Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, deputy commandant for aviation at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, addresses the
“Naval Aviation Centennial: What is the Future of Naval
Air?” panel audience April 12.
“We couldn’t have had two better aircraft to do the
job,” he said.
Venlet said “2010 was a year where the [F- 35] pro-
Cooperation Key To Building
gram was deeply assessed. It was important that we
grounded the program in realism.”
He said the current flight-test program is active and
productive. The F-35B is scheduled for sea trials late
this year and the F-35C is scheduled for carrier trials
in summer 2012.
Affordable Ships, Panel Says
The expected cuts in future defense budgets will require
the U.S. Navy and the shipbuilding industry to apply all
the rules of how to make ships more affordable that should
have been learned through past mistakes, a panel of shipyard officials and shipbuilding experts said April 13.
Perhaps the most ominous warning during the panel
discussion came from former Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss.,
who observed that many of the new House Republicans
“don’t care” about the impact of lower defense budgets.
“They came here to cut the budget,” he said.
Veteran shipyard executive Thomas Schievelbein
noted that the debate over shipbuilding usually focuses
on affordability, which is reasonable because “if you can’t
afford the ships, you price yourself out of the future.”
And retired Capt. Fred Moosally, now president of
Fincantieri Marine Group, warned that the shipbuild-
ing program has to get more efficient to produce
cheaper ships “or the Navy will shrink.”
Retired Rear Adm. John Shipway, who recently
retired as president of Bath Iron Works in Maine, noted
that because defense funding will be cut, the ship-
building industry “must be more nimble to maintain
profitability with lower volume.”
From the the left, panelists Ronald O’Rourke, Navy programs analyst at the Congressional Research Service;
retired Rear Adm. John Shipway, former president of Bath
Iron Works; Donald Bollinger, chairman, president and CEO of
Bollinger Shipyards; retired Capt. Fred Moosally, president
and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group; Thomas Schievelbein,
a member of the board of directors of McDermott International Inc.; and former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., discuss “What is the Future of U.S. Ship Construction and
Maritime Infrastructure?” April 13.
Donald Bollinger, president of Bollinger Shipyards,
which builds mostly smaller ships including Coast Guard
cutters, said, “Nothing can create the image of shipyard
failure faster than simultaneous design and build.”
He cited the beginning of the Littoral Combat Ship
(LCS) program as “the worst example” of that, because
it involved a fixed price for a ship to be built to a
design that was not finished, and ended up with a ship
quite different from the one contracted.
Ronald O’Rourke, the Navy programs analyst at the
Congressional Research Service, noted that the shipbuilding infrastructure has to include the combat systems producers, the research laboratories and other
entities, which means “the shipyards are only able to
control certain parts” of total cost.
Crack in LCS 1 Hull Was Weld Problem
The crack discovered in the hull of the first LCS following sea trials was due to a quality assurance problem — not a design flaw — a Navy program manager
said at an April 11 briefing.
USS Freedom, LCS 1, produced by Lockheed Martin
at the Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wis.,
experienced “a crack in the hull along the weld” during heavy-weather sea trials, said Capt. Jeff Riedel, the
LCS frame program manager.
“Testing and analysis determined that it was a QA
[quality assurance] issue with a specific area. There was
insufficient fusion of the metal,” Riedel said, adding that
after a design review and “looking back at what’s been