Navy attempts to tackle ‘Frankenstein’ of shipboard systems in response to vessel collisions

The Navy’s comprehensive review into last year’s fatal collisions involving the U.S.S. John McCain and U.S.S. Fitzgerald identified shortfalls in training, planning and basic seamanship standards as contributors to the deaths of 17 sailors, and the service is already taking corrective actions to reinforce the basics of navigation and teamwork.

But the 60-day study, led by U.S. Fleet Forces Command, also pointed to technical and equipping problems that the Navy doesn’t have immediate answers for: The hodgepodge of equipment that’s been incrementally added its warships’ bridges over time — particularly in the case of older vessels — makes the task of safely navigating those ships much more difficult than it needs to be.

“We’ve created a bit of a Frankenstein,” Adm. Philip Davidson, the commander of Fleet Forces Command told a conference hosted by the Surface Navy Association in Arlington, Va. on Thursday. “There has not been good control of the bridge as a control room in and of itself, on the destroyers specifically, but on our cruisers as well.”

The problem, Davidson said, is that vessels that were originally designed and built in the 20th century have had their bridges…

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