So, we have a perfect set-up for the Potomac Flotilla's 5-Step Faint-Bluff-Cover-Run CONOPS:
1. If we were going to do things right, it is not going to be cheap.
2. As Big Navy does not want them back, they will not low-ball the estimates.
3. When everyone balks at the estimate, Big Navy will offer the minimum-capability cheap option.
4. The minimum-capability cheap option will then be evaluated, naturally, as not really worth the bother.
5. Big Navy can then do with the money what they wanted to do in the first place.
We saw Step-3 when SECNAV Spencer floated a bit about bringing them back in their self-propelled 76mm gun with attack helo-pad form, but that is not all that usable, unlike other modernization options. Less expensive, but you get what you pay for.
It looks like we are somewhere between Step 4 & 5 now. Big Navy is going to win this argument;
A single-page internal memo, which was circulated in the Chief of Naval Operations office in October, estimated the Navy would have to spend at least $432 million per ship over the decade of service, a figure that well exceeds the cost of one brand new littoral combat ship.
A second October memo described to Defense News said that of the 10 frigates left for recommissioning, two are reserved for foreign sales, one isn’t seaworthy, and the remaining seven would still cost more than $3 billion to bring back.
The paper instead recommends putting the money toward destroyer and cruiser modernization, as well as littoral combat ship procurement and development of the next-generation guided-missile frigate now in development.
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