ASNE Flagship Section Hears Admiral Beecher On Battleship Reactivation

The members of the Flagship Section of the American Society of Naval Engineers gathered at the Naval Surface Weapons Center, Dahlgren, Va., for the first meeting of the 1981-82 season to hear a paper on "Reactivation of the Battleships," given by Rear Adm. John D. Beecher, USN, NAVSEA's Deputy Commander for Surface Combatant Ships.

The afternoon session also included a historical look at the establishment of NSWC's facilities at Dahlgren from their beginning in 1918, presented by Capt. L.E. Ackart, USN, NSWC Deputy Commander, and a station bus tour of the laboratories, ranges, experimental sites, and housing and administrative areas.

The highlight of this tour was the demonstration firing of the main range's 16-inch gun.

Admiral Beecher's paper started with a look at the various classes of battleships—including the one on which he spent a midshipman cruise — and moved to the steps being taken by the U.S.

Navy to bring vessels from its mothballed battleship fleet out of retirement. The first battleship to be reactivated, the USS New Jersey (BB-62), was towed in July from its retirement berth at the inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Bremerton, Wash., to the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.

There it will begin a modernization and reactivation process at an estimated cost of $326 million, about the price of a Perry class (FFG-7) frigate.

Admiral Beecher said present world conditions—a dirth of U.S.

carrier assets and a major increase in surface Navy assets of our potential enemies — justify the return of modernized battleships.

The return of the New Jersey and planned updates for other Iowa-class battleships is viewed as the most cost effective way to provide an early signifi- cant increase in the capability of the U.S. Navy.

The New Jersey is expected to return to the fleet in early 1983, much sooner than it would take to build a new warship from the keel up.

Other stories from November 1981 issue


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