For reference, adjusting for inflation, the USS Bonhomme Richard cost the Navy $1.2b., ABC News reported. She is the third ship to bear the name. Helicopters also dumped water onto the $761 million ship as part of the rescue effort, At least 68 firefighters suffered injuries during the four-day fight against the blaze last July, Day and night the rescuers doused the ship with water to try and extinguish the fire, USS Bonhomme Richard seen ablaze last July with a thick plume of smoke billowing in the sky, Firefighting efforts involved personnel from Naval Base San Diego (right) and the City of San Diego Fire Department (left), along with Harbor Police fire boats and fire teams from other ships, according to the Navy. Unfortunately, modernization of the two decade-old ship was simply too ambitious. In fact, Braithwaite’s performance may merit an offer from President-elect Joe Biden’s Pentagon Landing Team to stay on for a while, managing the Navy until Braithwaite’s potential successor can be named and confirmed by the Senate. The total cost of the warship is estimated to be $761 million, according to … Despite an embarrassingly short tenure at the Pentagon, Braithwaite has proven to be to be a solid Navy Secretary, finding creative ways to put the Navy first. Restoring the 22-year-old ship for another use, perhaps as a hospital, would take almost as long as full restoration and cost $1 billion. 'Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her.'. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Navy officials and industry experts studied the cost and schedule with an eye toward 'the art of the possible,' Ver Hage told reporters. But these memes are pretty damn funny…. The U.S. Navy decided on Monday to scrap amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) after suffering catastrophic damage in a fire back in July. Replacing the ship would cost the Navy billions. To do so in this case would be a pointless and wasteful act of American engineering prowess, and, in the end, the Navy would still only get a marginally useful ship with only 20 years of life left in it. The July fire on board the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) offers the Navy and the nation’s shipyards a valuable opportunity they have not had the since the end of World War II—the chance to repair a capital ship that has suffered catastrophic damage. Ver Hage declined to comment Monday on the status of several investigations and he didn't give a timeline for their completion, saying they 'will conclude when the time is right.'. USS Bonhomme Richard to Be Scrapped, a Glimpse Inside the Charred Wreckage Posted on December 2, 2020 by Rick Spilman December 2, 2020 The US Navy has decided to scrap the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard , which burned for more than four days this summer in San Diego. Founder and CEO of the Themistocles Advisory Group, I focus on communications and government relations as well as maritime, homeland defense and chemical, For all Braithwaite has done in his short tenure, there is no need to replace him right away. … Few in the current Administration will be able to walk away with their reputations—and institutions—intact. Ver Hage said restoring Bonhomme Richard to its original form would have cost between $2.5 billion and $3.2 billion and taken five to seven years. The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire started. Aside from the ship's extensive damage and advanced age, evidence would have to be preserved for any prosecution, delaying repair work, he said. The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore. On November 30, 2020, the Navy announced that the BONHOMME RICHARD will be decommissioned and scrapped following the 5-day fire in July 2020 which massively damaged the ship. The Navy determined after a damage assessment that restoring the warship would cost more than $3 billion and five-to-seven years to complete. The cost of replacing the Bonhomme Richard would be about $4 billion, said Todd Harrison, an expert on military budgets at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The first option, restoration of the vessel, was something of a pipe-dream. It is unclear if there are plans to purchase a new ship. publishing op-eds and papers in places like the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Naval War College Review, the Keeping Braithwaite—if he’ll stay on—makes sense. Frankly, a more mendacious political leader could have easily walked away and left the mess of the Bonhomme Richard for the next Navy Secretary. To rebuild and repair the 22-year-old Gator-Freighter would have cost between $2.5 and $3.2 billion, and would have taken up to seven years, he said. Lawrence B. Brennan, a retired Navy captain and adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, said the decision to decommission was 'inevitable and correct.'. (28 Photos). The USS Bonhomme Richard’s Decommissioning: ... Two, repurpose the ship for a new mission (e.g., hospital ship), which would cost over $1 billion, taking five to seven years to accomplish. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire broke out Sunday. The average cost of a Wasp–class LHA has been estimated to be around $750 million, while the more recently constructed America-class LHA had exceeded $3.3 billion – and as a result the cost to replace the Bonhomme Richard has been estimated to be in excess of $4 billion. Firefighters then walked through the ship to find every smoldering hot spot, In August, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service suspected arson could be to blame, The USS Bonhomme Richard burst in to flames on July 12 in San Diego harbor, Firefighters spent four days attacking the blaze before it was finally extinguished, Firefighting boats sprayed water onto the amphibious assault ship to try and quell the flames. Given that the Navy likes to eke thirty to sixty years out of vessel tenders, hospital ships or other specialized platforms, rebuilding the burned-out hulk simply wasn’t worth the effort. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation With Forbes Insights, Christmas ‘Dirty Jobs’: Spare A Thought For Air Force Combat Controllers, Donald Trump Is A Nuclear President—His Legacy Is More Nukes, Fewer Controls, With New Gear And Bases, China Is Beginning To Make A Play For Dominance In Antarctica. About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot amphibious assault vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing the upgrade. But for less money, it could repurpose the Bonhomme Richard, making it an operational testbed for cutting-edge … The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire started. While some may fret that this failure reflects America’s shrunken shipyard industrial base and reduced maintenance capacity, no big ship has ever fully recovered from an uncontrolled and ship-wide five-day fire. A helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 combats a fire aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. To that end, Braithwaite has moved fast. The Navy has decided to decommission the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, due to the extensive damage sustained during the July fire. Now, a less ambitious modernization—employing the hull as a barracks ship or as some sort of forward basing auxiliary support hulk—might have offered a marginally better business case, but better, cheaper and probably longer-lived alternatives are available there as well. The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire started. They considered the impact that restoration would have on other spending priorities. This generally hasn’t been the case—the Navy has been reluctant to shed expensive and largely irreplaceable assets. This was a decent thing to do, and it reflects well upon the current Navy Secretary. The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage. In the end, the third option, scrapping the vessel, was inevitable. USS Bonhomme Richard, its fate uncertain, would be one of largest ships Navy has lost outside of combat. Firefighters attacked the flames inside the ship while firefighting vessels with water cannons directed streams of seawater into the ship and helicopters made water drops. The USS Bonhomme Richard cost $750 million to build when it was commissioned back in 1998, which amounts to about $1.2 billion in today's dollars. By ordering the decommissioning and disposal of the fire-ravaged USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) on Monday, Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite began the thankless but helpful task of clearing the decks for his eventual successor. After the fire, the Navy considered three options for the wounded USS Bonhomme Richard. The low-key Navy secretary has, within the confines of a very tiny overseas brief, done good diplomatic work for the Navy, advancing the Navy in the deep Pacific and beyond. After thorough consideration, the Navy has decided to decommission USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, due to the extensive damage sustained during the July fire. Stimulus Funds of $1.6 Billion to Portland Area — Ignores Rural Counties, Pelosi Stutters, Slurs Words and Struggles to Speak as She Fights to Keep Her Dentures in Her Face (VIDEO), Unemployment is no joke. Eight years ago, it took the Navy more than a year to decide to decommission the arson-struck USS Miami, a multi-billion dollar Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine. The Navy also determined it would cost more than $1 billion to repurpose the ship for other … But by August 2013, it was clear restoring the stricken sub made neither fiscal nor operational sense, and the USS Miami was sent to the scrapyard. The U.S. Military Defanged IEDs. And while nobody wants to see such an important vessel meet such an ignominious end, the smart decision was to get the vessel off the books before any other well-meaning stakeholder in the U.S. government could interfere. Ver Hage said about 60% of the ship would likely need to be replaced to have it fully restored, including the flight deck, mast and many levels directly below the flight deck. The blaze first broke out aboard the ship on July 12 at 8:30am. Previously, I served as an But the ship suffered a catastrophic pier-side fire, and tough questions regarding the vessel’s fate were clouding the Navy’s long-term modernization plans. Even in the best of circumstances, the USS Bonhomme Richard was too old, with half of its service life already gone. U.S. In my spare time, I support think-tank studies, The USS Bonhomme Richard, which was ravaged by a blaze that began July 12, would cost more than $3 billion to restore, a process that would take between five … After a five-day conflagration, and with more than sixty percent of the vessel requiring replacement, there was no way the 22-year old ship could be restored in a cost-effective fashion. More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. The Navy said on Monday that it … Defense attorneys would be entitled to examine the wreck for expert witnesses to testify at trial. I offer blunt, uncompromising guidance on national security solutions, bringing complex security issues and oft-neglected defense topics to the attention of interested. The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy's worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory. The sailor was not detained. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Joseph Pfaff/Released) Those are the big questions being faced by US Navy leaders as they decide how to move forward with the damaged hulk of the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard , David B. Larter of Defense News … But by acting decisively now, while both the Congress and the White House are distracted with the impending change in Administration, Braithwaite removed a real potential headache for any incoming Navy Secretary. The Navy announced Monday that the fire-ravaged USS Bonhomme Richard will be decommissioned because repairs would cost more than building a new ship. The second option, rebuilding the ship for alternative purposes, was still ambitious but, given the circumstances, prudent. Given the expense of the stricken high-profile asset—a replacement for the charred USS Bonhomme Richard will cost between $3 billion to $4 billion—the Navy did not dither. About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a … The conflagration erupted on USS Bonhomme Richard's lower decks, sending temperatures as high as 1,200 degrees and triggering several explosions as it tore through the ship, The fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard burned for four days. The fire that broke out on the U.S. Navy amphibious ship USS Bonhomme Richard at a shipyard in San Diego last month caused catastrophic damage to 11 of 14 decks on the 844-foot vessel. The 23-year-old USS Bonhomme Richard is designed to deploy Marines in amphibious assaults. Can It Figure Out How To Neutralize Drones? 'The dollars definitely would disrupt our strategy for investment,' Ver Hage said. executive for naval shipbuilder Austal USA, helping deliver Littoral As USNI News notes: “Between December 1941 and September 1945, over 350 U.S. Navy warships and patrol craft were sunk or damaged beyond repair. The USS Bonhomme Richard burned for five days. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. Pictured, smoke rises from the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, after an explosion and fire onboard the ship at Naval Base San Diego, On Monday, the Navy said that it will decommission the warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore, Helicopters approach the USS Bonhomme Richard as crews fight the fire in San Diego last summer, Pictures taken by @Osinttechnical show the 'extensive damage' caused by the blaze which burned for more than four days off San Diego harbor, More than 160 people had been aboard when the blaze erupted. Arson is suspected in the July 12 fire, and a U.S. Navy sailor was questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defense official said in late August. Five months ago, the Wasp class amphibious assault ship was finishing up a complex refit, and was set to become a small “pocket aircraft carrier,” bringing new F-35B fighter jets to hotspots throughout the globe. About 160 sailors … The Navy needs new auxiliary ships, and using the weakened, albeit still a largely military-spec hull as a starting point for a submarine tender or hospital ship was an interesting idea. Naval Sailors were seen putting on their protective gear as they responded to the fire, Firefighters are pictured looking on, amid thick smoke, as the ship burned, Teams of sailors rotated on 15-minute firefighting shift patterns to tackle the blaze last summer, The Bonhomme Richard was undergoing maintenance when the fire erupted on July 12, 2020, Pentagon will scrap $750million USS Bonhomme Richard after learning it would cost $3 BILLION and seven years to restore after July arson attack, July: Fire teams battle massive blaze on navy ship in San Diego, Threat eases as battle at USS Bonhomme Richard enters day four, Battle against USS Bonhomme Richard fire from up close, Democrat Oregon Governor Allots All of the Govt. Retiring as a flag officer in 2011, Braithwaite knew enough malleable bits of Pentagon bureaucracy to quietly hammer home a worthy legacy that he can be proud of. And, with the decision on the USS Bonhomme Richard (and potentially a few other interesting decisions to come in the next few weeks), Braithwaite has shown a willingness to shoulder tough institutional challenges in a timely, politically astute and non-partisan fashion. About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot amphibious assault vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing the upgrade. The Navy’s analysis, that the cost would “exceed $3 billion and require between five and seven years to complete,” reflected the extensive damage. As long as the USS Bonhomme Richard remained in the fleet, it was an enormous problem. The U.S. Navy on Monday announced it will decommission the USS Bonhomme Richard, the warship that caught fire and burned for days this summer … The ship will likely be decommissioned in San Diego. The US Navy is facing the loss of one of its most powerful warships after a fire broke out on the USS Bonhomme Richard, melting the superstructure.The blaze, which began while the amphibious assault Reducing the leadership churn at the top of the Navy would be an enormous aid to the bedraggled institution. The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducts air operations off the western coast of Australian. Kenneth Braithwaite appears to be one of those lucky ones. In May 2012, a shipyard worker at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard set the USS Miami on fire, and the resulting conflagration consumed a good part of the vessel. I offer blunt, uncompromising guidance on national security solutions, bringing complex security issues and oft-neglected defense topics to the attention of interested policymakers and the general public. It is tough for any Navy leader to decommission a pricy, high-profile asset. Congress leapt into action, offering money to start repairs. Naval Institute Proceedings and beyond. The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship was docked in San Diego when a fire broke out on July 12.It took five days to extinguish the inferno. After entering office in May 2020, he quickly embraced naval history, bringing back traditional apolitical naming schemes for Navy vessels. You may opt-out by. Braithwaite has already demonstrated his commitment to the Navy, and a clean hand-over to a potential successor offers the Navy a lifeline in what will be, at best, a tough and turbulent transition to the Biden Presidency. The sailor was questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an official with knowledge of the investigation said in August. The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire started. The U.S. Navy announced Monday it will decommission, rather than repair or repurpose, the USS Bonhomme Richard because of extensive damage from a fire while the vessel was in port. discuss naval matters at NextNavy.com or write about the Navy, Combat Ships and Expeditionary Fast Transports to the U.S. Navy. About 160 sailors … For more than a billion dollars, American taxpayers would have received a balky, infirm vessel capable of potentially 20 years of additional service, when, in turn, a newly built, somewhat shock-hardened and auxiliary-ready variant of the utilitarian LPD-17 hull could be purchased for less. The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire broke out Sunday. About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot (256-meter) amphibious assault vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing the upgrade. The Navy has decided it isn't worth the cost and effort to rebuild the 22-year-old Bonhomme Richard, so it will be scrapped. Smoke rises from the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, after an explosion and fire onboard the ship In this July 12, 2020, file photo. The U.S. Navy has announced that it plans to scrap the USS Bonhomme Richard and not repair the amphibious assault ship ravaged by a major fire … Given the expense of the stricken high-profile asset—a replacement for the charred USS Bonhomme Richard will cost between $3 billion to $4 billion—the Navy did not dither. Extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage structural, electrical and mechanical damage scrapping vessel! Adjusting for inflation, the third ship to bear the name options for the wounded USS Bonhomme Richard ( 6. Minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation of Australian this generally hasn ’ t been the case—the Navy been... 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