WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy released the names of the 24 ships it hopes to decommission in fiscal 2023, eight of which have reached the end of their planned service life and 16 of which would be retired early to save money on ships that the service views as not worth their rising costs.

The Navy would like to decommission four Ticonderoga-class cruisers at the end of their 35-year service; two Los Angeles-class attack submarines at the end of their 33-year service lives; and two Kaiser-class oilers at the end of their 35-year service lives.

Those ships are:

Ship nameDate of commission (or delivery for USNS ships)
USS Bunker Hill (CG-52)09/20/1986
USS Mobile Bay (CG-53)02/21/1987
USS San Jacinto (CG-56)01/23/1988
USS Lake Champlain (CG-57)08/12/1988
USS Chicago (SSN-721)09/27/1986
USS Key West (SSN-722)09/12/1987
USNS John Lenthall (T-AO-189)06/25/1987
USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO-193)09/13/1988

Of the 16 ships the Navy hopes to decommission early, nine are Freedom-variant littoral combat ships. All of them will need their combining gears replaced, as the Navy discovered a classwide defect in late 2020. Lockheed Martin and subcontractor RENK developed a replacement combining gear system, which the Navy approved in November. However, the Navy will bear some amount of the cost of the replacement effort.

The Navy announced March 28 that it would cancel the anti-submarine warfare mission package for the LCSs, meaning it would need fewer hulls in the inventory.

Decommissioning nine LCSs — every single Freedom-variant hull that has already been commissioned into service — would avoid the cost of replacing combining gears and achieve a smaller fleet responsible for two instead of three mission areas: surface warfare and mine countermeasures.

These LCSs would be retired far ahead of their planned end of life: The class is meant to operate for 25 years, but these ships are between less than 2 years old and less than 10 years old.

The Navy wants to decommission one cruiser early, the Vicksburg, which the Navy said in January had completed the dry dock portion of its cruiser modernization work but was running further behind than the rest of the cruisers in the modernization program.

The Navy also wants to retire four Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships early, as the Navy has also struggled to get these vessels through a modernization program and keep them seaworthy. The ships have a planned service life of 40 years, and the four ships considered for early retirement are 30 to 36 years old.

Lastly, the Navy will ask to retire two Montford Point-class expeditionary transfer docks. These innovative ships took a commercial tanker design and created a mobile landing platform that could ballast down to allow landing craft to come onboard and onload or offload trucks and supplies while at sea. The Navy later took this design, nixed the ballast capability and added a large flight deck across the top, creating an expeditionary sea base design that’s in high demand by fleet commanders today. The two original ESDs are 8 and 9 years old.

Those ships slated for early retirement are:

Ship nameDate of commission (or delivery for USNS ships)
USS Vicksburg (CG-69)11/14/1992
USS Germantown (LSD-42)02/08/1986
USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44)04/22/1989
USS Tortuga (LSD-46)11/17/1990
USS Ashland (LSD-48)05/09/1992
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3)08/06/2012
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5)11/21/2015
USS Detroit (LCS-7)10/22/2016
USS Little Rock (LCS-9)12/16/2017
USS Sioux City (LCS-11)11/17/2018
USS Wichita (LCS-13)01/12/2019
USS Billings (LCS-15)08/03/2019
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17)10/26/2019
USS St. Louis (LCS-19)08/08/2020
USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1)05/14/2013
USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2)03/12/2014

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs, and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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