What does it take to maintain the US Navy's mothball fleet

Feb 14, 2011
Michael, you might know this- How many men and how much $$$ are needed to maintain the ships in the US Navy's mothball fleet?
What does the maitenence cost annually? As I understand it many of those ships are on standby, and are supposed to be ready for reactivation in case of war.....

Have they fitted these ships with modern computer components? I seem to recall during the 1980s, when the USS Wisconsin was temporarily reactivated, a problem faced was the electronics on board were woefully obsolete...

Are the ships in the mothball fleet kept as clean and polished as active duty ships, (such as being repainted, and kept spit and polished)- or are the ships alowed to rust and decay? No doubt the pumps are in constant use lest one of the ships floods to the point of sinking.......

I wonder if it financially viable to maintain these ships, or if it would be best to sell them....
I assume a good portion of the Navy budget goes to the upkeep of the 'mothball fleet'.
How many ships in the fleet?

I wonder if the US Airforce has its own 'mothball fleet' of obsolete planes, and the army a 'mothball fleet' of obsolete jeeps and tanks? I have a hunch much of the obsolete Army wear has been sold off to the civilain sector, hence all the Army surplus stores..

If the US wants the most state of the art Navy on earth, it might be high time to liquidate the entire mothball fleet, and replace such with modern state of the art ships...
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
I don't have any cost figures at hand but what "Mothballing" a ship involves is in sealing her up for long term preservation and maintaining her in such a condition so she can be restored to service in a reasonable amount of time. The process of sealing the vessel up is pretty long and involved but what happens is the removal of any liquids and fuels, sealing up spaces, closing off and sealing any exrerior vents, sectioning the ship off and having dehumidifyers installed which keep the humidity level of recirculated air at 25%. Cathodic protection is applied so the hull doesn't corrode away,and alarms are installed to warn the people who run the inactive ships maintainance facility if there's a fire or flooding aboard. The ships are not manned or crewed in any way.

Ships that are mothballed are classed in three different maintainance catagories with Maintenance Category B recieving the highest degree of maintainance and preservation. C is a lower catagory with L applied to vessels retained only as logistical support assets and X applied to vessels reciving no maintainace and upkeep at all beyond what's necessery for basic security and loss prevention. That is to say, they keep it from sinking at the pier long enough for it to be scrapped.

If you want a list of the ships retained by the Navy or the MARAD, go to http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/s_b_stat.htm and follow the links. At present, only 13 ships are retained in catagory B reserve as mobilization assets.

>>If the US wants the most state of the art Navy on earth, it might be high time to liquidate the entire mothball fleet, and replace such with modern state of the art ships...<<

If it's modern and state of the art, there's no reason to lay a vessel up beyond purely economic considerations in the first place. It's well to keep in mind that a mothball fleet may well be pointless otherwise. As rapidly as events unfold these days, any war is going to be very much a "come as you are" sort of affair. By the time any of these ships could be restored to service...and such a refit typically takes up to a year....the war will be over.

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