January 24, 2023

CAN THE NAVY LEARN SOMETHING FROM THE AIR FORCE? The B-21 Avoided the Tree Of Woe.

The Navy’s tale of woe in trying to force the acquisition system to actually produce something besides process is almost too painful to recall, especially on the surface side of the house.

We have the walking wounded of LCS, the squib DDG-1000, the gilded promise Ford CVN, and the never-was-has-been CG(X). We have hope that we can’t screw up the existing Franco-Italian FREMM in the upcoming modified to American requirements Constellation Class FFG, but we shall see if our optimism is well placed.

As we all wait with bated breath and gritted teeth on what may be with DDG(X), we should look around to see if there is a benchmark recently that did work.

On the surface side of the house, LPD-17 won’t quite make the cut as it was only made to work with a lot of additional money and Sailor sweat, though we can call it adequate, if a bit expensive and clunky in initial execution.

We can look over at the aviation side of the house, but that is quite spotty. F-35 is meeting our lowered expectations, but it is a Joint hobbled kludge. If you ignore the pile of pants that is maintenance, the sub side of the house seems to be doing quite well, but they’re a special case in a variety of ways. The Super Hornet program was a great success, but that was only because NAVAIR tricked everyone in to thinking that it was just an update to the Hornet…which it was absolutely not.

Hmmmm, a successful acquisition system from the 1990s that was a success by … bypassing the acquisition system. Did anyone learn a lesson there?

Well, it appears the USAF did in the B-21.

Fewer people checking the checkers.

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