$6 Billion for Faulty Submarines

From the July 2016 Trumpet Print Edition

It emerged on March 29 that the uss Minnesota nuclear attack submarine is stuck in port as workers try to make it seaworthy. The $2.7 billion vessel is only three years old.

When the Minnesota was delivered in 2013, it was hailed as a great success for military procurement since it was delivered almost one year ahead of schedule. But it was delivered with known manufacturing defects.

According to the Navy Times, some of the Minnesota’s vital engine components were not manufactured and installed to specification. Evidence has emerged that manufacturers used fraudulent welding and other counterfeit additions to pass inspection. A $10,000 pipe failed examination, and it was discovered that the pipe had been fraudulently fabricated to appear sound.

Discovery of this defective pipe prompted investigation into other parts delivered by the U.S.-based contractor. Two subsequently constructed multibillion-dollar subs were also discovered to have the same defective pipes installed.

After investing more than $6 billion, the U.S. Navy has three new nuclear submarines that pose a known risk to their crews if deployed.

U.S. submarines form a third of the military’s nuclear triad and are essential for deterrence and war-fighting capability. The revelation of these fraudulent practices has frustrated and demoralized many service personnel. Had they gone undiscovered, sailors’ lives and national security would have been at grave risk.