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[PSUBS-MAILIST] Re: more on the -Navy minisub program cancelled

Here is a bit more on this very dissappointing news story from  the RIC Times dispatch .....

John Gaertner

Mini-sub bugs: noisy, shaky and years late
On the other hand, it only cost five times more than expected
Thursday, December 1, 2005

WASHINGTON -- What costs $446 million, makes noise, shakes too much and is years behind schedule?

A mini-sub being built for Tampa's Special Operations Command.

The problems are so great, the command announced yesterday, that it is stopping further tests on the prototype, delaying the next two and re-examining the program.

"The boat wasn't ready from a reliability point of view," said Vice Adm. Eric Olson, the deputy special-operations commander.

The 65-foot-long submersible, called the Advanced SEAL Delivery System, is designed to carry Navy commandos, riding piggyback on a nuclear submarine. During a mission, the mini-sub would drop off eight commandos close to shore and pick them up later.

So far, one has been built. The original batteries did not work as expected. New batteries have not been fully tested.

The vessel was noisier than planned -- bad news for a submarine. Designs were changed to muffle the sound, and now the mini-sub vibrates too much.

The subs were originally expected to cost $80 million each; the first one alone has cost $446 million.

A Northrop Grumman subsidiary in Annapolis, Md., has the construction contract, but had no experience building submarines. A subcontractor built the first hull. Others are to be built at the company's Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard.

A company news release yesterday said the firm was disappointed with the delay, but improvements to the prototype would make it "an even more valuable asset to the war fighter."

James W. Crawley reports from Washington for Media General News Service. Email: jcrawley@mediageneral.com.

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