The Cowpens, above, along with the Anzio and Vicksburg would have to be upgraded and kept in the fleet according to the proposed legistlation. (Navy)
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The Navy will have to upgrade and keep three of four Ticonderoga-class cruisers the service planned to retire in 2013, according to proposed legislation released Thursday by House Republicans.
The proposal by House Armed Services readiness subcommittee chairman Randy Forbes, R-Va., would keep the Cowpens, Anzio and Vicksburg in the fleet by authorizing needed upgrades. The Navy had planned to retire all three, along with the Port Royal, on March 31, 2013, and three more the following year to meet congressionally mandated budget cuts and to save an expected $4.1 billion.
Navy officials have said the cruisers — all of which were commissioned in the 1990s — were chosen for early retirement because they did not have the expensive upgrades that gave other ships in the class ballistic-missile defense capability.
The proposal, which is set to be voted on Friday at a subcommittee markup, does not apply to the Port Royal, which went aground on a coral reef in Hawaii on Feb. 5, 2009. The incident caused $40 million in damage and months in dry dock. That means the Navy is free to retire the ship as scheduled.
The bid to keep the cruisers in the fleet wasn't unexpected — Republicans have been signaling their unhappiness with the Navy's fleet-management plan — and Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said Wednesday he would try to save the three ships.