Breaking:Hull Fatigue Cause of Cheonan Sinking?
Now here is a twist on the South Korean corvette sinking mystery. From the Korea Times:
The Navy uses some vessels that have cracks or other flaws after maintenance, or whose lifespan was exceeded years ago, cable news network YTN reported Monday. The report said that although the military has denied it, a so-called fatigue fracture might be one of the probable causes of the sinking of the frigate Cheonan in the West Sea on March 26.
Citing documents submitted to Rep. Song Young-sun back in 2004, the report said nine Navy vessels that were used in military drills had stress-corrosion fractures or cracks…A 2006 report from the Navy also said about half of its ships were used beyond their lifespan ― 9 percent of them were nine years past their operational life.
The implications of this for the USN, might be a need to replace ships on a regular basis, thinking of the 30 year old Perry class and the Cyclone patrol craft to name a few, the latter entering its 3rd decade in service. It is one thing to keep a supercarrier in service for 40-50 years (how is that working out btw?), put a light-weight escort is meant to use and then replace quickly, especially if the price is right.