Incoming President, Donald Trump has stated publicly that he wants to expand the current fleet of the US Navy to nearly 350 warships.
Currently, under President Obama, the US Navy has around 308 operational warships with the plan to expand that to 320 by 2020. President Trump’s plans, if they come to fruition, would require an additional $120 billion pumped into the shipbuilding program, and will see thirty new ships added each year to compensate for the withdrawal of elderly tonnage and to maintain the required level of expansion. This will triple the current construction rate.
Such spending on the military was last seen during the days of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s during one of the hottest periods of the Cold War with Russia and will come at a price. President Trump has stated that he will divert funds from public programs as well as additional taxes.
The latest member of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers will bear the name of USS Frank E Petersen Jr. Construction of the 65th member of the class began on 27 April 2016 at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard at Pascagoula in the state of Mississippi. She is expected to enter service with the US Navy sometime in 2020.
Royal Navy News
The ongoing embarrassing situation where Royal Navy frigates and destroyers are being towed back into port due to mechanical issues continued in late November when HMS Duncan was pulled back into Devonport. The Type 45 guided missile destroyers have a well publicised problem with their engines and whilst no official word was offered by the Ministry of Defence, most analysts suspect this was the cause for the incident.
As part of the Government’s strategy of keeping a steady flow of work passing through BAE Systems shipyards on the Clyde, on 8 December it was announced that a further pair of Batch 2 River class offshore patrol vessels would be built. The £287million contract will see two more Batch 2 ships added to the trio already under construction.
The Russian annexation of Ukraine in March 2014 saw the virtual destruction of the naval force with two thirds of its active fleet lost. Nearly three years later, the country is starting down the long road of reconstruction and on 6 December, two Project 58155 Gurza-M class missile capable riverine patrol boats were accepted into service.
These are the first of an expected nine similar vessels. The reconstruction of the Ukrainian fleet, commonly referred to as the ‘mosquito fleet’, will see the introduction into service of around 30-35 small to medium sized naval vessels.
The event marked the entry into service of the offshore patrol vessel ARM Chiapas and the logistic ship ARM Isla Maria Madre.