U.S. made parts in this Virginia-class submarine could be replaced by foreign components.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert has long warned of a decline in U.S. companies that provide critical components to the nation’s most technologically sophisticated hardware: nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.
“I worry about the industrial base,” Greenert said at the Credit Suisse/McAllese Defense Programs Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 12. “Ninety percent of the industry that builds our nuclear components is single source. . . . It’s the second or third tier. It’s ‘Bob’s Nuclear Valve Shop.’” Read More
Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee (SSBN-734). US Navy Photo
The Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan warns Congress unless the Pentagon can find more money to complete the Navy’s planned 12 new Ohio-class Replacement ballistic missile submarines the service will be unable to meet its future obligations. Read More
The complete Fiscal Year 2014 30-year U.S. Navy shipbuilding plan.
The report, approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, was issued to Congress May 10, 2013. Read More
An undated artist’s rendering of the Ohio Replacement. Naval Sea Systems Command
The Navy’s top acquisition official told the Senate Armed Services Committee Seapower Subcommittee that talks with the Defense Department “have not progressed” in putting the Ohio-class ballistic-missile replacement program into a special National Capital Ships Account.
Testifying on 8 May, Sean Stackley said the long-range impact of keeping the 12 Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines in the Navy’s shipbuilding account means “we will not be able to hit the numbers” to build other ships. Read More
USS Maryland (SSBN-738) transits the Saint Marys River.
“The most daunting challenge” facing the Navy’s newly released shipbuilding plan is paying for the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine replacement when it is expected to take $100 billion—over 12 to 15 years—from that account, the service’s top acquisition official said. Read More
Adm. Jonathan Greenert testifies before the Senate on the Navy’s budget on Wednesday. US Navy Photo
The Chief of Naval Operations said the Ohio-class replacement is his “number one program of concern,” although it remains “on track with all the R&D” to begin construction in 2021, with delivery expected in 2029.
Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee on 24 April, Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus expressed concern about its cost, the impact of sequestration on the program and the impact of building it on the rest of the shipbuilding program.
Mabus said, “Sequestration holds the potential to impact this in a significant way.” Read More
The 1977 flight test of an early Trident missile. US Air Force Photo
When the U.S. Navy’s new SSBN (X) conducts its first patrol in 2031 it will be an entirely new vessel, but the boat will initially rely on life-extended 1990s vintage Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to perform its nuclear deterrence mission. The Navy currently expects to keep the D5 in service into the 2040s, after which it may replace the long-serving weapon with a new missile. Read More
From the March, 27 2013 Congressional Research Service report:
The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget requests $564.9 million for continued research and development work on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohio- class SSBNs. The Ohio replacement program is also known as the SSBN(X) program. Read More
The following is an excerpt from a January interview with Sean Stackley on shipbuilding, which will appear in the February 2013 issue of Proceedings.
The U.S. Navy has released few details of its planned Ohio-class replacement program. The class of 12 nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) will replace the 14 Ohio-class SSBNs currently on patrol starting in the early 2030s and continue in service into the 2080s. The boat is among the most expensive Navy shipbuilding programs and has been part of a larger Pentagon drive to reduce cost by scaling down the capability of the boat.
The reductions scale back from the initial Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for the program, then dubbed SSBN(X), conducted by NAVSEA in 2009. The initial AoA called for a boat that would have cost $6 to $7 billion but with the reduction in capability the Ohio Replacement (OR) drove costs down to $5.6 billion a copy. The scope of reductions from the AoA is unclear as the Navy never publically disclosed the initial capability goals of the program. The eventual goal of the reductions is to produce the boats at $4.9 billion each.