The Pentagon calls China its primary “pacing challenge” and Russia a major threat to the world order, but the Navy may be facing an even more formidable and insidious challenge to its fleets from within: rust.
The U.S. Navy is fighting a never-ending battle against the unsightly reddish-brown streaks and patches caused by the destructive combination of steel hulls, oxygen and seawater. Despite the millions of man-hours and billions of dollars spent combating corrosion in the fleet, some fear rust is winning the war. (More here)
The U.S. Navy spends $3 billion a year fighting rust, according to Military.com. But for decades, the Navy has pushed its ships and sailors to the breaking point in order to maintain a constant presence around the world, and now several Navy vessels are in such dire need of maintenance that their unseaworthy appearance is an embarrassment to the United States.
USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE-3), US Navy Lewis and Clark Class Dry Cargo Ship Transits the Johor Strait.— Straits Sights (@StraitsSights) April 28, 2022
Looks like she’s doing hard work with all that Rust.@WarshipCam @supbrow #USN #Usnavy #Lewisandclarkclass #USNSAlanShepard #TAKE3 #militarysealiftcommand pic.twitter.com/XZVyAPtYmg
“Rust is found on ships that have high op tempo,” said Wasser, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C.. “Constant operations really means that there’s less time for the necessary maintenance and upkeep.”
Back in October 2020, the destroyer USS Stout finally returned home after a record 215 days at sea. The ship did not have a port call for eight months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the marathon deployment, both the ship and its crew came under great strain. There hasn’t been much release in pressure since.