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USS Bonhomme Richard on fire

tomahawk6

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BHR was in the rotation to provide F35B's in the Pacific. Now how to fill the gap ? The Tripoli was just commisioned so it has a couple of years of workups. The article I linked to offers 2 solutions dip into the Reserve fleet and activate a Tarawa class LHA or extend the deployments of existing ships.

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/07/13/the-bonhomme-richard-fire-deals-a-blow-to-the-navys-designs-in-the-indo-pacific/
 

CBH99

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I suspect they could redeploy an asset from the Persian Gulf with minimal impact on operations there.


We aren't going to war with Iran anytime soon.

Between bases in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Qatar, Bahrain, etc - there is PLENTY of airpower and places to deploy airpower in the region.  The US could redeploy an amphib from the Persian Gulf, and unless a flown blown war with Iran kicks off - I imagine there would be minimal impact in the area.  :2c:
 

Cloud Cover

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UK CSG will be online next January and is deploying to SCS.  The USMC has qualified their F35B* on HMS Queen Elizabeth, and have also flight deck qualifies the Osprey and the CH53.  I believe the operational intent was that  USMC would usually operate off her decks in some capacity. The carrier has +++ room for RM Commando’s who I think are deploying with her.  The USN will be escorting and probably resupplying the ship anyway. Timing probably couldn’t be better to take on-board USMC air assets and flex those inter-op muscles the RN has promised with the carrier.

* the UK F35B has some peculiarities to make their aircraft more sortie efficient.
 

FJAG

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CBH99 said:
I suspect they could redeploy an asset from the Persian Gulf with minimal impact on operations there.


We aren't going to war with Iran anytime soon.

Between bases in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Qatar, Bahrain, etc - there is PLENTY of airpower and places to deploy airpower in the region.  The US could redeploy an amphib from the Persian Gulf, and unless a flown blown war with Iran kicks off - I imagine there would be minimal impact in the area.  :2c:

I expect that these days it must be an interesting risk analysis as to what are the "must do operations", "should do operations", "could do operations", and "no need to do operations".

:cheers:
 

tomahawk6

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Several sailors who fought the fire have tested positive due to sharing fire fighting gear.

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/sailors-test-positive-for-coronavirus-after-sharing-firefighting-gear-during-uss-bonhomme-richard-fire-1.637985
 

tomahawk6

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National Interest article about the aftermath of the disaster. At a cost of $750m this ship type is a bargain.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/burning-uss-bonhomme-richard-could-mean-problems-us-navy-165497
 

NavyShooter

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Reading more carefully, that was when the ship was built - now they cost on the order of $4B, while the Ford cost almost $12B. 

This will definitely send ripples through the planning offices...
 

OldSolduer

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NavyShooter said:
Reading more carefully, that was when the ship was built - now they cost on the order of $4B, while the Ford cost almost $12B. 

This will definitely send ripples through the planning offices...

That is a pretty hefty sum.
 

CBH99

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NavyShooter said:
Reading more carefully, that was when the ship was built - now they cost on the order of $4B, while the Ford cost almost $12B. 

This will definitely send ripples through the planning offices...




Does it suck to lose a large capital ship, especially with those types of capabilities?  Absolutely.  To lose that type of ship and not lose a single crew member is an absolute blessing. 

Is it a total "We can't do this mission now, because we don't have this ship..." equation?  No, not when you are the USN anyway.



Like we've discussed upthread, and in other threads, they may have to readjust resources from one theatre to another.  But it isn't the end of the world. 

Do they NEED a carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf at all times?  I'd argue not.  Not when you have air bases in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey (possibly write that off though, not reliable) Qatar, Bahrain, etc.  There's no shortage of US military bases in the region to launch aircraft from, and you can still take out key Iranian targets with Tomahawk strikes via other surface ships.

The LCS, as useless as it is without being tasked as a designated ASW ship, could actually be ideal for the Persian Gulf.  Distances aren't too far, they can whip around the area pretty quick, and they already have the weaponry to deal with Iranian small boats using the same weapons the larger destroyers would use.  (Deck guns, .50 cal machine guns, hellfire missiles, etc.)



Will they have to adjust their near term plans?  Yes.  Does it suck that the ship was just finishing a massive upgrade & overhaul?  That's rubbing salt in the wound, ouch.  But, is it a mission killer for the USN?  No.

If anything, they may be forced to adjust their deployment structure to be a little more conservative than they are used to.  Aka, welcome to the rest of us  ;)



*Lets not forget, the new USMC doctrine actually calls for fewer large capital ships.  This ship went in for refits long before the new doctrine was announced, and the day after the fire was out, a new ship USS Tripoli was commissioned.  The USMC isn't wasting any time at all in rapidly adjusting their units to match their new doctine, with tank units and artillery units both losing their tanks & guns already.  So while it was a sad ending to a proud ship, this ship may have been on it's way out of their ORBAT anyway.  :2c:
 

daftandbarmy

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Well, that's not something I would have thought might happen...

Defence official: Arson suspected as cause of Navy ship fire

SAN DIEGO — Arson is suspected as the cause of a July 12 fire that left extensive damage to the USS Bonhomme Richard docked off San Diego, and a U.S. Navy sailor was being questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defence official said Wednesday.

The sailor was being questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the official said, adding that defence department leaders were notified of the development. The official, with knowledge of the investigation, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. The sailor was not detained.

https://www.timescolonist.com/defence-official-arson-suspected-as-cause-of-navy-ship-fire-1.24193065
 

kkwd

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The latest on the ship. There are 4 investigations ongoing and that is not helping in the assessment of actual damage for possible repairs. It could take 1.5 billion dollars to repair. That pales in comparison to building a new ship.

In a phone call with Defense News, a Navy official who spoke on background said there were four ongoing investigations regarding the July Bonhomme Richard fire. Naval Sea Systems Command is conducting an investigation and a failure review board, geared toward safety and lessons learned. A command investigation delves into how the ship’s chain of command handled the situation both prior to and during the catastrophe. And finally, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation joined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is also on scene.

On top of everything else, the damage assessment team has to “take a back seat” to the criminal investigation while it is ongoing, the official said.
All the teams are trying to stay out of each other’s way, but some spaces that a damage assessment team might need to access are inaccessible because the criminal investigators might be using them, for example, the official said.

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/09/30/for-the-fire-ravaged-ship-bonhomme-richard-the-us-navy-has-no-good-options/
 

Cloud Cover

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She’s not going to be repaired- too expensive.
https://www.google.ca/amp/s/thehill.com/policy/defense/528026-navy-to-scrap-uss-bonhomme-richard-after-days-long-fire%3famp
 

CBH99

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Sad end to a proud ship.  :salute:

It does make more sense to replace her than repair her, she was literally gutted by that fire.  The USMC is seriously looking at the future size of their amphib fleet as it is.
 

OceanBonfire

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Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, the head of Naval Surface Forces, told reporters that several initiatives have already been implemented.

A review of shipyard practices after the fire found room for improvement, Kitchener said.

“We found that in some cases, we weren’t doing as well as we should have,” he said. “When we got to the industrial environment, it looks like there needs to be a little education and a little spot checking, forceful backup in complying.”

The Navy has since hired fire marshals that go out and evaluate the training the ship crews receive for fighting fires in an environment like a shipyard, Kitchener said.

“They’re out there ensuring the waterfront maintenance people, along with private contractors and the ship’s crew, are doing their proper safety inspections,” he said.

Kitchener added that the Navy had made “some significant investments in high-end fire detection systems we now install on ships.”

Officials said last summer that the ship’s Halon fire suppression system was turned off when the amphib caught fire due to the maintenance work.Training for officers heading into command regarding ship safety in an industrial environment has also been implemented, and a type command-level damage control officer have traveled to shipyards with a team to practice integrated response drills with local fire departments and a ship’s force, Kitchener said.


 

Navy_Pete

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Thanks for sharing those.

Will be interesting to see the report when it is eventually released, but sounds like the ship was all torn apart, and usually means there is temporary vent trunking, staging, etc, with possibly some soft patches removed or similar significant openings in the compartmentalization. That's pretty standard for work periods, but also is why you turn gaseous systems like halon off. They need to hit their effective concentrations to do anything, so they are intentionally disabled to prevent accidental activation. That's not an indication of any kind of negligence.

Improving the fire prevention and detection here is critical; usually it's impossible to fight effectively in those deep maintenance period so you really need to be strict to prevent it from happening in the first place, but when it does you need to find out ASAP so it can be put out while it's small (and for people to evacuate through the rats nest of temporary cables, staging etc). They are a few steps ahead of us anyway, but daily rounds, strict hot work policies/inspections etc with people actually on the ship is really key; you can't leave it to just some paperwork and a few occasional drills for the FFs.
 

FJAG

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Latest development.

US sailor charged over massive USS Bonhomme warship blaze in 2020​

Published1 hour ago
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US Navy helicopters try to contain fire on USS Bonhomme Richard. Photo: July 2020
IMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS
image captionUS Navy helicopters carried more than 1,500 water bucket drops to contain the raging fire
The US Navy has filed charges against a sailor over a massive blaze aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard in 2020 that destroyed the amphibious warship.
The sailor, whose name has not been publicly revealed, is accused of starting the fire, says Navy spokesperson Cmdr Sean Robertson.
The blaze aboard the warship in San Diego, California, where the vessel was docked, took four days to put out.
At least 40 sailors and 23 civilians were injured.
In a statement, Cmdr Robertson said the accused sailor "was a member of Bonhomme Richard's crew at the time".
"Evidence collected during the investigation is sufficient to direct a preliminary hearing in accordance with due process under the military justice system," he said.

The fire started on 12 July 2020, and over four days US Navy helicopters carried more than 1,500 water bucket drops and tug boats sprayed water on the $1bn (£716m) vessel's side to contain the blaze.
The fire sent plumes of black smoke billowing into the air and the ravaged ship's melted aluminium superstructure bent at a 45-degree angle as flames engulfed the ship.
The 40,000-ton USS Bonhomme Richard was commissioned in 1998 and was one of the few US amphibious assault vessels from which an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could take off.
But after the blaze the decision was taken to decommission and scrap the vessel because it was too expensive to restore it.


🍻
 

Navy_Pete

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It will be interesting to read the investigation; kind of hard to imagine there was anything left for physical evidence.
 
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