manila, Philippines, in the top center, and the Spanish fleet in the upper right, the U.S. Navy ships listed descending on the left to bottom are: Colliers; USS McCullough; USS Petrel; USS Concord; USS Boston; USS Raleigh; USS Baltimore; and USS Olympia – signaling “Remember the Maine.” Color lithograph by Rand McNally. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Placed adjacent to the old Aragon-class wooden cruiser Castilla (c1869, 3342t, 4×5.9-inch guns, 2×4.7-inch guns) to give that ship some protection, by 0630 both vessels were taking hits and were increasingly disabled by American shells (at least 13 large caliber hits on Don Juan de Austria alone) that also killed or wounded several men. By 0830, both were abandoned.

A U.S. Navy boarding party from the gunboat USS Petrel went aboard later that day and set her upper works on fire.

Halftone reproduction of an artwork by E.T. Smith, 1901, depicting a boat party from USS Petrel setting fire to Spanish gunboats near the battle’s end. The party was under the direction of Chief Carpenter’s Mate Franz A. Itrich, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for this operation. Copied from Deeds of Valor, Vol.II, page 354, published by the Perrien-Keydel Co., Detroit, Michigan, 1907. Photo #: NH 79948

Wreck of the Spanish cruiser Castilla off Cavite, shortly after the battle. In the background are (left-to-right): the cruisers USS Olympia, USS Baltimore, USS Raleigh, and two merchant ships. Copied from the USS Baltimore album, page 27. NH 101344

Sister Don Antonio de Ulloa got an even tougher beating, receiving 33 hits (four 8-inch, three 6-inch, one of 5-inch, and the rest of 3- and 6-pounder). Her commander, Capt. José de Iturralde, was killed as were half of her 130-man crew. In a pyrrhic victory, one of her 3-pounder Hotchkiss rifles was credited with firing the last shot at Dewey’s fleet in the battle.

Wreck of Spanish cruiser Don Antonio de Ulloa NHHC WHI.2014

Later that day, Velasco, laid up pending repairs and without her guns installed, was destroyed while anchored in the company of the gunboat General Lezo in the Spanish yard at Cavite.

Wreck of Spanish cruiser Velasco at Cavite, May 1898. NHHC WHI.2014.24

Meanwhile, sisters Infanta Isabella and Conde del Venadito, in poor condition in Cuban waters, survived the war (largely because they did not fight) with the latter hulked soon after her return to Spain. Isabel II, who fought in the battles of San Juan and survived, was likewise scrapped just a few years later.

By 1907, only Infanta Isabella remained in Spanish service from the eight-ship class.

Infanta Isabella’s 1914 entry in Jane’s. She had been rebuilt between 1910 and 11, removing her tubes, old machinery, and guns and replacing them with a single Skoda 70 mm gun and 10 Nordenfelt 57 mm guns. Once she returned to Spain, she continued extensive overseas service in the Canary Islands, the Gold Coast, and Guinean possessions, soldiering on until 1926, a full 39-year career, benefiting from parts from the stripped Conde del Venadito and scrapped Isabel II.

But the battered Don Juan de Austria would sail again.

U.S. Service

Salvaged and repaired in nearby Hong Kong, our Spanish cruiser was commissioned into American Navy as USS Don Juan de Austria on 11 April 1900. Re-rated as a gunboat due to her small size and low speed, she was rearmed with American ordnance to include two 4-inch mounts, eight rapid-fire 6-pounders, and two rapid-fire 1-pounders. Her waterlogged Spanish machinery was replaced with four straight-away cylindrical boilers, and one 941ihp horizontal compound engine, allowing her to make 12 knots.

In this respect, she mirrored another raised Spanish cruiser, the second-class protected cruiser USS Isla de Luzon, which was also one of Admiral Montojo’s warships lost in Manila Bay. A third Spanish cruiser, the Alfonso XII-class Reina Mercedes, sunk as a blockship in the entrance channel of the harbor at Santiago de Cuba, was also raised and put into U.S. Navy service under her old name, becoming USS Reina Mercedes despite the fact she could not even sail under her own power and would serve her second career wholly as a receiving/barracks/prison ship. In each case, the old Spanish Navy names were carefully retained to highlight the fact they were war trophies.

More mobile than USS Reina Mercedes, which earned the unofficial title of the “Fastest Ship in the Navy,” USS Don Juan de Austria did manage to get around quite a bit once her name was added to the Navy List. Her first American skipper was CDR Thomas C. McLean, USN, fresh off his job as commanding officer of the torpedo station at Newport, Rhode Island.

Officers of USS Don Juan de Austria. Photograph taken while at Canton, China, circa September 1900. Note her newly installed USN quarterdeck board. The officers listed are numbered as follows: 1. Lieutenant Junior Grade John D. Barber, Asst. Paymaster, USN; 2. Naval Cadet Allen Buchanan, USN; 3. Lieutenant John L. Purcell, USN; 4. Ensign William L. Littlefield, USN; 5. Naval Cadet Ralph E. Pope, USN; 6. Lieutenant Henry B. Price, USN; 7. Commander Thomas C. McLean, USN, CO; 8. Lieutenant Harold A. Haas, Asst. Surgeon, USN; and 9. Lieutenant Armistead Rust, USN. NH 104885

She soon spent the next three years alternating between standing station off China to protect American interests there, and action in the Philippines where the U.S. was fighting a tough insurgency throughout the archipelago. 

USS Don Juan de Austria in Chinese waters circa 1900. Note she now has a white hull, two much-reduced masts, and extensive awnings. NH 54544


She was employed in the Philippines in general duties in connection with taking possession of the newly acquired territory, supporting Army operations against the insurgent native forces, transporting troops and stores, blockading insurgent supply routes, and seizing and searching various towns to ensure American control.

USS Don Juan de Austria photographed in the Philippine Islands, circa 1900. Inset shows one of the ship’s boats. Courtesy of Captain R. E. Pope, USN (Ret.) NH 54546

In this, her crew could be nearly halved to send as many as 75 bluejackets ashore as an armed landing force. 

Her crew would even take into custody one of the insurgency’s leaders.

Aguinaldo, a cousin of Emilio, Guiando, Captured by the Don Juan De Austria 1900. NH 120409

She departed Hong Kong on 16 December 1903 for the United States, sailing by way of Singapore, Ceylon, India, the Suez Canal, and Mediterranean ports to arrive at Portsmouth Navy Yard on 21 April 1904, where she was placed in ordinary for 18 months’ worth of repairs and refit. This saw her small 4- and 1-pounders removed, and another four 4-inch mounts added, giving her a total of six. Four Colt machine guns were also added.

In December 1905, a young Midshipman by the name of William Frederick Halsey, Jr. (USNA 1904) was transferred to the USS Don Juan de Austria. Promoted to ensign while aboard her the following February, Mr. Halsey served as the gunboat’s watch and division officer for the next two years.

USS Don Juan de Austria, the scene in the wardroom with officers reading circa 1906. Tinted postcard photo. Courtesy of Captain Ralph C. McCoy, 1974. NH 82781-KN

USS Don Juan de Austria, a group photo of the ship’s officers and crew, circa 1907. The officer at the extreme lower right is Ensign William F. Halsey. Note the breechblock of the 4-inch gun to the left. Courtesy of the U. S. Naval Academy Museum NH 54547

Assigned to the Third Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, USS Don Juan de Austria with Halsey aboard would spend most of 1906 off the Dominican Republic “to protect American interests,” clearly swapping being a colonial Spanish cruiser to one on the same mission for the White House.

However, with a new series of much more capable small cruisers joining the fleet, such as the 4,600-ton scout cruiser USS Chester (CL-1)-– which packed eight 5- and 6-inch guns, carried a couple inches of armor protection, and could make 26 knots– Don Juan de Austria was no longer needed for overseas service. With that, she was placed out of commission at the Portsmouth Navy Yard on 7 March 1907. As for Halsey, he joined the brand new USS Kansas at her commissioning five weeks later and made the World Cruise of the Great White Fleet in that battleship.

Nonetheless, the Navy still needed functional warships for state naval militias to drill upon in the days prior to the formation of the USNR, and USS Don Juan de Austria soon shipped by way of the St. Lawrence River to Detroit, where she was loaned to the Michigan Naval Militia.

Likewise, the former Spanish cruiser USS Isla de Luzon, was also loaned at this time to the Illinois Naval Militia, stationed at Chicago, meaning both of these one-time Armada vessels were deployed to the Great Lakes in the decade before 1917.

Our little cruiser became a regular around Detroit and Windsor.

Don Juan de Austria (on the right) is seen looking upriver from the Belle Isle Bridge in Detroit, Michigan during the Parke Davis Excursion. Sometime between July 1907 and April 1917. Library of Congress photo LC-D4-39089

USS Don Juan de Austria, pre WWI postcard, likely while in Naval Militia service. Courtesy of D.M. McPherson, 1976 NH 84404

USS Don Juan de Austria postcard photo, taken while serving as Michigan Naval Militia Training Ship in the Detroit River, circa 1910. Courtesy of Kenneth Hanson, 1977. NH 86031

USS Don Juan de Austria, photographed during the Perry centennial Naval parade, 1913, possibly at Erie, Pennsylvania. She was a training ship of the Michigan Naval Militia at the time. Courtesy of Rear Admiral Denys W. Knoll USN ret., Erie Pennsylvania. NH 75676

Great War recall

USS Don Juan de Austria, 1914 Janes. Compare this to Infanta Isabella’s entry from the same volume above. Note by this time her armament had morphed to two 4″/40 rapid fire mounts, eight 6-pounder rapid fire mounts, two 1-pounder rapid fire mounts and she would later also carry two temporary 3-pounders.

Once the U.S. entered WWI in April 1917, USS Don Juan de Austria would soon leave her familiar birth in Detroit and sail for Newport, where she became a patrol asset for use off of New England.

USS Don Juan de Austria, ship’s Officers, and Crew pose on board, circa 1917-1918. Photographed by C.E. Waterman, Newport, Rhode Island. Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2008. NH 105498

Under the command of a USNRF lieutenant, by August 1918 she was escorting slow convoys to Bermuda and a group of submarines back to Newport. Among her final missions was, in April 1919, to escort the ships carrying the 26th Infantry “Yankee Division,” formed from New England National Guard units, back from “Over There” and German occupation duty back home to Boston.

USS Don Juan de Austria in the foreground leading USS America (ID # 3006) up Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, on 5 April 1919, the 26th INF Div aboard. The transport is the former 22,000-ton German Hamburg-America liner SS Amerika, seized by the Navy at Boston in April 1917 where she had been interned for three years. NH 54586

Similarly, Isla de Luzon was used as a recruit training ship in Chicago until September 1918 when she arrived at Narragansett Bay for assignment to the Naval Torpedo Station. There, armed with torpedo tubes for the first time since 1898, she would pull duty with the Seamen Gunner’s Class through the end of the year and remain a yard craft for the Station until disposed of in mid-1919.

USS Don Juan de Austria was decommissioned at Portsmouth on 18 June 1919 and sold on 16 October 1919 to one Mr. Andrew Olsen. She lingered until 1926 when mention of her arose as “abandoned.” I have no further information on her final disposition although it is marginally conceivable, she may have been converted to a tramp steamer.


Few items remain from the Velascos besides a handful of removed Spanish guns that have been on display, typically in small American towns, since 1898.

Also saved is the Hotchkiss rifle captured from the Spanish cruiser Don Antonio De Ulloa which fired the last shot at Dewey’s fleet, preserved at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.

They endure in period maritime art. 

Spanish Armada’s Training Squad before the Spanish-American War of 1898, although the represented ships never sailed together. Oil on canvas painted and signed with initials A.A. by Antonio Antón e Iboleón, around 1897. From left the Battleship Pelayo with insignia, followed by the cruisers Cristóbal Colón, Infanta María Teresa, and Alfonso XIII; to the right, the cruiser Carlos V with insignia, Oquendo and Vizcaya. On the starboard side of the Pelayo sails the Torpedo-gunboat Destructor, and two Terror-class torpedo boats sail on the bows of the Carlos V.

USS Don Juan de Austria almost outlasted her sisters, the Cadiz-built Infanta Isabel, which was only stricken by the Spanish in 1926, and Count of Venadito, which, hulked in 1902, was sunk as a target by the battleship Jaime I and the cruisers Libertad, Almirante Cervera, and Miguel de Cervantes in 1936.

A fitting end to the class.

Ships are more than steel
and wood
And heart of burning coal,
For those who sail upon
them know
That some ships have a

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The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships, you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Navy orders fresh batch of 40 Foot Patrol Boats

The U.S. Navy appears to be very much still in the small boat biz, despite the fact that it has retired the 82-foot Mark V SOC, zeroed out FY23 funding for the Mark VI patrol boat (with retired boats apparently going to Ukraine), and all but disposed of the 170-foot Cylones in lieu of the Coast Guard backfilling with the new Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters.

While the above effectively guts the expeditionary small boats for Big Blue, the fleet is still in need of security force vessels to protect bases and roadsteads and serve as range patrol. 

As part of a plan to replace the aging 117 SeaArk 34-foot Dauntless-class patrol boats and 17 SAFE Boats 25-foot Oswald-class patrol boats used for such security needs with up to 120 new PB(X), the following appeared in the Pentagon’s contracts announcements on 24 April:

ReconCraft LLC,* Anchorage, Alaska, is awarded a $35,920,405 firm-fixed-price contract for 12 40-foot patrol boats. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $36,141,587. Work will be performed in Clackamas, Oregon, and is expected to be completed by September 2025. Fiscal 2022 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $28,977,570 (81%); and fiscal 2023 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $6,942,835 (19%) will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C § 637(a)) and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 19.8. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-23-C-2201).

Via Reconcraft:

This is in addition to as many as 119 planned Force Protection-Medium (FP-M) patrol boats from Lake Assault Boats which have been in low-rate production since 2020. The 33-foot-long aluminum V-hull FP-M will be used for “harbor and waterway patrols, interrogation of other waterborne assets, and escorting large vessels in and out of ports in various weather and water conditions.”

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