Sunday, April 19, 2009

USS Iowa - 20 years

Hard to believe it's been 20 years since the terrible day that saw forty seven of my shipmates give their lives in service to their country.
I last wrote about Iowa here. I don't think I can ever forget those men, the events of that day, or the weeks that followed.
Captain Fred Moosally's words from the memorial service have always stuck with me:

I remember turret two. I remember their faces as they toiled at their guns, sweating an honest sweat that comes from young men dedicated to a great cause. Who chose to serve, to grow, and to learn with others, while securing a place in history for generations after them. I remember their strong hands as they wielded their great charges with an energy I could marvel at. The energy of their youth which they channeled towards their love of freedom. I remember as they talked among themselves, looking so much like sailors of our past. Sharing the exuberance of the times and the dreams of the future. I REMEMBER TURRET TWO.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Historical Irony

A friend forwarded this little beauty this afternoon:

Does anyone find it ironic that the ship the Navy dispatched to the Somali coast to deal with the pirate threat is the USS Bainbridge, a ship named after a Navy Captain who in 1803 ran his ship aground while pursuing pirates off the coast of Africa?

This has all happened before...

Monday, April 06, 2009

SECDEF Announces budget for 2010

Wow. Just wow. Secretary Gates has just announced a major remodeling of the entire Defense budget. I live-blogged as best I could on Twitter, but I'm sure I didn't get it all. Transcript is not yet available. Highlights of the Navy stuff, which I'm sure will be explored in much more detail by Galrahn et al.:

  • VH-71: dead. Replacement needed but the requirements need to be fixed.
  • DDG-1000: two ships in Bath, none in Pascagoula. Option for a third.
  • DDG-51: try to restart the line in Pascagoula, if they can get the right contract terms
  • LCS: plus one in 2010 (3 total), build the 55-ship program
  • F-35: accelerate to 30 aircraft in 2010
  • F/A-18: buy 31 in 2010 (I'm not sure if this is an increase)
  • More $$$ for SM-3 production
  • Upgrade six more Aegis ships for BMD
  • Delay 11th LPD-17 to 2011
  • Delay MLP to 2011
  • Delay CG(X) program (and re-scrub the requirements)
  • Drop to 10 carriers by 2040
  • Begin a program for the replacement of the Ohio Class SSBNs
I think the move of DDG-1000 to Bath is probably the most significant decision in the short term. I never understood the concept of splitting production of lead ships between two yards, bearing the pain of first-in-class twice for what would necessarily be a small production run.

The market impacts of these announcements are interesting. A major Lockheed program is completed (F-22), and others are cancelled (VH-71, TSAT), but LMT is up 5.6% as I write. Similar big gains are seen across the defense industry -- GD 2.6%, Raytheon 5.0%, Northrop 5.3%, while the Dow is off 1.5%. Even Boeing, which is less dependent on defense, is flirting with positive territory on the news. I think this is probably a reaction to the reduction in uncertainty that was priced into the markets, rather than to any specific program changes.

Update: The transcript is available here and at the USNI Blog.