The U.S. naval chief has raised the idea of selling ships with flawed designs in South American countries
A top U.S. Navy official has come up with an alternative to scrapping recently built warships with design and mechanical failures that make them unusable in Washington: Selling ships to South American allies.
“We should consider offering these ships to other countries who will be able to use them effectively.” Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Michael Guild said this at a hearing in the US Senate on Thursday. “There are countries in South America that, for example, would be able to use ships with smaller crews.”
Despite opposition from some members of Congress, the US Navy has called for the abolition of nine literal combat ships (LCS). The ships were built at a cost of about 60 360 million for each, and the youngest, USS St. Louis, entered service less than two years ago.
US Representative Ellen Luria (D-Virginia), a former naval official, noted that the failed LCS ships were among 24 ships destined for decommissioning, 11 of which were built less than a decade ago. “American taxpayers owe a public apology for wasting billions of dollars on naval vessels. They now say there is no purpose,” he said. Luria said in March after the Pentagon presented its latest budget.
The so-called freedom-class ships have been plagued by frequent mechanical failures. The first LCS, named USS Freedom, was scrapped in 2021 after only 13 years of service, more than half of the estimated lifespan of at least 25 years. Naval officials have also pointed out flaws in the ship’s design, including their propulsion system and firepower.
“Although mechanical problems were a factor, a major factor was the lack of adequate combat capability against China’s competitors.” Guild told lawmakers on Thursday. He added that the LCS is one of its main functions, not equipped for submarine warfare. “We have refused to pay extra dollars against a system that does not match the threat posed by the Chinese seabed.”
However, Luria argues that the Navy is investing more quickly than building ships. “Gucci” That technology is decades away from maturity at a time when it needs a large fleet to deal with the growing threat from China and Russia. “Navy has no strategy” He said. “Stop saying that because if you do, you’ll be able to explain how the size of this fleet will allow us to defend Taiwan.”
Navy officials say their plan to dismantle ships, including the LCS fleet, will save about $ 3.6 billion in five years. The idea is that retiring ships is more cost-effective than trying to fit ships for service. “These ships, compared to others, did not bring the standard of warfare to war.” Dr. Guild.
The Admiral did not spell out how the ships failed to function as intended for the United States, which would add extra value to South American countries.
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Freedom-class ships have been successfully used in anti-drug operations. For example, an LCS that the Navy plans to cancel, the USS Sussex City, seized a ship near the Dominican Republic last September and seized cocaine worth more than $ 20 million.