Author Topic: Little Honking Ships......  (Read 119428 times)

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Offline Fabius

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2014, 13:26:50 »
Thats good to hear.
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Offline ArmyDoc

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2014, 20:31:59 »

It appears to me, as an interested observer, that the RCN as an institution is still focused on its WW1,WW2 and Cold War mission of providing escorts to North Atlantic Convoy's and conducting ASW missions, at least insofar as the RCNs force structure is concerned...It seems that the RCN wants nothing to do with a balanced multi role fleet.

However I do not see the RCN advocating or striving to achieve such a fleet nor do I see the government actually forcing the RCN to adopt such a fleet structure.
That would be my observation, as well, after having served on both coasts. Perhaps our RCN colleagues will comment, but this seems to be consistent with the MARLANT-centric culture that looks backwards at the Battle of the Atlantic instead of future brown water, littoral ops.

Online FSTO

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2014, 15:39:40 »
That would be my observation, as well, after having served on both coasts. Perhaps our RCN colleagues will comment, but this seems to be consistent with the MARLANT-centric culture that looks backwards at the Battle of the Atlantic instead of future brown water, littoral ops.
:ditto:

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2014, 16:06:32 »
That would be my observation, as well, after having served on both coasts. Perhaps our RCN colleagues will comment, but this seems to be consistent with the MARLANT-centric culture that looks backwards at the Battle of the Atlantic instead of future brown water, littoral ops.

No doubt in my mind you are right on this one. 
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2014, 19:09:35 »
An interesting observation: the biggest honking ships ever, Triple-E container ships, are coming off the line in Korea at a price of $185 million each.

These ships are larger than any other commercial ships, and are comparable to aircraft carriers in sheer size: 1312 feet long, have a beam of 194' and weigh 55,000 tons empty. Stood on end, one of these would be slightly shorter than the Empire State Building.

While they are not built to naval standards, the  idea that monsters like this can be built almost on an assembly line basis (from laydown to delivery takes about a year, and several ships are being built concurrently, so Maersk will be taking delivery every six or seven weeks until they receive 20; they have options for more as well).

It seems we need to modernize not only our procurment system, but the shipyards as well.
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Offline AirDet

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2014, 19:21:27 »
I've been monitoring this thread with great interest. I've been a zoomie for 18 years. I originally joined as a grunt. Having said that you can tell my opinion will be slightly biased towards Canada acquiring some sort of amphib vessel such as those listed above. While in East Timor I watched as the French were able to easily deploy their forces using the Sirocco a Foudre Class landing platform. All I could think of was that this would be a perfect ship for the sort of missions Canada is usually called upon. East Timor, Haiti, even rescuing Canadians from unstable countries such as we did in Libya. Having a pair of ships like this in the RCN would mean we stop using our valuable AORs as troop carriers. I know we're getting new AORs/LSS but these are integral to supporting our frigates (FFH) and destroyers (DDG/DDH).

Once again I don't profess to be an expert but I feel we could easily meet all our national and international commitments with the following:
- 10 Frigates (Air defense and Anti sub capable)
- 2 or 3 AORs/LSS w/command and control capability
- 2 amphib vessels w/heavy landing craft
- 4 MCDVs
- 6 to 8  fast long range patrol ships (polar capable such as Visby, Hamina, Braunschweig, maybe even the new USN littoral ships)
- 4 to 6 subs capable of polar operations

Our current balance of vessels was great for the Cold War but times have changed. We need to start worrying about the north. We are often called upon to help after a disaster (in Canada and elsewhere). We also need to seek ships that can be operated with smaller crews.
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Offline Fabius

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2014, 20:32:05 »
I have some questions regarding building to commercial standards vice naval standards.

What are the risks associated with a commercial standard build for a warship? I imagine its related to damage control capabilities and the ability to actually absorb damage?

I ask the question as it seems there is a growing number of warships being built to commercial standards at least when we are looking at the amphibious classes coming from Europe.  It seems like a number of navies have weighed the risks and decided that commercial standards are acceptable.
Does this acceptance stem from their doctrine,concept of employment and an evaluation of the likely threats to be faced or is it strictly a cost saving measure?
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Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2014, 00:08:23 »
As far as the RCN hierarchy not planning for or taking on an amphib capability, I would say we need a CDS backed by a government willing to do so will have to force the issue on them.

I do not see the d day type beach landings being a realistic mission for us but certainly deploying a force quickly especially cansofcom units would be ideal. Think non combatant evacuation, anti-piracy with troops hitting land targets, etc, etc.

However I could definitely see a purpose for amphib ships in the future operating similar to a FOB at sea. Ideas? Thoughts?
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Offline AirDet

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2014, 08:48:18 »
As far as the RCN hierarchy not planning for or taking on an amphib capability, I would say we need a CDS backed by a government willing to do so will have to force the issue on them.

I do not see the d day type beach landings being a realistic mission for us but certainly deploying a force quickly especially cansofcom units would be ideal. Think non combatant evacuation, anti-piracy with troops hitting land targets, etc, etc.

However I could definitely see a purpose for amphib ships in the future operating similar to a FOB at sea. Ideas? Thoughts?

I think you nailed it. Current and future ops are going to require deployment ashore. For some reason the RCN and Army looked at each other as competition rather than partners. With the new organization model that may be changing. If they worked together we could easily have an effective multi-role force much like the USMC.
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Offline Pat in Halifax

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2014, 09:11:01 »
I have some questions regarding building to commercial standards vice naval standards.

What are the risks associated with a commercial standard build for a warship? I imagine its related to damage control capabilities and the ability to actually absorb damage?

I ask the question as it seems there is a growing number of warships being built to commercial standards at least when we are looking at the amphibious classes coming from Europe.  It seems like a number of navies have weighed the risks and decided that commercial standards are acceptable.
Does this acceptance stem from their doctrine,concept of employment and an evaluation of the likely threats to be faced or is it strictly a cost saving measure?

You have partly answered your own questions regarding the DC aspect and 'other' Navies employing more specialized yet smaller crews, have had issues in sustaining higher tempo Ops (Type 45, FREMM and Flt II/III AB come to mind).
The other is purely equipment related with a little doctrine attached. There is so much redundancy built into many systems that in theory, a ship can remain as a fighting platform even as it is sinking beneath the waves. The problem here is that due to our minimal roles (the Navy I mean) in combat operations in the last 50 years, risk mitigation is becoming the catch phrase and with the $$$ factor attached and ships are regularly sailing with either reduced redundancy or reduced capability having fallen back on the redundancy already (This is NOT confined to the RCN either). Does reduced redundancy equate to reduced operational ability? - I dare say that for the most part, no. Obviously a platform such as TORONTO is maintained at as high an operational capability as possible but regularly we steal from one to keep the other going. I am pretty sure that those in uniform who laid out the operational requirements during the design phase never had this in mind and I know the shipbuilder didn't.
An analogy I have used in the past though admittedly a tad skewed is that of an old(er) car. So you have this 25 year old Buick (not quite a Cadillac) that was NOT driven by a little old lady and though intentions were good, not all regular maintenance and even less corrective maintenance has been done to it in it's life. When you take it out the driveway, you floor it and you don't let up until you slam the brakes on at your destination-you drive it like it is stolen. Again, a bit of a stretch but even if you 'put-it-in-the-garage' for the winter and change the brakes and engine and give it a shiny new coat of paint (over the old dents/rust), do you really think you will get another 25...or 15...or even 10 years out of it if you continue to drive it like that with probably even less time for maintenance?
We need a bit of a culture adjustment I think right from the civilian designer in an office in Kanata, to the start up component company in some small town in the Prairies, to the individual welder/electrician/engineer in the shipyard and following, the operators and maintainers in uniform who employ it. I think until that happens, our ships will continue to age well before their time.
Finally, stop trying to design a ship with the capabilities of the Enterprise (and I mean NCC Enterprise). The trials and tribulations of the PRO and IRO class replacements are perfect examples of why this is a bad idea.

Okay, I am done....
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Offline NavyShooter

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2014, 10:04:30 »
I would think that our minimum of 15 CSC's has more to do with maintenance cycles and deployment requirements.

Consider, how many ships will be in a major refit cycle at any one time?  (Docking work period)

How many will be in a short work period?  (SWP)

How many will be in a Tiered Readiness Program in post DWP/SWP?

How many ships do we require, in order to keep maintenance done, and still accomplish the missions that the government has laid out for us?

Let us look at our current major combatant fleet of 12 frigates, and 3 destroyers.

With a large number of our 15 ships currently in that refit/maintenance cycle, we are, well, not scrambling, but stretched to cover deployments and taskings.  (Note the Australian IFR.)

If we go LESS than 15, will we be able to maintain our current capabilities, or lose them?

There is a minimum number of ships that you need to consider having in order to maintain a fleet.  If we drop below 15, then there will be, I suspect, a drop in our ability to meet national and international taskings.

Just my thoughts...

As for a Little Honking Ship...well, based on how long it's taking to get an AOR replacement, adding a capability....yeah....I'm not laughing, but I suspect that whichever shipyard we engaged would be laughing all the way to the bank, and we'd bust the 35 Billion dollar bank-roll by a LOT.

NS
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Online GR66

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2014, 10:12:23 »
As far as the RCN hierarchy not planning for or taking on an amphib capability, I would say we need a CDS backed by a government willing to do so will have to force the issue on them.

I do not see the d day type beach landings being a realistic mission for us but certainly deploying a force quickly especially cansofcom units would be ideal. Think non combatant evacuation, anti-piracy with troops hitting land targets, etc, etc.

However I could definitely see a purpose for amphib ships in the future operating similar to a FOB at sea. Ideas? Thoughts?

Which comes back to my question about possibly having access to modified civilian "Auxiliary" Ro-Pax ships in our East/West coast ferry fleets when required.  I don't think we need the capability of storming a beachhead but there may be times when we need more than rented container ships in order to quickly deploy our forces to a relatively safe port near the conflict zone.  It's not something we need on a daily basis but when required it sure would be handy to have a couple of RCN(A) ships available on call.  It's not ideal by any means, but maybe affordable and "good enough" are better than wishes. 

A high speed ferry modified with upgraded power systems to control the "extras", upgraded sensor and communications equipment, a platform for landing/temporarily transporting helicopters for fair weather operations, maybe mounts for basic self-defense weapons, a platform  off the side for loading RHIBs, etc, and containerized systems for other special capabilities would give us a basic emergency capability that we don't currently have, but be more affordable because most of the time these ships would be making money for civilian companies performing normal commercial service on our coasts.

Online AlexanderM

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2014, 10:39:40 »
If the budget falls completely apart and the building program becomes unworkable, which seems to be the case, then scrap it and just buy ships from other countries.  We can purchase frigates/destroyers for $1 billion each, or less, no problem.  We can purchase AOR's for $500-600 million.  We can make reduced budget numbers work and still get good equipment.

Offline ArmyDoc

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2014, 10:55:10 »

If the budget falls completely apart and the building program becomes unworkable, which seems to be the case, then scrap it and just buy ships from other countries.  We can purchase frigates/destroyers for $1 billion each, or less, no problem.  We can purchase AOR's for $500-600 million.  We can make reduced budget numbers work and still get good equipment.
That's similar to the rationale used when we acquired the Upholder class submarines. The Victoria class issues and resultant political fallout are one reason why we're not likely to purchase second-hand vessels - of any type - any time soon.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2014, 11:08:28 »
First of all, let me say that Pat is right on with his last post just above here, and that it is sad to say that it is the reason none of us will see the positive results of the government Shipbuilding Strategy, if such results ever happen.

Engineering is the heart and soul of modern ships, and warships in particular. Their existence and continued operation can only occur with the assistance of master craftsmen. And this is where we failed in the last 30 years: The dockyards were pressed to save on costs and as a result failed to hire sufficient numbers of apprentices and give them time to learn their trade from the retiring masters; our shipyards could not find enough work and let their craftsmen go, never to be replaced or without passing the knowledge base; in the Navy, the engineers became more and more operators first and maintainers/repairers second, again losing the discipline of the apprentice/craftsman. Such situation cannot be remedied quickly - it takes generations (plural) of master/apprentice to recover it. The European and Asian's have this tradition. We in North-America don't have it, at least not anymore. (And no, a "master" welder from Fort McMurray cannot just come in and become a "master" welder in a shipyard. There are too many differences).

So this said, and before we condemn the Navy brass as simply following the old cold war strategy, let us look at the strategy and the consequences of the engineering dilemma above.

Many moon ago, when preparing to release "Leadmark", the RCN looked at the whole spectrum of naval operations, analysed what each one required and would cost, looked at the resources available to the Navy and at the type of operations going on in the world from a Canadian experience and point of view. They rejected instantly carrier operations and ballistic submarines for obvious reasons, took a good look at mine warfare and realized we had never had such an attack in Canada in either world war or even during the cold war - so the limited capability of the MCDV's was enough. They seriously looked at amphibious operation (though one must understand that at that time, even the idea of the Special Op Regiment had not been conceived yet) and concluded that, considering the speed of their deployment "from home base in Canada" and "from scratch" with usefully trained soldiers onboard would require such lead time as to make them not useful to Canada. The alternative amphibious ops capability was forward deployment in contingency area - USMC style, which turned out to be too expensive for Canada. So it was shelved.

Leadmark's conclusion (and one I agree with) was that the best bang for our very limited Naval money was concentrating on General purpose forces deployable under the concept of the Canadian Task Force (One command/AAW ship deployed with one or two GP frigates and one support ship) deployed from each coast. This, by the way, is NOT the continuation of our cold war mentality. During the cold war, we concentrated completely and uniquely on ASW close escort of convoys. Everything else was left to our allies. The CTF concept led to development of new capabilities for the Navy and in particular in the command area, which is why, for instance, during the Gulf War, with only a three ships contribution, Canada was assigned the command of all forces in the gulf rear area (the largest command at sea by a Canadian since the retirement of BONAVENTURE), the only country other than the US given an operational command.

Going back to Leadmark and engineering: the reason to concentrate on the CSC's as a "single" class arises from the tremendous savings in training, supply/support and development of the ship particular knowledge base. Contrary to many European countries, Canada as a country has limited tradition of civilian support for its Navy and its operations. Thus, the Navy must always keep in mind the cost of its operations. We simply cannot afford the complexity of supporting a large number of different type of ships. This may change if the Navy is given new strategic direction from the Government (but "Canada First" is not a new strategic guidance - just a shopping list) and the resources to put it in effect.

And by the way, AirDet: the Navy/USMC team in the US is not a "multi-role" force. It is a single role: Amphibious ops - nothing else.

This said I would favour limited Amphibious capability at this stage for two reasons: (1) We now have a permanent special operations regiment that could incorporate and maintain the required knowledge base for amphibious ops and therefore be available quickly and (2) with the North opening but without good support base for the army and the Caribbean's becoming a new focus area of operations for the Navy, a small amphibious capability would be useful and deployable in a timely fashion from Halifax or Esquimalt.       

Offline Chief Engineer

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2014, 11:11:56 »
First thing of all governments do not have the political will to buy offshore, so that's out. Once the unions and Canadian shipyards get their piece of the pie, the ships will cost much more than we have budgeted. Having ships to go in harms way with a mix of military/civilian specs is fine on paper and the ship may make it to its destination,but all bets are off if they get into a fight.
If and when when we get these ships, who are going to crew them and pay for their operating costs? We are hemorrhaging people from the Navy and can't afford to keep MCDV's to sea for Pete's sake, by far the most economical ships we have.
At the end of the day we'll get a few overpriced ships built but will we be able to crew them or even maintain them. I'm all for the big, little honking ships but I think what we need to focus on what we exactly need to protect out shorelines, including the arctic and maintain our overseas commitments. These ships need to last a long time and be economical to operate and maintain.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

All opinions stated are not official policy of the CF and of a private individual

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Online AlexanderM

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2014, 11:45:55 »
That's similar to the rationale used when we acquired the Upholder class submarines. The Victoria class issues and resultant political fallout are one reason why we're not likely to purchase second-hand vessels - of any type - any time soon.
I wasn't talking about purchasing second hand vessels.  Either the De Zeven Provincien or the Iver Huitfeldt could be purchased for under $1 billion each and that would likely be with $100-200 million per ship in upgrades, such as better steel, etc.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 11:51:14 by AlexanderM »

Offline Chief Engineer

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2014, 11:59:37 »
I wasn't talking about purchasing second hand vessels.  Either the De Zeven Provincien or the Iver Huitfeldt could be purchased for under $1 billion each and that would likely be with $100-200 million per ship in upgrades, such as better steel, etc.

I don't think anyone is disputing your idea, which for bang for buck is the best deal for the navy. Its the political fallout to build offshore. Buying used, surface ships yes, submarines not so much.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

All opinions stated are not official policy of the CF and of a private individual

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Offline Pat in Halifax

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2014, 12:32:42 »
I wasn't talking about purchasing second hand vessels.  Either the De Zeven Provincien or the Iver Huitfeldt could be purchased for under $1 billion each and that would likely be with $100-200 million per ship in upgrades, such as better steel, etc.

Okay, but you are missing the whole point of the NSPS. We are building an industry-it's a gamble and as the Navy is the first 'bet'. the cost is inflated. The hope is, as OGBD says, for a generational change in optics so that 30-40 years from now instead of us looking at current German/Dutch/US designs (which are fantastic designs by the way), it will be them looking to us. We have the second largest coastline in the world and a miniscule shipbuilding industry.  Something is REALLY wrong here.
If the government uses NSPS as a job creation and skill creation tool, so be it but we need to be part of it or sit back and watch the world go by. I saw a quote in someone's sig block the other day that sort of fits here: "You can lead, you can follow or you can get run over". Your right A, we could have a world class Navy of 100% foreign design and build within 5 years...but long term...? What is the goal of NSPS? It definitely is NOT that I say.
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Online Chris Pook

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #44 on: January 26, 2014, 13:00:25 »
This business of price/cost/value....

Buying a piece of kit from an offshore supplier is different than buying the same piece of kit from a domestic supplier.  I'm sure this point has been made before.

If I pay a foreigner for a ship that money is "found money" for their economy.  It is new money that reduces the demands on the exchequer of the vending country's economy.  Those demands are present on the economy regardless of whether or not they ever sell a nut or a bolt outside of their borders.  Specifically the demands are to keep the populace content.  That is achieved by keeping them out of the labour market (more time spent in school, conscription, short work weeks, long vacations, generous disability plans, early retirement), by supplying "government jobs" under very generous working conditions and/or by supplying private sector jobs.

All countries use combinations of all of the above to ensure Peace, Order and Good Governance.

The issue of how much something costs then becomes a matter of book-keeping.

In the European, state-sponsored model, they are more inclined to transfer costs from the manufacturers in the "private sector" and claim them on government ledgers.   Consequently the European cost of production is quite low.  R&D, apprenticeships, over-manning, even marketing are all directly, and without shame, subsidized by the governments.

In the American, free-enterprise model, all costs are routed through the "private sector" manufacturers, even those costs that are directly subsidized by the US government.  Consequently the US cost of production is very high.  All costs are apparently borne by the manufacturer. But given that all defense products are purchased by the US government then the government is effectively subsidizing the US economy in exactly the same manner as the Europeans.

The F-35 programme gives a great example of that.  The domestic cost of the F-35 is considerably higher than the export, fly-away cost.  The fly-away cost is broadly competitive with the European competitors.

The issue for Canada is whether or not the government can make the case for subsidizing the Canadian economy through the US model, in which case the CF budget needs to be increased to manage the necessary cash flow, or the European model, in which case the subsidies are funneled through Human Resources, DFAIT, Industry Canada and every other department known to Ottawa.

You can't run a US modeled defence procurement plan on a European budget.

Arguably the Europeans are spending much more on "defence" than the 1 or 2% that they claim.  They simply prefer not to show the "real" value on their books.

And that doesn't include the impact of the large domestic security, and paramilitary operations that they maintain that contribute to defence writ large but also are not shown on the books.

I don't think that Canadians are going to accept a US style defence budget anytime soon.  Given the predilection for European solutions I suggest that the Government, even though it is a Conservative one, if it wants to sell defence to Canadians, is going to have to reduce the direct costs and channel the subsidies necessary to maintain the capabilities through The Rest of Government.

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Online AlexanderM

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2014, 13:01:48 »
Okay, but you are missing the whole point of the NSPS. We are building an industry-it's a gamble and as the Navy is the first 'bet'. the cost is inflated. The hope is, as OGBD says, for a generational change in optics so that 30-40 years from now instead of us looking at current German/Dutch/US designs (which are fantastic designs by the way), it will be them looking to us. We have the second largest coastline in the world and a miniscule shipbuilding industry.  Something is REALLY wrong here.
If the government uses NSPS as a job creation and skill creation tool, so be it but we need to be part of it or sit back and watch the world go by. I saw a quote in someone's sig block the other day that sort of fits here: "You can lead, you can follow or you can get run over". Your right A, we could have a world class Navy of 100% foreign design and build within 5 years...but long term...? What is the goal of NSPS? It definitely is NOT that I say.
I don't see it as being in any way realistic.  We are going to pour a huge amount of money into the ships and still not be competitive.  Now, if we were working with the Davie Yard I might have a different opinion, as they have a different approach than Irving.  I'm also wondering what might happen if the Liberals get elected?


Offline Pat in Halifax

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #46 on: January 26, 2014, 13:46:27 »
I met the new 'Boss' at Irving just before Christmas at a Dinner. I think you (and others) might be surprised.
"No ******* ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb ******* die for his"
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Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #47 on: January 26, 2014, 13:54:21 »
Lately with the PCs I think we have been taking 1 step forward and 4 back; if the Liberals get in, it may be 1 forward and 8 back. :/
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
Tradition- Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid
Former RCN Sailor now Retired

Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2014, 13:54:50 »
I met the new 'Boss' at Irving just before Christmas at a Dinner. I think you (and others) might be surprised.

As in the CDS?
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
Tradition- Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid
Former RCN Sailor now Retired

Offline Pat in Halifax

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Re: Little Honking Ships......
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2014, 14:08:01 »
No, Irving's new boss; Kevin McCoy.
"No ******* ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb ******* die for his"
George S. Patton