Tell Congress to rest easy – there may be a new way to cover shipbuilding costs.
The Pakistan Navy in late February sealed the deal to buy the 30-year-old frigate McInerney for $78 million.
This is a real bargain for Pakistan, which is getting one versatile ship. The second ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry class, Mac has twice received the “Hook ‘Em” Award for excellence in Anti-Submarine Warfare, was awarded the Battle “E” during the first Gulf War, has served above the Arctic Circle and as part of SouthCom’s counter-drug operations. Most notably, the ship on Sept. 13, 2008, intercepted a 59-foot self-propelled semisubmersible carrying 7 tons of coke (the powder kind, not the drink) off the coast of Guatemala. Four Colombian drug smugglers were captured. The cargo had an estimated street value of $187 million – that’s two U.S. frigates in Pakistani dollars.
The ship will be inactivated by the U.S. Navy on Aug. 31, 2010 in preparation for the transfer to Pakistan. The frigate will patrol territorial waters from the Karachi port by the end of 2010.
The good news is that Islamabad is interested in buying five more Oliver Perry-class frigates. If they get the same sticker price and combine it with the McInerney sale, the Navy could almost purchase a new LCS. Or one-quarter of a Virginia-class sub. Or almost half of a JSF squadron. Or the screw for SSBN(X).
With the wholesale end-of-service-life retirements of Los Angeles-class attack subs, Ticonderoga-class cruisers, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and LSD-41/49 dock landing ships – not to mention the F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats – the Navy could be looking at some serious cha-ching. But why stop there: Fire up the ghost fleet and empty the boneyards. And if the countries that buy them get a little too big for their britches, then the bargain basement becomes target practice for our new fleet.
That’s what Scoop Deck calls a win-win.