A $700 million minehunting system which has been 16 years in the making has consistently failed to meet the US Navy’s own performance standards, according to a new report.
The Remote Minehunting System (RMS) started development in the late ‘90s, and was meant to provide the Navy with a safe way to navigate minefields. The RMS would be dropped off a ship so it could scan the area to send information of hazards back to ships in real-time, helping the parent ship to avoid or destroy the seaborne mines.
But 16 years and $706 million later, it’s clear that not everything has gone according to plan.
The report, titled “America’s Most Wasted,” spearheaded by Sen John McCain, slammed the RMS project as “the epitome of wasteful acquisitions and spending.” The Navy delivered half the planned number of minehunters at double the projected unit cost.
And to add insult to injury, the devices don’t even work.
McCain’s report goes into detail on how the Navy misused the funds.
Senator John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement that similarly criticized the program’s wastefulness.
“The Navy’s failed Remote Minehunting System is another sad case of wasteful Pentagon spending and the broken defense acquisition process,” he said. “At a time when the defense budget continues to shrink while global threats emerge every day, it is absolutely critical for the Defense Department to stop throwing more taxpayer dollars after bad and start investing in programs that enhance the capability and readiness of our warfighters.”
The use of naval mines stretches back past the American Civil War. However, the US Navy has not suffered from any collisions with mines in recent history. The Navy currently uses a fleet of traditional minesweeper ships as a countermeasure to the threat of seaborne mines.
McCain has always been a critic of wasteful spending in Washington. Recently, McCain has called for an overhaul on how defense contracts are awarded and reviewed.