NORFOLK – An entire class of Navy ships designed to quickly move troops and equipment around the world has major problems that could prevent them from accomplishing that mission.
That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Defense Department Inspector General.
The catamaran-style expeditionary fast transport ships, according to the report, were supposed to be able to carry 1.2 million pounds of cargo for 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, or about 40 miles per hour. But initial testing showed the ships were only able to carry that amount for 769 nautical miles at an average speed of 31 knots.
The aluminum ships have a large cargo space and a flight deck for helicopters and drones. They were designed to respond to a wide variety of military missions and could also be used in evacuations and disaster relief.
Since 2008, the Navy has purchased 12 expeditionary fast transport vessels from defense contractor Austal USA. By last summer, Austal had delivered eight of the ships. The other four are expected by the end of the 2019 fiscal year.
So far, the Navy has spent about $2 billion on the program, and the report states it may have to spend even more to fix all the problems that inspectors found with the ships that have been delivered.
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