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Sequestration Will Not Delay Next Generation Boomer

Artists concept of the Ohio Replacement ballistic nuclear missile submarine. US Navy Photo

Artists concept of the Ohio Replacement ballistic nuclear missile submarine. US Navy Photo

The Ohio Class Replacement nuclear ballistic submarine (SSBN) program will not be delayed due to Navy budget cuts from mandated sequestration budget cuts, program manager Capt. Bill Brougham said Tuesday at a briefing at Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition 2013 at National Harbor, Md.

“I can’t walk around without someone saying sequestration,” Brougham said.
“We’re making a lot of hard decisions. We are managing ourselves through that.
We saw what was coming and we came up with options for what we could do to mitigate the potential budget cuts… We had plenty of margin in the program.”

The 12 next-generation boomers are still on track to begin construction in 2021, though the program will have the responsibility of absorbing cuts, Brougham said.

Sequestration follows an already reduced scale to the program from its initial list of requirements to a submarine that will be singularly focused on nuclear strategic deterrence. Ohio Class Replacement has shed weapons and sensor systems to create a ship more in line with the Pentagon budget realities.

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 in 2010 dollars but with the reduction in capability the Ohio Replacement drove costs down to USD5.4 billion a copy for hulls two through twelve currently, Brougham said. The eventual goal of the reductions is to produce the boats at $4.9 billion a copy in 2010 dollars.

Some reductions will be found in borrowing technology from the USN’s Virginia-class attack submarine program. The Ohio Replacement will field a Large Aperture Bow (LAB) Array designed for the Virginias which will be scaled up to
accommodate the Ohio hull, a Virginia style program instead of a traditional screw and similar combat systems.

The Ohio Replacement program was delayed two years earlier this year as part of the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal. It originally would have begun construction in 2019 with a 2029 deployment. Each boomer will carry 16 Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missiles.