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Retro Corvette-USS Princeton PG-13

June 17, 2009

USS_Princeton_(PG-13)We travel back to the day’s of the old steam gunboats at the turn of the century. An interesting article at the Naval Warfare blog, which details the vital career of the 1103 ton Princeton, performing a function which modern corvettes and patrol boats fill today:

Ships like Princeton were considered obsolete for fleet operations when they were built. By the time Princeton was commissioned in 1898, steel warships had taken over from wooden and iron warships in most navies around the world. But composite gunboats, ships made out of both wood and steel, still had a place in the US Navy at the turn of the century. These modestly priced warships were just as capable of “showing the flag” and bringing a substantial amount of firepower to bear as their modern (and more expensive) all-steel counterparts. Their heavy use of sail power gave them great range and made them economical, since their steam engines were not used as much and, therefore, consumed less coal. These ships also were cheap and easy to maintain compared to steel warships. Finally, even after being replaced by all-steel gunboats, these composite vessels still were able to make a valuable contribution as training ships. Princeton proved that sometimes the most modern and expensive warships are not always needed for the everyday tasks a major navy has to perform.

We love the quotes “still had a place in the US Navy”, “capable of “showing the flag””, “bringing a substantial amount of firepower to bear”, and “cheap and easy to maintain”. All these qualities we insist that modern 1000 ton corvette could perform in the US Navy, instead of Giant Aegis warships and supercarriers, all at a considerable savings to the taxpayer as well as less a drain on limited shipbuilding funds for the Navy. And as proved by the USS Princeton, this is neither a novel nor untried proposal in our naval history.

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