Paul from Australia writes in with a bold prediction of his own:
"I predict the demise of mono hull Naval vessels over the next couple of decades, except for very large sizes."
He also says: "The GD vessel hull design is Australian (Austal) where of course the fastest, largest aluminium vessels are designed and built."
Thanks Paul. But count me as a sceptic on the aluminum hull of the General Dynamics candidate for the Littoral Combat Ship program. I say this because the US Navy and the US naval shipbuilding industry have little-to-no experience with aluminum in ship construction. Given the recent trouble with basic steel construction on naval ships, I really do wonder how ready they are to adapt to a new raw material. I’m also wondering if the cost of aluminum must have escalated dramatically over the cost of steel over the last few years, although I don’t have any data to support that speculation.