Wednesday, May 22, 2024

US Navy looks to buy foreign, used ships

A legislative proposal presented by the U.S. Navy could pave the way for the acquisition of foreign, used vessels to enhance sealift capabilities, offering a cost-effective solution to bolster readiness, according to the Inside Defense.

The proposal, discussed by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti during a recent House Armed Services Committee Navy budget hearing, seeks to increase the Secretary of Defense’s authority to acquire such vessels to recapitalize the Ready Reserve Force.

“The proposal increases the Secretary of Defense’s authority to acquire foreign-built, used vessels, to support effort to cost-effectively recapitalize the Ready Reserve Force,” a Navy spokesperson told Inside Defense.


The potential acquisition of foreign, used cargo ships represents a pragmatic approach to swiftly augmenting the military’s sealift capacity at a fraction of the cost of constructing new vessels. With the current age of ships in the fleet averaging around 45 years, well beyond their expected lifespan, the need for modernization is evident.

A key consideration in favor of purchasing used ships is their affordability compared to new builds. A Roll-on/Roll-off (RO/RO) ship with 15 years of service, roughly halfway through its expected lifespan, can be acquired for approximately $60 million, significantly less than the $500 million cost per hull for a new vessel. While new ships offer longer service life, the budgetary constraints faced by the Navy necessitate exploring alternative options to maintain readiness.

The Navy’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget underscores the prioritization of readiness over modernization, reflecting fiscal realities and the imperative to sustain operational capabilities amid constrained resources. This strategic shift emphasizes the importance of cost-effective solutions to meet operational requirements and ensure the Navy’s ability to fulfill its mission in an evolving security landscape.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more



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