The quasi-aircraft carrier will burn for 3 days in a row, and the US military’s forward deployment in the Asia-Pacific region will be”hit hard”
Since the fire on July 12, it has been parked in California, USAThe San Diego Naval Base amphibious assault ship”Good Man Richard” is still burning.
About 257 meters long, 32 meters wide, with a displacement of over 40,000 tons and a construction cost of 760 million US dollars, quasi-aircraft carrier The”Good Man Richard” is only 3 meters shorter than the French nuclear-powered aircraft Charles de Gaulle.
Once the scrapped amphibious assault ship is in the final stage of upgrade, it will become one of the most significant losses in the history of the US Navy.
In the World War II Coral Sea Battle, the sunken US Lexington class aircraft carrier was only 270 meters long with a displacement of 4.7 Ten thousand tons.
In addition to physical losses, the”Good Man Richard” is also responsible for the deployment of the US Navy in the frontier of the so-called”Indo-Pacific” sea area:carrying F-35B fighters.
The US military has a total of 10 amphibious assault ships, but only five can carry the fifth-generation carrier-based F- 35B.
The blaze is indestructible
As of Tuesday, rescue helicopters have dropped 1,200 barrels of water on the”Good Man Richard” to allow firefighters to enter the attack ship Extinguishing. But the blaze continued, and both ends of the attack ship were burning.
According to CNN news reports, the flight deck and superstructure of the attack ship have been damaged by fire, the fore mast collapsed, and the temperature of the fire site was as high as 1000 degrees Celsius.
The only thing that is thankful is that the fire has not spread to the oil storage bin. There is 3.8 million liters of fuel in the bin, and once the fire is fired, it will have devastating consequences.
Before the fire, the”Good Man Richard” was docked at San Diego Port for maintenance work. Usually, there are more than 1,000 officers and men on board, but there were only 160 people on board when the fire broke out. As of Tuesday, the fire caused 61 injuries and no serious injuries.
US military officials speculate that the initial fire point was in the lower cargo storage area, but the cause of the fire is unknown. As for why the fire spread to the stern of the attack ship, it is still under investigation.
Philippe Sobeck, commander of the Navy’s Third Attack Group, revealed that when the fire broke out, neither of the two fire suppression systems on the attack ship could be used. One of them was disabled due to maintenance, and the other was unable to start due to an explosion in the cabin.
Sal Mercogliano, an associate professor in the history department of Campbell University and a seaman and firefighter, said in an interview with the American Naval Research Association News Network that when the ship’s fire was extinguished, the ship’s own The fire extinguishing system has a key role.
When the built-in fire extinguishing system cannot be used, it is”almost impossible” to try to extinguish the fire from the outside. He pointed out that the large-diameter fire hoses provided by ordinary fire trucks are only 305 meters long. In addition to water, different types of fire-fighting foam are required for fire fighting.
However, the pier is usually stacked with containers, heavy machinery, and various pipelines. It is very difficult to bring fire fighting equipment close to the fire ship. If you want to extinguish the fire, you need to enter the ship to find the fire point, otherwise the fire is difficult to control.
Sobek also pointed out that when fighting fires, in order to prevent too much water from causing the attack ship to sink, firefighters also need to consider buoyancy and ship balance issues.
Although the US Navy has previously stated that it will keep this attack ship that has been in service for 23 years, US military analysts are not optimistic and speculate that the”Good Man Richard” will eventually be scrapped or sunk.
Even if the”Good Man Richard” survives, it will not be available for a long time.
F-35B deployment plan
Before the fire, the”Good Man Richard” was in the final stage of upgrading. This upgrade cost 250 million US dollars, the purpose is to enable it to carry F-35B fighters.
The F-35B fighter is the only fifth-generation carrier-based fighter aircraft currently in service in the US Navy, and the continued deployment of the F-35B in the Pacific is also one of the important plans of the US Navy.
The US Defense News Network pointed out that the US Navy plans to establish a”permanent” frontier military presence in the so-called”Indo-Pacific” waters, the Middle East and other key areas.
Continuous dispatch of quasi-aircraft carriers carrying the latest fighters in the Pacific is also one of the means by which the US strategically checks and balances China.
In order to realize the plan, the US military needs to send at least four ships, one of which is continuously located in the frontier area.
Bryan Clark, a former Navy official, pointed out that of the 10 amphibious assault ships in the United States, only five can carry F-35B fighters, and one of them is the fired”Good Man Richard”. .
The”Good Man Richard” belongs to the older generation of the”Wasp” class amphibious assault ship. After the upgrade, it is expected to carry 15 F-35Bs. When deployed at the Sasebo base in Japan from 2012 to 2018, the”Good Man Richard” was often active in the South China Sea and surrounding waters.
According to the plan, after completing the upgrade, the”Good Man Richard” will re-enter the rotation at the end of this year.
Jerry Hendrix, a retired naval officer and an analyst of the Terry Moss Group, pointed out that the”Good Man Richard” will be retired in eight years. According to previous plans, the attack In the next eight years, the ship will become the”center gear” deployed by the US Pacific.
Another amphibious assault ship”Tripoli” is scheduled to begin service this month, but it will take two years to upgrade the F-35B.
Hendricks believes that the”Good Man Richard” fire is a”heavy blow” to the US Navy’s deployment plan for the next 10 years.”We can’t wave a magic wand and build a new one immediately. .”