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Oldgateboatdriver said:25 to 30 years is not a fast rule but a NATO average service time for the smaller ships (that is cruisers and smaller - 45 to 50 years for aircraft carriers and large phibs is pretty standard), with the Brits and American closer to 25 and the French and German closer to 30. All of this is, however without major redesign, like we do with our life extension programs all the time. The Brits tend to use ships for about 12 years in commission, then lay them up for a mid-life refit, where some aspects are modernized, but mostly all the machinery is taken apart and repaired/refurbished over a year, then go back in commission for another 10 to 12 years.
If, as I suggested (and was proposed by the Navy) we had started replacing the HAL's in 2010 (after replacing the IROs), and replaced them at a rate of one every 12 to14 months, the first ones would have been retired near 20 years of age - without the need for extensive life extension -and the last one would have been retired around 2023 after 27 years of service. The number of operationally available ships (15) would have been maintained throughout, with a reserve of 5 or 6 of the best retired HAL's on hand for a bit of quick expansion or replacement here and there as required due to long refits or major breakdown/accidents.
Such an idea is to sound, it would mean a constantly busy yard with trained employees passing on corporate knowledge and skill sets. It would also allow such a yard to reinvest in more modern equipment and basically outdo all the other yards in the country. How would you spread the pork around?