Look how cool that ship up there is. Imagine cruising the high-seas on that. Pretty awesome.
The only problem is, according to a recent government watchdog report, the U.S. Navy's fleet of military catamarans, known as Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), isn't living up to its $2 billion price-tag -- and suffers from more than two dozen identified "deficiencies."
The ships, according to the Navy, are designed to be "shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift, providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances."
And they arguably can do that. But there are some pretty serious issues, according to a report from the Defense Department's Inspector General.
For one, the ships aren't able to transport a full load of cargo as fast and as far as they were supposed to. The ships also apparently have trouble shifting cargo from one to another on anything but nearly flat seas. Other than that, inspectors said more than a dozen other deficiencies related to information security -- the ability of the ships to communicate regularly and securely -- either hadn't been fixed, or at least they hadn't been shown documentation proving they were fixed.
The office in charge of the EPF program apparently stone-walled the inspectors, disagreeing that most of the deficiencies were deficiencies at all. On the question of the range and speed issues, the program office reportedly contested the real-life failure by providing a simulation of near-perfect conditions in which the goals were met, virtually.
The disagreements between the inspectors apparently ended in an almost comical standstill.
"According to Program Office officials, the 28 deficiencies were resolved; therefore, no further actions were required. However, the Program Office did not demonstrate that deficiencies were corrected for the EPF program," the IG report says.
The report says the Navy has accepted eight of a planned 12 ships -- each is deficient -- and may have to spend more money on the program that's already a few hundred million dollars over budget to bring the ships up to their original baseline.
But still, they're really cool ships.
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