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Saturday, April 07, 2012

US looks to small warships for naval dominance

[USS Independence (LCS-2)]The US Navy’s newest ship is designed to battle Iranian attack boats, clear mines from the Strait of Hormuz, chase down Somali pirates and keep watch on China’s warships. The ones built here even look menacing, like Darth Vader on the sea.

“It’s going to scare the hell out of folks,” said representative Jo Bonner, the Alabama Republican who represents Mobile and is one of the ship’s biggest boosters in Congress.

Bonner acknowledged that the ship had needed a “tweak” here and there — his allusion to one of the most tortured shipbuilding programmes in navy history, a decade-long tale of soaring costs, cancelled contracts and blown deadlines.

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