The U.S Navy can’t seem to build the Cruisers?

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The U.S Navy can’t seem to build the Cruisers
The U.S Navy can't seem to build the Cruisers
The guided-missile cruiser USS ‘Princeton' in the Persian Gulf in 2020. U.S. NAVY Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Logan C. Kellums (forbes.com)

Forcesproject.com – In today, we will review a look on the reason why the U.S Navy can't seem to build the Cruisers? It is generally known that modern cruisers are the largest ships in a fleet after carriers and amphibious assault ships that can usually perform several roles. The role of the cruiser varied according to ship and navy, often including air defence and shore bombardment. During the Cold War the Soviet Navy's cruisers had heavy anti-ship missile armament designed to sink NATO carrier task-forces via saturation attack. Moreover, as of 2020 only two countries operate vessels formally classed as cruisers. They are the United States and Russia, and in both cases the vessels are primarily armed with guided missiles. Few cruisers are still operational in the world navies and those that remain in service today including the Greek armored cruiser Georgios Averof which is from Hellenic Navy. Then the Russian Navy consists of 1 Kirov-class, 3 Slava-class guided missile cruisers also the Russian cruiser Aurora which was ceremonially recommissioned as the flagship of the Russian Navy due to her historical significance. Lastly, the United States Navy which consists of 22 Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and some others to name a few.

Recently, it is known that the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy launched eight new Type 055 cruisers in approximately three years, commencing in mid-2017. However, the US Navy, on the other hand, hasn't launched a cruiser since 1992. Over the decades, several attempts by the Americans to sustain a new cruiser program have failed throughout the years.  So, why can't the U.S. Navy as the world's most powerful maritime force build cruisers? The answer, we will describe it in full below.

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The U.S Navy can't seem to build the Cruisers
Type 055: A destroyer (navalpost.com)

The Navy has for almost two decades struggled to figure out what kind of platforms should replace the Guided-missile cruiser as the air defence command ship for the carrier strike group, and several efforts have been cancelled or postponed along the way. Furthermore, the Navy modernized 10 cruisers beginning in the 2000s to extend their lives and give them the newest combat capabilities. A second cruiser modernization program that began in 2015 aimed to do the same to seven more.

Now, cruisers in that first group are showing their age, becoming more expensive and difficult to maintain and less reliable to operate as their material condition deteriorates. Those in the second group, five of which are currently in the cruiser modernization program, are also experiencing problems as they require more maintenance work than the Navy anticipated, raising questions about whether the Navy should continue to operate them or decommission them due to their declining state.

The Navy is debating whether to keep them for the sake of having a larger fleet or to discontinue them. In a budget environment where the military services are increasingly looking to “divest to invest,” or rid themselves of legacy gear to free up money for new equipment aimed at a high-end future fight, the cruiser fleet may not see much support in the upcoming budget cycle. Additionally, last year, vice Admiral Bill Galinis, the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, told that five cruisers are currently in the modernization program, and the three that are furthest along have not gone smoothly.

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For the recent updates on the cruiser, the cruisers Mobile Bay and Bunker Hill is reached the end of their 35-year service life in 2020 and will be decommissioned. Despite the cruisers' age, some analysts are hesitant to see them retired, particularly as there is no immediate replacement for the 567-foot ship with 122 vertical launch missile tubes and two 5-inch cannons.

For the information, the Navy is placing its 11 newest cruisers into maintenance in order to modernise them and extend their service lives into the late 2030s. However, according to a decommissioning schedule published by Defence News, the fleet's oldest 11 cruisers will be retired by the end of 2026.

The problem appears from a strategic standpoint is known that the modernisation program seems to bring in more work than initially planned, especially when it is started the program into that last modernization availability. According to Bill Galinis, the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, “all three of those ships right now, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Cowpens, are in that modernization availability and I will tell you, they're struggling through the production phase at the present moment”.

Additionally, other factors that seem to be the challenges are the poor material condition of the ships and the inability of the workforce to do the repair and reactivation work. Also, in terms of performance side, the maintenance yards don't have that expertise on hand. As the cruiser mod program is so lengthy, with the three-part repair and modernization process, the crews currently assigned to the cruisers have never actually touched the ships' systems before. The mechanical and electrical systems have been down for five years, and it's been harder than expected to get them back up and running after the modernization availability. According to Galinis, “there's a pretty proven process on the sequence of how we actually reactivate these systems” that the Navy and its contractors are going through now, but the repair yards don't have the in-house expertise they need to successfully execute that work and we don't have the expertise to get the ships reactivated either.

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Another factor the U.S Navy discontinues developing the cruisers is because it has officially started developing a new guided missile destroyer class. The tentatively titled DDG(X) will replace the older Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers. Actually, the Navy operates 22 Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers between 1980 and 1991 and expected to have replaced them by now. Nevertheless, a lack of funding over the last 20 years, when land wars dominated, has prevent the development of a replacement. This new replacement ship will be the backbone of the Navy's fleet into the mid-21st century, protecting carriers and high-end ships while also providing offensive firepower of their own. According to Defence News Report, if everything stays on track, the first ship should enter Navy service around 2032. The point is that the Navy proposes to keep upgrading and extending the life of the destroyers in its inventory to cover its Ballistic Missile Defense which can impact the Navy's ability to use the ship in multiple roles because it has to stay in a certain location to ensure it can have a good ballistic missile shot.

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