Excerpt from Tuesday Morning Quarterback @ ESPN.com
Destroyers Gone Wild! Last week the United States Navy destroyer Porter, DDG-78, collided with an oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz. The Porter is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, the most advanced destroyer class in the fleet. Burke-class destroyers are crammed with expensive, high-tech equipment designed to … locate other ships. Devices aboard the Porter include the AN/SPS-67 surface radar, which the Navy calls “highly accurate,” and the AN/SPY-1D surface radar, which the Navy says is designed specifically for “cluttered littoral areas” where vessels are in close proximity. These are exactly the circumstances in which the Porter failed to notice a gigantic oil tanker directly in its path.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The oiltanker it hit was 330 meters long (that’s longer than 3 football fields)!
TMQ harkens back to 2009, when the high-tech, cost-no-object USN submarine Hartford, surfacing and collided with a ship. As this column noted at the time, “The Hartford is an attack submarine whose role is to sink other vessels. As such, it is crammed with millions of dollars’ worth of high-tech equipment designed to detect ships.” Yet the Hartford failed to notice a large vessel directly above it.
The United States military is the most proficient in the world. But when very expensive high-tech equipment fails to function properly in low-stress peacetime conditions, why is it that the contractors who built the stuff never have to pay a refund?