JFK Retired, and more

MAYPORT, Fla. (March 23, 2007) – Distinguished visitors and guests attend the historical decommissioning ceremony of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). Kennedy served its country with more than 38 years of service and 18 official deployments. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Susan Cornell (RELEASED)

Pic from Navy NewsStand.

Kitty Hawk will be next, shortly after the George HW Bush (CVN 77) joins the fleet.

I remain concerned that 11 carriers might not be enough.

In an earlier post (which was apparently lost during struggles with my previous web host, a fact which I only discovered this morning) I had asked what the move down to 11 is going to do to the Fleet Response Plan. With 12 carriers, the FRP dictated that 6 carriers be deployed or ready to deploy within 30 days, and an additional 2 carriers be ready within 90 days (6+2).

Is the FRP still 6+2? Or does it drop to 5+2 or 6+1? Would 5+3 be a reasonable alternative?

Speaking of old carriers, Steeljaw Scribe wonders if India’s plans to extend the life of the INS Viraat (formerly HMS Hermes) until 2012, mentioned on MO on Monday, aren’t asking for a bit much out of the old lady. With Pictures.

Finally, don’t think we can just snap our fingers and ramp up aircraft carrier (or any other ship) production if we need too. Right now we basically have too few ships being built in too many shipyards, but that situation is changing and will change even more in the next few years, according to the president of Northrop Grumman Newport News:

By the end of the year, we expect to sign a multi-billion dollar contract with the government to begin construction of the Ford in 2008 with delivery in 2015. Yet today one third of my work force is over 45 years of age and many of these employees will retire by the time we fully engage in building this carrier.

The fact that an entity called “Northrop Grumman Newport News” even exists is maybe part of the problem in the first place, but because of the massive slowdown in shipbuilding that’s where we are and we need to maintain what we have left.

Murdoc fears that nothing demonstrates America’s slide as much as the continuing degradation of our once-mighty industrial base.