Virginia Payload Module design concepts. Naval Sea Systems Command Graphic
The Navy has selected a design concept to replace its nuclear guided missile submarines (SSGNs), NAVSEA officials told USNI News in an interview last week.
Late last month NAVSEA and the Navy settled on a design concept for the Virginia Payload Module, a $743 million design change in the Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines (SSN-774) that will eventually replace the current Ohio-class SSGNs as part of the Block V iteration of the attack boat. Read More
North Dakota (SSN 784) sits moored at the graving dock of General Dynamics Electric Boat prior to its christening ceremony in Groton, Conn. on Nov. 2, 2013. US Navy Photo
The Navy has christened the service’s eleventh Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine in a Saturday ceremony in Groton, Conn., according to the service. Read More
Virginia-class submarine USS New Hampshire (SSN-778) in 2008. US Navy Photo
The U.S. Navy plans to fund two Fiscal Year 2014 Virginia-class submarines (SSN-774) in its worst-case budget scenario, a senior submarine leader said at a briefing at the Naval Submarine League Symposium in Falls Church, Va. on Wednesday. Read More
From the Congressional Research Service Sept. 27, 2013 Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement report: The Navy is proposing to defer to FY2015 the remaining $952.7 million of the procurement cost of the second boat requested for FY2014. This would divide the procurement funding for the boat between two fiscal years (FY2014 and FY2015)—a funding profile sometimes called split funding. Read More
Two weeks before budget-makers face the fiscal cliff deadline, there continues to be a great deal of uncertainty within the Pentagon. If the sequestration trigger goes into effect, program offices will be forced to cut billions of dollars from line items across the board. But within the Navy’s shipbuilding office, planners are already dealing with cuts that could impact the Virginia-class submarine program. The Navy and Congress have fought hard to institute a buy-rate of two Virginia-class boats a year, laying the groundwork for a five-year buy of the newest fast attack boat, beginning in 2014. But when the Navy delivered its budget request earlier this year, one submarine had been moved from the front of the line to the back so that budget planners could meet spending top lines mandated by last year’s Budget Control Act.
“We did not have sufficient headroom to fully fund the second boat in 2014,” Sean Stackley, the Navy’s top acquisition official, told the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee in April.
With a price tag of more than $2 billion, it’s easy to see how a submarine that’s two years away from construction ended up on the chopping block. But the costs associated with each boat have come down significantly since the program began, and opponents of the cut say removing one boat from the program now could reverse that trend.
USS Hawaii returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a six-month deployment to the western Pacific region In November. U.S. Navy Photo
The Navy estimates that sliding the submarine back to Fiscal Year 2014 from 2018 would reduce the total cost of the other nine boats in the current multiyear deal by roughly $900 million. Cost savings on par with the Navy’s estimate mean building the sub in 2014 would be 35 percent cheaper than doing it four years later. Virginia-class shipbuilders General Dynamic Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding add that the continuity of two boats in 2014 would help maintain stability between the supplier base and the workforce.