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THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO “HMMM…”: USS FITZ BACK TO ...

It's been quite awhile since anything has warranted the "things that make you go 'hmmm'" introduction, but this is definitely one of them. Ever since the USS Fitzgerald was hit by a Philippine freighter off the coast of Japan, speculation has abounded. One of my speculations was that the Fitz was the victim of some sort of cyber and/or electromagnetic warfare or pulse attack, and in this respect, I've pointed out the oddities of the USS Donald Cook incidents. One individual emailed me and suggested that it could not have been an electromagnetic pulse attack, since the Fitz was still under its own power and steerage. Well,  this is true, at least, on any standard view of electromagnetic pulse. His comment made me wonder: was the attack done by cyber attack, as I've also speculated before? Or has what we know about electromagnetic pulse publicly been rendered obsolete by a whole new class of electromagnetic pulse weapons, weapons that can shut down particular systems, and not others?

I'll grant you, that's some pretty tall speculation, and I suspect it's beyond our ordinary high octane speculation. In fact, I suspect I've managed to walk all the way to the end of the twig once again, before wehave  even dealt with today's article. It's definitely not my ordinary practice, and before it's over, I may have fallen off the twig altogether, and we can all have a good laugh. Not all end-of-the-twig speculations are created equal, and this may be one of them.

But there's a little method in my willingness to crawl way out on to the end of the twig before we even get started, if one reads the following article shared by Mr. F.L.M. carefully:

Damaged Destroyer USS Fitzgerald Heading to U.S. for Repairs as Soon as September

Now, as I was reading the first thing that caught my attention was this:

The destroyer damaged by a collision with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan is heading back to the U.S. for repairs, according to a Navy solicitation issued last week for a transport large enough to take the warship back to the U.S.

A Navy official confirmed to USNI News that the solicitation is a sign that service leadership has decided to take USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) back to the U.S. for repairs to fix the hundreds of millions of damage from the June 17 collision that claimed the lives of seven sailors. (Emphasis added)

I looked at the picture of the vessel, and then back at the phrase "...repairs to fix the hundreds of millions of damage..." and then back at the picture, and then back at the phrase, and so on. Now, obviously, what I know about maritime or, for that matter, modern naval architecture you can write on the back of a postage stamp(a small American one, not those big African things). My first thought was that this did not look like "hundreds of millions of damage," but of course, we're also to remember that some of the damage was below the waterline. Still, I had to wonder, "why so much damage?" My first thought was that they were building all our missile frigates out of gold bars (which might account for all that missing gold that so many countries are having trouble repatriating from various central banks).

My second thought was that these missile frigates are full of sensitive and presumably expensive and costly electronics. We're informed that each one of these gold-plated missile frigates costs about one billion dollars to build. Nevertheless, the physical damage from the collision to my eyes still does not look like "hundreds of millions of damage."  Later we're given a more exact repair estimate:

While the Navy is still tabulating the estimates, the cost to repair Fitzgerald could easily exceed $500 million — twice the repair bill of Cole.

In other words, repairs to the collision damage - or whatever other mechanism may have been in play - amount to about half the cost of the entire ship!

So, perhaps there's damage to the electronics systems that we do not see, which seems to be confirmed by the following statement:

Much of that cost will be driven by the extensive damage to the ship’s electronic systems, USNI News reported last month. (Emphasis added)

There you have it. Now, I can easily imagine that the collision caused extensive damage to the ship's electronic systems. But I still have to say that, to my untrained, non-naval eye, a collision doing damage to the ship's electronic systems to almost half the estimated cost of the entire ship, given what we see, strains my credulity a little too much. It makes me think, once again, that perhaps we've been given just a little bit of a hint that some other mechanism of cyber warfare or perhaps a "targetable" type of electromagnetic pulse, may have been in play.  It also makes me wonder about the national security wisdom of having missile frigates that are so packed full of sensitive equipment that, to repair them, one has to haul them all the way back to the USA.

See you on the flip side...

23 thoughts on “ THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO “HMMM…”: USS FITZ BACK TO ...”

  1. Update to previous US Navy ship crash. Another one DDG56 USS John S McCain Straits of Malaaca.
    If link info is correct the 4th ship from the same port Yokosuka to have an incident this year – Fitzgerald / Lake Champlain / Antietam. Experienced loss of steering prior to crash.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/20/asia/us-navy-destroyer-collision-singapore/index.html

    http://www.c7f.navy.mil/Media/News/Display/Article/1283836/uss-john-s-mccain-collides-with-merchant-ship-near-strait-of-malacca/

    https://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/6uz5wo/guidedmissile_destroyer_uss_john_s_mccain_ddg_56/

    If memory serves, both the John McCain and the Fitzgerald are in the US Navy’s 7th fleet.

    Expect heads to roll higher up the chain of command this time.

    Edit: Both Destroyers are assigned to the same Destroyer Squadron 15. That Squadron has 8 Destroyers assigned to it. Two of them are now out of commission in two months. It’s possible the CO of the Squadron could lose his job next.

    Edit #2: The Destroyer is underway under its own power and is headed to port. Initial reports indicate only light injures among the crew.

    Edit #3: The Navy now reports 10 sailors are missing and 5 are injured. Search and rescue is underway for the missing crew.

    Edit #4: Reports are now indicating the ship suffered damage and/or flooding in two berthing areas and in its shaft alley.

    Edit #5: From CNN – “A US Navy official told CNN the McCain had experienced a loss of steering before the collision, but that steering had been regained.”

    Final edit: http://abcnews.go.com/US/uss-john-mccain-collides-merchant-ship-singapore-search/story?id=49327836

    That article currently shows the first photo of the damage to the USS John McCain. It’s time for me to go to bed, so this will be my final update. My thoughts are with the crew of the John McCain, their family members and friends.
    Your memory is right, they’re both in the same fleet and both based in Yokosuka. This is actually the 4th incident this year for ships based there. In addition to the Fitzgerald, USS Lake Champlain was hit by a fishing boat and USS Antietam ran aground.

    Makes you wonder what the hell is going on in that chain of command.

    ————————————————-
    Trojan

  2. There’s another side to this equation. How many stealth proxy / warships do the Chinese have? If this was a Chinese EW attack. How many Chinese, Filipino, etc commercial cargo carriers have EW capabilities sitting at ports across the US? My guess is 40′ EW containers can quickly and easily be loaded on commercial vessels and networked together for optimal effect. Something else to go hmmm about.

    1. For a long time, since the pirates of the Caribbean and the East India Company, the line between military and civilian vessels has often been vague.

  3. I hope “that end of the twig” will hold. Seems a bunch of us Gizars like it up there.
    Falling to our deaths and becoming a bright star might be in the cards for some but let’s keep that well into the future.

    It is a sad fact of all the arts humanity could have perfected, a few chose “the art of war” to be in sole dominance and subdued so many into participating thru bribes.

    I pray that all other arts survive and tomorrow humanity will still have the freedom of choice to pursue one’s own creativity and give it form. But so many in the Western world are being willingly captivated by becoming more robot like, it is frightening.

    If a war ensues I do wonder if human ingenuity can win from cold binary calculus. But then again there is that quantum calculus and if I understand correctly, that opens a whole other can of worms.

  4. This all comes-about because this is peacetime. There is time to ‘milk’ the repairs. After the Battle of the Coral Sea, the “USS Yorktown” aircraft carrier – which was severely damaged – was rushed back to Pearl Harbor, repaired on the fly, and sent-back-out to the Battle of Midway with civilian contractor crews still doing repairs on board. The Japanese actually thought she was another carrier, deeming the “Yorktown” out of action for months. (She was sunk in the Midway battle, but played a part in sinking four Japanese aircraft carriers which had participated at Pearl Harbor.)

    My first thought was whether there might be ‘insurance’ compensation coming from whomever insured the “Crystal.” There would be right-of-way issues to be fought over, but the USN might be able to make a case for reimbursement. So, why not inflate the damage ‘estimate’ as high as possible?

    The other ‘inflation’ involved in the cost-figures comes from this page:
    https://news.usni.org/2017/07/27/repair-bill-uss-fitzgerald-collision-will-cost-fix-uss-cole-terror-attack
    “Fitzgerald, commissioned in 1995, is one of the earliest Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and was due for a $170-million basic hull, mechanical and engineering upgrade in Fiscal Year 2019, according to modernization information obtained by USNI News. The upgrade is meant to get an additional 10 to 15 years of life out of the hull. However, the Navy will probably elect to upgrade the damaged electronics to the new Baseline 9 standard that allows warships to both target ballistic missiles and fight traditional air warfare threats. That overhaul costs about $270 million. ‘That makes the repair-plus-overhaul several times more expensive than originally planned,’ Clark said.”

    So, we may be looking at a ‘crisis of opportunity’ here. The USN gets a ‘free’ upgrade, probably waved-through by the neocon Congress. Plus, the “Crystal” insurers might pay for much of the bill…

  5. It does indeed strain credulity. Granted, given the huge (or “yuge”) rip-offs in the government contracting business, still, more than half the cost of the ship for that relatively small amount of damage is a major red flag.

    We are certainly not being told the truth about this event (gee, big surprise there). We have not been given GPS data for the Fitz, so we have no real proof whether it was moving or dead in the water. There is evidence it was dead in the water, and the lack of data to prove otherwise is telling.

    The fact that one of our most advanced ships can be so nearly destroyed by a simple collision should have the Pentragram scared spitless. One would think that the “sensitive electronics” would be buried deep inside the ship to prevent just exactly what they are reporting here – that is a Design 101 level problem. Someone is not telling the truth, or our ships are as badly designed as our latest jet fighters (or both).

    Either way, we are not nearly as omnipotent a military power as some would have us believe.

    It is obviously some kind of message about the vulnerability of our naval vessels. The question is, to whom from whom?

  6. Just another case of White Elephant technology screwing our geeky military armaments. Too expense too complex and planned to fail I wondering who the real paymasters of our merchants of death really are.

  7. Gah! After another week of faux news, the all-seeing-eye news network, BSnbc, etc etc. I got fed up and thought, I’m going to ditch the news and spend my saturday morning watching cartoons, like in the goodol’ days. Buuuut, did I Bugs falling over himself for a robot bunny? Noooooo. How about Pepe Le Pew’s amorous adventures among the sidewalk cafes of Paris? Noooo…..I found this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2REkk9SCRn0

  8. One of the most recognizable signatures of our shadow elite, is that they never let a crisis go to waste. In fact, they engineer them to the point, they are now manufactured. One might say, Mass Produced.
    So, this Fitz is just a drop in the ocean, by comparison the larger Fix/Fitz That is in manufactured crisis biz.

    1. Who knows how deep this really goes inkeeping up with the Ponzi appetites of ever demanding/increasing debt that’s exploding beyond Siegfried & Roy’s casino capitalism’s crony beliefs?
      Not only that, but one has an ever increasing list of madmen who want to captain these ships of doom.
      Then there are the real humans wanting sanity to win the day for humanity over this insanity asylum leadership crisis. One that is all too real…
      to fix???

      1. Another way to get modded is to post a link to a, um, gee-eh-why cartoon that is supposedly racking up millions of ew-toob views. Look for it in a coupla days! (Not that I’m advocating gee-eh-why-ness; my comment explains it.)

      2. Robert, I as sume (grin) what got you modded was “m@ss”. I also got modded for any word containing “t1t”. Consti tution is modded under this system. Sigh…

  9. Well, Jim Stone–who is, according to him, now in “permanent combat mode” (I hope that’s a cool thing and not a dorky thing)–did report that initial pictures of the Fitz, which were quickly scrubbed from the ‘net, showed a colossal amount of damage. And the Navy is too busy to get its own boat back to port? I wonder if a destroyer can tow a destroyer. If so, the USS John S. McCain could be put to actual use, instead of goofing around off the coast of Pyongyang, doing the destroyer version of donuts and wet starts.

  10. Or it’s one big scam and they’re getting more inventive at scamming the public purse i.e. stage an ‘accident’ and bill the tax payer 500m bucks for all the ‘repairs’. Would be interesting to know who the contractors are and who sits on their boards – kaching!

    1. With such a high repair bill, why not scrap it and build a new one with fortifications against future attacks of the same sort (whatever they were). Unless of course such fortifications are not practically available … In which case repair of the Fitz is more likely to be a big public relations stunt.

  11. I agree the costs of repairs are very high. If dozens of systems were fried this may be a correct cost. This gets weirder. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-shipping-gps-cyber-idUSKBN1AN0HT

    What this tells me is the Captain, who I think was never injured, has been finally debriefed and released, And these are the recommendations being put in place. The unwritten part of the article is that ALL US warships will have those recommendations included in their refits.

    1. The article claims that GPS navigation is too prone to hacking; we need to return to radio; and that we need to refit, or build anew, many thousands of WWII-era radio transmission towers. (It doesn’t say if they can be piggy-backed on the legions of “cell towers” that litter the country, or if an entirely separate crop of new ones must be built.)

      Ya know, 150 years ago, Chief Seattle observed that the sight of the white man’s telegraph wires strung across the landscape gave him an eye-ache. I agree–in the time since, they haven’t gotten any prettier.

      1. One of the benefits of reading “Aviation Week” is that I get the latest on Electronic Warfare to-and-fro. A big item has been the development of ways to spoof GPS. The one that most-pertains to the Fitz-Crystal incident is where an opponent starts with feeding-back the correct position and then very-gradually starts ‘pulling’ it to oneside of the correct location. I originally thought that the Crystal’s autopilot was literally taken-over in some way, but subtly-manipulating the course through the GPS-signal to the autopilot makes more sense. Good catch.

        1. I remember that magazine growing up, as my father left it out in various places, and I would occasionally read it.
          My magazines has morphed into shadows of what they once were: mother Jones & Harper’s.
          My sister got a free subscription for me to Atlantic monthly that recently has been above par of the rest of the mess out there.

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