$3 billion warship more like $3 billion anchor

President Teddy Roosevelt had a famous remark that goes “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, however, what if your stick is too big to carry? A little over six months ago, President Obama announced that there would be significant cuts to military spending in an effort to create “leaner” armed forces. Contrary to those statements and many others related to shrinking the debt, the Navy recently revealed plans of their latest high-tech toy and the exuberant price tag attached to it. The AP reports on the next war machine that will soon be cruising the Pacific:

“A super-stealthy warship that could underpin the U.S. Navy’s China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic ‘railguns’ right out of a sci-fi movie.

But at more than $3 billion a pop, critics say the new DDG-1000 destroyer sucks away funds that could be better used to bolster a thinly stretched conventional fleet. One outspoken admiral in China has scoffed that all it would take to sink the high-tech American ship is an armada of explosive-laden fishing boats.

With the first of the new ships set to be delivered in 2014, the stealth destroyer is being heavily promoted by the Pentagon as the most advanced destroyer in history _ a silver bullet of stealth. It has been called a perfect fit for what Washington now considers the most strategically important region in the world _ Asia and the Pacific.”

“But cost overruns and technical delays have left many defense experts wondering if the whole endeavor was too focused on futuristic technologies for its own good.

They point to the problem-ridden F-22 stealth jet fighter, which was hailed as the most advanced fighter ever built but was cut short because of prohibitive costs. Its successor, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has swelled up into the most expensive procurement program in Defense Department history.”

“But the destroyers’ $3.1 billion price tag, which is about twice the cost of the current destroyers and balloons to $7 billion each when research and development is added in, nearly sank it in Congress. Though the Navy originally wanted 32 of them, that was cut to 24, then seven.

Now, just three are in the works.”

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