USS Boxer

Navy Orders “Deep Dive” Into Readiness After Massive Ship Deployment Delay

DCNF(DCNF)—The Navy’s top officer ordered a “deep dive” investigation into readiness and maintenance issues after one amphibious assault vessel, the USS Boxer, deployed after months of delay, according to Military.com.

The Boxer carries fighter aircraft and Marines and serves as the flagship of its designated combat unit known as an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), supporting the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy forces across the globe. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti said she directed senior officers in February to do an initial investigation into the delays that could provide lessons for the rest of the amphibious fleet, Military.com reported.

“I think there’s some good lessons learned with Boxer,” Franchetti said Monday during the Navy’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference, Military.com reported. “Overall, we’re going to learn a lot through this deep dive, where we can really understand what are the challenges with amphib readiness.”

Franchetti said she expects the three-star admirals working in the Navy’s operations and plans and policy offices who are conducting the investigation to return with preliminary recommendations “in the May timeframe, and that will start to outline the shape of the the deep dive going forward.” according to Military.com.

The Boxer set out from San Diego to join the the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit on April 1, months behind schedule. The rapid-response ship was reportedly slated to deploy in late 2023 but did not become seaworthy until August, after multiple engineering mishaps — which an investigation ordered by a higher-level commander determined resulted from complacency among the ship’s leadership and engineering team — apparently held up its deployment.

Obstacles in training Marines on the amphibious combat vehicle, set to deploy on the Boxer ARG, also contributed to the delay, according to USNI News.

Hang-ups encountered during the process of retrofitting the 30-year-old vessel’s flight deck to accommodate the service’s new F-35B Lighting II fighter jet could have further extended the Boxer’s time in port, Franchetti explained.

“That’s taking time when they go in for their upgrades, and that’s taking a little bit longer than expected,” she said, according to the outlet. “We’re seeing some potential delays on Wasp” — a ship in the same class as the Boxer — “We’re trying to look ahead to make sure that we can, I want to say … nip this in the bud.”

The Boxer last deployed in 2019 before undergoing a $200 million overhaul beginning in 2020. After the upgrades ended in 2022, the Boxer was stuck in port for still undisclosed reasons before putting to sea again in August, according to Military.com.

Since then, the Boxer has put to sea every month except February since the fall of 2023, Boxer Commanding Officer Capt. Brian Holmes said in a March 20 press release. At the time it appeared that multiple engineering breakdowns were finally resolved and new leadership took over the vessel in September.

The Navy did not immediately answer the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for more details about the probe.

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