US losing Navy tech lead because of electrical engineering, project management and corruption problems

The US is losing its naval military technology lead because of inadequate electrical engineering and problems with large project management and political and industrial corruption.

The political and industrial corruption aspect is sen in the high cost of
* the Zumwalt destroyer (nearly $8 billion a piece -4 times more than the Burke destroyer)
* Gerald Ford aircraft carrier ($13-14 billion)
* New submarines ($8 billion versus $2 billion for Ohio subs)

There are cost-plus contracts that do not require businesses to deliver projects for a reasonable pre-negotiated price.

There is also the inefficient spreading of the work into dozens of states to ensure congressmen and senators vote in favor of jobs in their state.

There is also some overall labor, legal and other problems in the US that has driven massive delays and massive cost increases for bridges, skyscrapers, rail and other projects.

The US also has had technical and engineering and electrical engineering problems with the Zumwalt and the Gerald Ford.

The engineering and project failures are not isolated to the Zumwalt destroyer.

Costlier to build under changing regulations

The historical record for American nuclear costs shows a definite spike around one event in particular: the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island. That crisis spurred a wave of new safety regulations, as it should have. Changes had a big impact on construction costs: Reactors already being built to one set of specifications had to be halted and finished according to new protocols.

There are analysis of the reasons that US is spending $10-20 billion to build each nuclear reactor compared to $2-4 billion for China and South Korea.

Zumwalt cost overruns – Prove you can build your new technology first and then build a system to integrate

The Zumwalt had multiple companies each with their own contracts to deliver to the Navy. Delivery delays lead to schedule slippage>A and cost increases. There were also hundreds of “change orders” that are typical of the process when a new class of warships is assembled for the first time — more in this case, though, because items like an “integrated power system” and “total ship computing environment” had never been installed on a surface combatant before.

China has built their first electromagnetic launchers on land and working through issues on land before starting construction of their ships.