Home » News & Analysis » Moran: Navy Needs As Much As $150B Extra to ‘Jump-Start’ Path to 355 Ships; Would Buy Mostly DDGs, SSNs, Carriers


Moran: Navy Needs As Much As $150B Extra to ‘Jump-Start’ Path to 355 Ships; Would Buy Mostly DDGs, SSNs, Carriers

Newport News Shipbuilding placed a 900-ton superlift into dry dock, continuing construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). Nearly 90 lifts have been placed in the dock and joined together since the ship’s keel was laid in August 2015. Newport News Shipbuilding photo.

This post has been updated to include additional information from the Navy.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Navy needs potentially as much as $150 billion over current budget plans to “jump-start” shipbuilding and get on a trajectory for a 355-ship fleet, the vice chief of naval operations said on Wednesday. 

The money would add about 30 ships to the fleet beyond current plans, Adm. Bill Moran said.

The exact size of the future fleet doesn’t matter right now, but rather the Navy just needs to start boosting its investment in shipbuilding quickly – which means buying many more Virginia-class attack submarines, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ford-class aircraft carriers in the next few years, he said.

“I’m not here to argue that 355 or 350 is the right number. I’m here to argue that we need to get on that trajectory as fast as we can. And as time goes on you start to figure out whether that number is still valid – 10 years from now, 20 years from now 355 may not be the number,” Moran said today at the annual McAleese/Credit Suisse “Defense Programs” event.
“Our number, give or take, to get to 355, or just to get started in the first seven years, is $150 billion. That’s a lot of money.”

Moran told USNI News following his remarks that dollar figure wasn’t exact but was based on the Navy’s best guess for how much it would cost to immediately begin a fleet buildup. A Navy official told USNI News later that one internal Navy estimate put the cost at about $80 billion over the seven years, whereas a Congressional Research Service estimate was closer to $150 billion.

“When you look at the number that started our 355 trajectory, to jump-start it – in order to jump-start it we think we need to build an additional 29 or 30 ships in the first seven years,” he said.
“When you do all that math, it’s a lot of money that we don’t have. But we were asked to deliver on that, so we’ve passed along what we think it would take. And obviously, any number you give in this environment is going to be sticker shock. So that’s why I say don’t take me literally, all it is is a math equation right now.”

Those 30 ships would mostly come from three ship classes in serial production today.

The Virginia-class submarine Minnesota (SSN-783) is “pressure hull complete,” signifying that all of the submarine’s hull sections have been joined to form a single, watertight unit. Newport News Shipbuilding photo.

“We definitely wanted to go after SSNs, DDGs and carriers, to get carriers from a five-year center to a four-year center and even looked at a three-year option. So the numbers I will give to you are reflective of those three priorities, because those are the big impacters in any competition at sea,” he told USNI News.
“Amphibs come later, but I’m talking about initial, what are we building that we can stamp out that are good. We know how to build Virginia-class, we know how to build DDGs.”

Many in the Navy and industry had believed amphibious ships – particularly the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD-17) or the upcoming LX(R) derivative of the LPD design – would be part of the initial ship buildup. Moran, though, said the Navy’s recently drafted plan to get on the 355-ship trajectory “feathered in LX(R)” in later years.

USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115) before the christening ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine on Oct. 31, 2015. US Marine Corps Photo

Moran said during his presentation that the Navy is currently on track to hit 310 ships – if the Fiscal Year 2017 spending bill is passed by Congress this spring after an extended continuing resolution, the Navy would finish buying the last ships that will eventually push it to 310. Without this quick ramp-up of shipbuilding, though, the Navy won’t just fail to reach 355 ships but will actually slip back below 300 ships, he said. Dozens of ships built during the Reagan-era buildup are headed for decommissioning in the 2020s and the Navy needs to act quickly to either replace them at pace and stay around 310, or ramp up even faster to grow the fleet.

The vice chief told reporters that the plan for a 355-trajectory includes building more destroyers, building carriers faster, and maintaining two SSNs a year even as the new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine begins production. A Columbia-class SSBN is the equivalent of about two SSNs, meaning the submarine industrial base would see about double the workload in any given year under this plan.

Like What You've Been Reading? Get Proceedings Today
Categories: News & Analysis
Megan Eckstein

About Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein is a staff writer for USNI News. She previously covered Congress for Defense Daily and the U.S. surface navy and U.S. amphibious operations as an associate editor for Inside the Navy.

  • Curtis Conway

    “…the Navy just needs to start boosting its investment in shipbuilding quickly – which means buying many more Virginia-class attack submarines, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ford-class aircraft carriers…”
    It is my opinion that building two (2) all-ocean, multi-warfare, very capable frigates for the cost of one (1) DDG-51 for the same dollars, will provide more coverage faster, more flexibility in the fleet, and provide the opportunity to introduce Directed Energy Weapons for the very first time, from the keel up, and serve the US Navy, and this nation, well. It provides more jobs in different places as well. The 50+ FFG-7 OHPs withdrawn from service should be replaced, and in this new world we now live in, these platforms MUST be more capable (ASCM & TBM defense).

    To mitigate CVN sticker shock, and stretch our treasure, we can build some smaller platforms of the USS America (LHA-6) Class to fill in where a full Carrier Strike Group is not needed. In this GWOT environment we now find ourselves, this provides options that saves money and resources by sending a better match for the mission set required. The US Navy can adopt some F-35B Lightening IIs, or just restore the Marine Corp’s original plan before they were required to buy F-35Cs.

    The new US Coast Guard Icebreakers should participate in this activity as well in the Arctic where specific kinds of hulls (ice-hardened) are required. Perhaps our new frigates should be able to operate in this region as well. That would be part of the case to make the new frigates, or any ship for the Arctic, to have Directed Energy Weapons and Passive Sensor Combat System, that also incorporates other standard elements (non-rotating 3D AESA Radar, sonar, Mk41 VLS, large caliber gun for the HVPs).

    A VSTOL/STOVL AEW&C aircraft, which could operate off of any US Navy flight deck, would be a real game changer.

    More SSNs is always a good idea.

    • Rocco

      Agreed. I can’t see why the Navy can’t fly the B model F-35??. See my post 2 above. I read that the Coast Guard defense cutters are being cut short!! Of all things.

      • Curtis Conway

        Originally the plan was to replace the High Endurance Cutters with just eight (8) Legend Class NSCs, and Congress added a ninth. However, that is well short of all the Cutters that pull that mission set world wide, and short of the 12 Hamilton Class coming out of service. The Offshore Patrol Cutters are planned to be a gap filler here and provide capability along the coast and littoral areas. However, the OPC is going to be a stretch for Blue Water operations for extended periods of time. This is where more NSCs are needed, particularly if the US Coast Guard picks up more tasking in the Arctic where two Hamilton Class have been stationed in the past, and the plan was to reduce that to one Legend Class in the future, all necessitated by budget priorities not mission requirements.

        This is the area a businessman would make the case for a common craft, perhaps equipped differently for mission accomplishment, but providing a common HM&E logistics train for years down the road that is predictable and supportable. The NSC hull is that element for success in this model. It just needs upgraded HM&E to support energy hungry weapon systems coming on line in the near future, and some are here today (150 Kw Laser, and EMRG right around the corner).

        • Rocco

          Typical short sighted ness

          • Rocco

            Not you sir lol

      • Curtis Conway

        The F-35C would make a great fighter for the air force the its longer legs (range). It just doesn’t have an internal gun, and the politicians will get our crews killed by not allowing BVR destruction of the adversary, and once your in the fur ball . . . well, nothing outruns a bullet, if you have them to spit. The imposed ROE is responsible for many deaths in our current methodology of decision making. Hopefully the new administration will change this policy.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Funny. No mention of more LCS in the VCNOs speech. DDGs, CVNs and SSNs.

    One would think the 350+ fleet was “all about more numbers” the VCNO would push to build more LCS.

    Or maybe he recognizes capability actually matters. And LCS has none.

    • Gregory Dittman

      Frigates were part of the various world navies as non combat ships against other states. In WW2 they were used to gain weather information and as convoy ships between California and Hawaii. They are still useful to hunt down pirates, smugglers and terrorists in the Mediterranean sea, the Indian ocean, the U.S.’s Southern boarder and around the various islands in the Pacific Ocean. They can also be used to provide humanitarian aid do rescue missions, hunt subs, destroy sea mines. Right now the U.S. is using destroyers and amphibious assault ships to do those missions.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Yes. I wholeheartedly agree that the frigate mission is important, and that we need more frigates.

        The core problem is LCS will make a very poor frigate. It possesses none of the desired capabilities and many incorrectable liabilities.

        And it’s damn expensive in terms of what it can actually do.

        • Holdfast_II

          Which is why we’re buying Burke DDGs to fill the frigate slot. Pricey but at least they are good, proven ships.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Agree 100%. The unfortunate thing is those DDGs are probably going to have to do the jobs that LCS cannot.

          • Curtis Conway

            So . . . were they worth the cost and two decades of resources and development time, planning and building for something that just changed right in front of us, and LCS is inappropriate for (Blue Water Operations against a peer/near peer adversary)?

          • Rocco

            Kudos!

          • PolicyWonk

            Indeed – LCS isn’t even included in the list even though we know how to build them. We already know its many deficiencies (regardless of class), as do those who’ve been ordered to man them (probably without hazardous duty pay that was earned by PT boat crews).

            Inappropriate for Blue Water Operations? Check! Let us not forget that its also inappropriate for LITTORAL operations as well: making it the most expensive/useless class of ships in the inventory.

            Might’ve someone had a change of heart w/r/t LCS?

            We can only hope.

          • Duane

            No as I wrote above – we don’t need more LCS to engage the “near peer” navies, specifically China and Russia, which is the entire point of the proposed – and which will never materialize – massive increase in the fleet. The littorals aren’t expanding, but the notion of fighting blue water navies has taken on more urgency with the buildup of Russian and Chinese fleets.

            The Navy is not proposing an across the board increase the number of all ship types – just the ones specified in this article.

          • PolicyWonk

            Its a good thing we don’t need LCS to engage “near-peer” navies, because even LCS crews have posted here and elsewhere, their acute awareness that similar sized ships are vastly more heavily armed and protected. LCS is a loser by any reasonable measure.

            The navy wants and needs frigates – this is clear. It also needs a littoral combat platform – that is also clear.

            Yet we have neither, what we do have is laughably inadequate, and even after shafting the taxpayers into forking over $36B for the so-called LCS, still won’t have or be any closer to.

            Blue water operations aren’t by any stretch of the imagination the only place we’re involved, despite the big blue water battle being the wet dream of most of our admirals. We have the problems we have to address in the Middle East, Med, and S. China sea that we ARE involved with, that are heavy in the littorals, and will be for the foreseeable future.

            We ignore these at our peril.

          • Duane

            You’re just full of of the brown stuff here, dude, as in all your completely untrue statements here and other threads. You’re totally impervious to facts, you just make up your own alternative facts and stamp your feet like an angry little toddler. Sorry, you don’t convince anyone with your antics.

            There are no current LCS crewmembers posting comments here in USNI that I have ever read that state that the ship stinks. They are too busy doing their duty and serving their country, unlike you.

          • PolicyWonk

            Thanks for your comment – but you’ve been stomped/debunked so many times that you’re credibility is well below zero.

            You can pretend you have a clue on other forums where the posters don’t know better.

            This isn’t one of them.

          • Duane

            Go back and pop open your vodka bottle again, Vasily or Vladimir or whatever your real Russian name is.

            Putin may believe that he can hack elections … but his alternative facts campaign has no legs.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            What color is the sky in your world?

          • Duane

            Wrong wrong wrong again … you stand discredited by actual verifiable facts. your stupid assertions notwithstanding any scrutiny at all.

            The LCS is equipped with the most powerful anti-ship missiles in the world – from the Harpoon to the NSM and the Navy just announced it’s also fitting the LRASM – with its advanced seeker, 350 nm range, and 1,000 pound warhead to the same deck launchers it already has mounted and tested on both variants of the LCS. The anti-air weapon on the LCS since 2008 is the SeaRam – the same exact anti-air weapon installed on all of our CVNs, and which the Navy is now beginning to install on its destroyers too. The Hellfire and the 57mm gun, along with the twin 30mms and quad 50 cals constitute the most capable anti-small boat swarm system afloat on any ship in the world. These are all verifiable facts.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            No, I do not think it was worth it.

            The nearly twenty years we’ve spent developing LCS have yielded an odd hermaphrodite of a ship that is perfectly unsuited to modern naval warfare.

            It is too expensive to risk as an MCM vessel. Far too short legged for patrol duties. And far too undercapable to be a true frigate.

            What is worse – we are spending an inordinate amount of time and intellectual resources trying to make it into a frigate.

          • Rocco

            Agreed!!

          • Duane

            Only in your mind is the LCS being made into a frigate. The LCS is not a frigate, and a frigate is not an LCS. They have completely different mission sets and platform requirements. There is a process underway to see if it makes sense to build a frigate on the basic hullform of one of the two LCS classes. But to me that is a fools errand. Build a frigate to be a frigate, from the keel up. It makes no more sense to convert a LCS hull into a frigate than it does to convert a Virginia class SSN into a destroyer.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Duane, I am in agreement. LCS will make a very poor frigate.

            “There is a process underway to see if it makes sense to build a frigate on the basic hullform of one of the two LCS classes.”

            ASN-RDA Stackley testified to Congress on December 2016 the Navy’s intent to buy a dozen upgraded LCS “frigates”. Thankfully: that idea was completely ridiculed shot down by Congress.

          • Duane

            Yup … and frigates and destroyers make very poor littoral combat ships … too deep draft, too slow, insufficient small boat swarm defenses, and not set up for Special Ops insertions. It is for those reasons and missions that the Navy developed the LCS.

            It has NEVER been “LCS vs. frigate” … it was actually “destroyer vs. frigate”, because the latter is simply a smaller less capable version of the former and they do essentially the same things in the same operating areas of the blue waters.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I didn’t say it was destroyers versus frigates.

            The supposed justification for LCS has changed repeatedly over it’s lifetime as the CONOPS proved unworkable.

            LCS is supposed to be an MCM. Yet it’s far more expensive than the Avenger MCMs it will (supposably) replace.

            Makes zero sense.

          • Rocco

            The national cutter would be able to perform all that & not break!!

          • Duane

            Sorry, the USCG National Security Cutter is a bluewater ship design, is totally unsuited to littoral ops. In fact the USCG developed it as part of their “Integrated Deepwater System Program”.

            The cutter carries a draft of 22.5 ft – almost 10 feet more than a Freedom class LCS. It’s also slow – top speed of only 28 knots vs. 44 knots for the LCS. And it’s actually armed much lighter than the LCS – the same 57mm Bofors gun, but no 30mms, only 2 50 cals vs. 4 on the LCS, and no ASM launchers – neither the vertical Hellfire launcher or an angled deck launcher for Harpoon and NSM fires as on the LCS. Oh, and the cutter also costs more than the LCS to buy – the latest order was for$486M. About the only advantage the cutter has is longer legs, with up to 12,000 nm range … but that is not an issue for littoral ops.

          • Rocco

            All the small things could be changed. It doesn’t break. Ask shipfixer the same argument.

          • Duane

            You cant fix the draft or speed issue without a clean sheet redesign. The cutter was never designed to be a littoral combat ship – it was designed to serve as a bluewater cutter that could be converted to Navy use in an extended naval war … in other words, the cutter could work as a frigate, if it were up-armed the same way that the LCS is already up-armed to equal any frigate in the world in offensive power, while retaining its unique abilities to operate in the littoral and fend off small boat swarms, which a frigate or destroyer cannot do.

          • Rocco

            Or ask Curtis Conway.

          • Duane

            Not in the least – with a 22.5 ft draft and slow speed it would be incapable of operating close in shore, period.

          • Rocco

            In my opinion the LCS is an overrated Corvette!!

          • Duane

            An LCS is nothing like a corvette. Corvettes are very small, cheap, slow ASW vessels. They were produced in very large numbers during the 20th century naval wars because they were cheap and could provide decent escort screens for large North Atlantic convoys. There is no such need today for such a vessel, but a few navies use them again because they are so cheap, if not capable. Destroyer were by far the preferred small surface combatants of the second World War -but they were much more expensive to build and required much larger crews. But if you really wanted to hunt and kill submarines, destroyers were the ticket.

            LCS are the fastest ship sized vessels in the world, but configured for shallow water ops. They are perfectly armed to deal with coastal surface threats, particularly the small boat swarms that threaten the littoral areas of Persian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean. When outfitted with the ASW modules by next year, they’ll become critical in fighting the masses of cheap, low performance diesel boats in the littorals in places like the fringes of South China Sea, Yellow Sea, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf area as deployed by Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            The rest of the world defines corvettes very differently from small, cheap, slow ASW vessels. They are essentially small multimssion ships.

            Fighting a small boat swarm with any ship is simply idiotic. Employing TACAIR or helos make far more sense.

            As for LCS being “perfectly configured for coastal surface threats”, the proliferation of coastal defense missiles calls into question whether an LCS would even be sent into the littorals. It has very limited air defense capability.

            You are also out of touch when it comes to ASW. Modern diesel boats are hardly low performance and often give SSNs a run for their money.

          • Duane

            You’re completely wrong in every … single … word … you … write … as always. You’ve repeatedly demonstrated your utter ignorance of submarine warfare here … ditto with littoral warfare. You are simply a dedicated and stupid troll. Take your trolling schtick to a website not dedicated to stupid trolls like you.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Duane. You do realize that virtually no one on this site takes you seriously anymore?

            Reason 1. Every “fact” you’ve put forward has been dismissed. Easily.

            Reason 2. Your odd diatribes on Russia make you sound like a total crazy person. Or more so.

            Go home. Take your meds. Read. Or at least pretend to.

          • Rocco

            Yes that’s why I said overrated!! That’s why they should be cheap!! We don’t need a yuppie expensive sea going Ferrari. We need FFG-7 Perry class back that doesn’t break & hard to sink! I’ve been in one back in the day!

          • Duane

            No again… there is nothing “yuppie” about an LCS – where the heck did you ever get that idea from?

            The FFGs cannot perform in the littoral … too large, too deep draft, too slow, not equipped to fend off small boat swarms, nor to deploy special forces. An FFG is just a smaller cheaper version of a DDG, it was never a littoral combat ship. Frigates and LCS are not interchangeable.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Duane, according to the CNO, the LCS was never intended to enter the LITTORALS and engage in COMBAT!

            So was the LCS ever actually a littoral combat ship? I guess it might be considered a SHIP if/when it stops breaking down!

          • PolicyWonk

            Most corvettes of today are better armed…

            And cost less.

          • old guy

            Corvette, Thunderbird, Stealth, who cares.

          • old guy

            We do too much artificial designation of new ships to old class names. I this case I would classify
            LCS as the Lousy Classless Ship.

          • Duane

            Sorry, not “two decades of development” … the LCS program began development in 2003, with the first prototypes coming off the ways in 2008. The seaframes were fully developed years ago, and have been for several years as full rate production is underway. The first overseas deployment of an Independence class ship began last year. The SuW and ASW mission modules are nearly completed, with IOC to take place this year and next for the two modules (the SuW finally tested out the final component, the vertical launchers for the Hellfires, last month). The MCM package has been delayed til 2020 because the Navy doesn’t need it until then.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            No, Duane.

            The LCS concept and “analysis” (big air quotes) dates back to 2001.

            It is now 2017 and LCS is only partially capable in one of three mission areas (SUW).The MCM module will not IOC until 2020. So yes. It will be almost 20 years.

            Debunking you is so easy. It’s not even entertaining anymore.

          • Duane

            no program funding until 2003, not 2001. The Navy (and the other services) engages in blue sky planning for all systems many years before they can convince Congress to approve program funding.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            No, Duane. The establishment of the LCS program was announced November 1, 2001 as part of the now-defunct Future Surface Combatant program.

            Source for below is Congressional Research Service (CRS):

            “On November 1, 2001, the Navy announced that it was launching a Future Surface Combatant Program aimed at acquiring a family of next-generation surface combatants. This new family of surface combatants, the Navy stated, would include three new classes of ships: a destroyer called the DD(X)—later redesignated the DDG-1000—for the precision long-range strike and naval gunfire mission; a cruiser called the CG(X) for the air defense and ballistic missile mission, and a smaller combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to counter submarines, small surface attack craft, and mines in heavily contested littoral (near-shore) areas. The DDG-1000 was truncated to a total of three ships in 2009, and the CG(X) program was terminated in 2010.”

          • Duane

            And the MCM was delayed until 2020 because the Navy doesn’t need it now. No rush when the need does not yet exist. The primary missions for the LCS were always SuW and ASW.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            No, Duane. Source for the quote below is the US Navy Fact File on LCS:

            “The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile and networked surface combatant, optimized for operating in the littorals. The primary missions for the LCS include countering diesel submarine threats, littoral mine threats and surface threats, such as small surface craft attacks, to assure maritime access for joint forces.”

          • Rocco

            That’s a laugh!!!🤐

          • PolicyWonk

            Correct: LCS began as the “street fighter” concept which was developed by the ONR in 2001. It was supposed to be a small, heavily armed combatant designed to fight and prevail in the littorals, at about $90M/sea-frame.

            Contrast this to the so-called “littoral combat ship”, that former CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert admitted in an interview on Breaking Defense, was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”.

            LCS costs the taxpayers over four TIMES the initial projected price (not counting the “mission package”), is many times larger than it was supposed to be, isn’t designed for combat – and has such small room for growth that even the frigate variant would only represent a “marginal” improvement.

            Added bonus: LCS, when you include the mission package, costs as much as our allies high-end frigates – yet garners us NONE of the benefits.

          • Rocco

            Kudos

          • old guy

            No, “street fighter” was based on the 1978 SEA MOD concept, by NAVSEA 003/03R. It was to be reconfigurable in 10 weeks due to its use of standard, container adapted, operating/ combat systems. It got lost in translation. German’s “MEKO” used some of its concepts

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            The LCS concept had already drifted a long way from Street Fighter by 2001.

            Street Fighter was intended to displace under 1,000 tons, be relatively cheap, and single-mission focused on SUW.

          • Curtis Conway

            Some of the initial discussions about aborting US Navy Regs on survivability, and building something light and fast was going on before I left the service in 1997, so you can quote all the dates in the record you want, but that actually means nothing. The budget crunch has been coming for decades, and this was part of the equation to build cheaper vessels to fill in for the FFG-7s when they were removed from service. Not all of which have turned into artificial reefs somewhere. Many are serving in foreign navies, particularly Taiwan.

          • Rocco

            One in Pakistan

          • old guy

            I depend on folks like you and Curtis to keep up to the latest. You still have not examined and commented on my opposition to LCS and replacement with my old SEAMOD concept, of 1078, which it was supposed to emulate. Why?

          • Duane

            The LCS is a full production program now on its way to 40 or more hulls, so there is not much point to commenting on what might have been but isn’t.

          • Rocco

            Agreed

        • Duane

          No – the LCS is literally the cheapest small surface combatant made today, far cheaper, by several hundreds of millions, than any new construction “frigates” today. Less than $420M per ship including the average priced mission modules, while typical frigates like the German F-125 class are coming off the ways today at $800-900M or higher. Yet the LCS has every bit as much firepower as the F-125 with its new proven deck mount ASM launchers the Navy tested successfully last year … and the LCS is far more capable than any frigate in taking on small boat swarms with its far more rapidly fired 57mm gun and its array of Hellfire missiles.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Duane, the Navy would not even tell GAO what an LCS currently costs.

            So I somehow doubt you know!

          • Duane

            The contract delivery price for the LM version of LCS is a firm fixed $348M per seaframe. The mission modules are not an LM product, but the GAO reported in 2016 that as of last year, the mission modules average across all types $67M, with the most common being the SuW and ASW being well under the $67M average, and the MCM above the average. So the cost with mission modules for most LCS (except for the MCM equipped hulls) will be less than $400M total. Contract pricing – it’s not a secret or hidden.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            No. We simply do not know what LCS will ultimately cost the Navy and taxpayer..

            The price you quote doesn’t include rework costs. For instance: the required reworks after shock-tests which cost $115 million.

            As for mission modules: the Navy has no idea what the MCM module will cost or how many it will buy!

            I could go on and on….

          • old guy

            Right on. We would be much better of with an upgraded FFG-7 design, or, maybe, just upgrade the retired Perrys.

          • Duane

            Wrong in 100% of what you write, again, as always.

            The Navy knows what the mission modules cost – they report the numbers to Congress every single year – I quoted the Navy’s last report. You know, as in “facts” not made up bullsh*t as you repeatedly fling at the wall and pretend that some of it sticks.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Duane, you cannot even read a GAO report properly.

            March 2016 GAO report states the total estimated procurement cost of 64 LCS mission packages is $6.9 billion, or an average of about $108 million per package. Not $67 million!

            You’ll also note the Navy’s cost estimates for the mission packages have been climbing year after year – while the capability delivered has been dramatically downscaled.

            I also question how the Navy could know what the MCM package will cost if they don’t know what technologies it will have – or how many it will buy!

          • old guy

            Not so. EVERY ship of a class costs more than its predecessor. It is called the Navy’s “FORGETING CURVE”. Check it out.

          • Duane

            It’s the contract price, Old Guy, out the door, for the Freedom class. Published publicly by Lockheed Martin. The mission modules are GSE, with pricing on those reported by the DOD report to Congress on the LCS program.

          • Niki Ptt

            For information, a French FREMM costs €470M.

          • Rocco

            Is this figure American dollars or Euro? You didn’t say which LCS version?

          • Duane

            The numbers quoted above are In US dollars, fixed price contract pricing for the seaframes at $348M, plus the mission modules. The cheapest mission module is the SuW at about $17M, the ASW at around $47M, and the MCM not quite determined yet (it’s still in development) but expected to come in at somewhere in the $80Ms. The GAO reports that the average projected mission module cost for the LCS across all variants in 2016 was $67M – meaning the average fully equipped LCS is out the door today at $415M, though the majority will be much cheaper.

            The F-125 frigate is a much larger vessel than the LCS – at 7,200 tonnes (or 7,920 short tons) it’s nearly destroyer sized, and twice the displacement of an LCS at 3,900 short tons. Also much more expensive to operate, with a complement of 190 vs. (67 x 2 = 134) for the LCS. With ships there’s a pretty consistent linear correlation between displacement and construction cost, allowing for variation due to differences in capabilities. The first ship in class for the F-125 was delivered for 650M E in 2011 – or a $702M USD. The contract rate escalates 3% per year, so the same price escalated to 2017 is $838M USD – double the current delivered cost of seaframe plus average mission module cost for the LCS.

          • Rocco

            For what it is or ( worth ), way to much money. At what point do we recognize size over matter! To build The Ford class CVN at a number of 15 if we go that way to only have 60 aircraft on her don’t make sense. Less is more more or less until more is stays moored up to the Pier!!

          • Duane

            How can the world’s most capable littoral combat ship, less than half the price of any frigate, be “too expensive”? That simply defies logic, Rocco.

            I get it that you simply don’t like the LCS and like most of its critics, you do not understand naval warfare in the littorals at all. The littorals are nothing like the blue waters. Totally different environment, totally different requirements, totally different threat profile, totally different mission set.

          • Niki Ptt

            Except that your cost estimate of an LCS doesn’t take into account these modifications (such as the 2×4 Harpoon launchers). And then you have to consider the lifecycle cost of a ship, not its acquisition cost. And the maintenance of the LCSs is already well-known in the shipbuilding industry for being extremely expensive.
            By the way, the actual crew of a F125 is 110. However it has accomodation for 190 crewmembers, in case it has to act as a command ship or various other specific missions. And the increase in cost of 3% oftenly quoted is actually to take into account the inflation in fixed 2011 Euros, not a real increase in costs.
            In addition to that, the combat system of a F125 is far more developed than on an LCS.

      • Rocco

        Yes!!

  • tpharwell

    Uggh. What dismal reasoning. Just give us six [?] times as much money as we are used to receiving, and we will build tons more of the same things we have been for the last 30 years. No mention of updating “Seapower 21”. No mention of doing a new strategic plan and long range force structure analysis. No mention of new ship types, other than as a rejected possibility. No mention of renewed design competitions or revived USN shipyards. Ditto the cruiser mod program. Ditto accelerated SLEPs for all ships. No mention of LCS. But also, no mention of a new frigate designed on a clean slate. No mention of our cherished USN buzz word, “Distributed (eg, diversified) Lethality”. Just give us more, and we will build more: $150B over 7 years for starters: the equivalent of ten aircraft carriers for a shipbuilding program that usually turns out one every five years, but of late (within the past 10) has fallen far behind that pace.

    And who thinks Congress is going to boost naval ship procurement by 20+B a year ? Perhaps that is the point of this announcement. Show us the money first, and then we will start thinking about how to use it. Dismal. But thoroughly true to form.

  • Duane

    A $150B “down payment” to jump start a fantastical fleet size jump to 355 ships will only bring down the walls and roof on those who fantasize a huge upsurge in our fleet size. The dollars simply are not there, and neither is the political support in Congress.

    It is apparent that the notion of a 355 ship navy is complete fantasy driven by a small cadre, a small subset of GOPers demanding a military buildup. They are outnumbered greatly by fiscal conservatives and moderates in the GOP, and by Democrats who will never allow social programs to be gutted as Trump proposed – and which was already declared DOA by leading members of his own party, both defense hawks and by fiscal hawks and by social moderates.

    It is plausible that a modest increase in fleet size will eventually be approved by Congress, but even that is by no means assured. The existing 308 ship fleet plan may well be the best that the Navy will ever see.

    Navy leadership would be far better off emphasizing full funding for readiness of the existing fleet, both afloat and in the air, and continued support for the existing 308 ship plan (which is still a sizable increase over the current 274 ships). When the Navy places unachievable goals before Congress, they only hurt themselves.

    • Gregory Dittman

      That’s over about 5 years. The navy wants $870 billion more over 30 years just to get the ship numbers. It also has a fleet of aircraft that is 50% grounded because of the lack of spare parts and more missiles to arm all those ships. I suspect all of this would come to about $1 trillion over 30 years.

      • Duane

        Still way too much money, for the reasons I stated. Trump grossly overplayed his hand by proposing only a modest 3% increase in base defense spending, 2018, oversold it as a huge boost, and “paid for it” by gutting most of the non-military part of spending, which will never ever fly in this or any Congress. Democrats and all but the most rock ribbed callous fiscal hawks in the GOP have already called the Trump spending plan DOA. It will likely result in a donnybrook with more government shutdowns and standoffs, and it will all be about next year’s mid-term elections.

        And 355 ships is also a total non-starter – it will never happen.

    • Rocco

      Well said. Agreed! Sad but true.

  • RobM1981

    SSN’s? Definitely. I can defend why more SSN’s are absolutely critical given the threat axes that we currently face.

    DDG’s? Yes. Given the enhanced capabilities the Burke’s continue to develop, particularly (but not only) with the SM-6, these are the heart of our surface fleet. Their ABM capability is also critical. Having more of this is a good thing.

    CVN’s? Modernize, sure, but why would we want even one more CVBG? What threat requires a larger naval air arm than we already have, particularly given the increasing capabilities of drones over the next 20 years? Pound for pound these are extremely expensive to operate – we really need to be able to say more than “well, the air admirals love them…”

    • Aubrey

      Even the simplest and most optimistic look at coming threats and needs says we need five active carriers at any one time. That means fifteen carriers in total.

      It’s a big world, and the miserable path to 8-9 carriers that we are on is flat out dangerous.

      • Duane

        We’ll never fund a 15 CVN fleet, it’s only in the fantasies of the most extreme defense hawks. To try and argue for that with a straight face and be grounded in reality is impossible. Even the 355 ship fleet that is itself an impossible fantasy only has 12 CVNs at most.

        The current 308 ship fleet plan with 11 CVNs is barely achievable.

        The Navy is going to have to learn to make do with cheaper supplements to the current fleet – perhaps more big deck LHAs, or a few bigger still CV minus the N.

        Everybody wants a Ferrari, but few will ever be able to actually afford one. A 355 ship fleet is beyond Ferrari, and a 15-CVN carrier force is beyond that.

        • Rocco

          Once again agreed.

      • Rocco

        Not really ! They can be supplimented by LHA’s.

  • Ctrot

    If it were a like amount of money were being proposed for a new social program or an expanded old social program, and if Democrats were still in control of at the WH / Congress, it would fly through to approval with little heard from the media about how broke we are.

    Ah but’s for defense, so the media will be “Oh we’re broke paupers, we can’t afford this. Think of the children!”

    Of course we are broke paupers but it’s not because of defense, it’s the Trillion plus per year welfare state.

  • wdt_nh

    Puzzling? Sounds like a plan to build a lot more exquisitely expensive hardware that we’re already procuring which doesn’t address the math of whose bullets will run out first, whose can travel farther, who can reload the fastest and how much will it cost to reload? More of the same alters this math how???

  • Rob C.

    Build what we know, because in the end it takes too money to build something new.
    Its practicle, but everyone on the darn planet knowns the Burkes. New flight is more anti-ballistic missile ship than actual fight other ship/ground attack ship. Can’t anyone build something frackin new??

    China and Russia are either copy us or they’re building something better because their not hindered by bureaucracy as far i know.

    • Gregory Dittman

      Russia has 34 modern warships and one often broken aircraft carrier. China still relies on small ships that could reach Japan and with support Alaska.

  • John B. Morgen

    The Navy is forgetting that it needs more auxiliary support ships, besides building more combat warships. What about increasing minesweeper forces, excluding anymore LCS warships. The Navy should try to reach 400 ship ceiling.

    • Rocco

      Never happen!!

    • Donald Carey

      I agree, currently, our minesweeping capibility is ludicrous.

  • Lophs

    I am trying to wrap my head around the ship numbers. Does the 150 billion dollar include personnel cost? I know a huge portion of defense spending is on personnel cost. I feel that 150 billion dollars is a gross underestimation.

    • Aubrey

      We have more than enough flags (when you add in their staffs) to fully man another CVN…

    • Araya

      Additional 150 billion for only 30 additional Ships sounds even for US conditions realistic. A DDG51 Including his weapon systems cost around 2,1 billion dollar while the price-tag of a Virginia SSN lies around 2,3 billion Dollar.

  • vincedc

    The dollars will never materialize. We are dealing with the Congress of the United States. Look at their track record over the last couple of decades. The Navy will never get past 325 with a series of continuing resolutions.

    • Rocco

      Agreed? We may hit that number for a short, but by that time ship’s from 20 yrs back will be decommissioned & we’ll be back where we started.we just don’t have the ship yards to do this that fast a his Highness Trump promised.

  • Rocco

    Well said kudos. Buy the time the old Nimitz class get retired the new Fords should be up & running. Depending what we use for air power Navy wise we don’t need 13 CVN’s that can’t be filled to capacity!! An Essex class CVL based off the America class is the way to supplement the CVN’s at 900′ 50,000 tons.I call it the modern Essex class fast attack. Put a squadron of F-35C & B’s on her along with F-18’s plus helos .Arm the ship with current self defense ram & ciwis systems etc!

    • Donald Carey

      Historically, CV’s up to and including the Midway class were found to be too small. Add to that being short-legged due to having conventional power and you get an aircraft carrying version of the LCS.

      • Rocco

        Yes back then when we flew 7 different aircraft not including helos!! I served on 3 different carriers so I know what I’m saying!!

        • Donald Carey

          Evidently, the Navy disagrees – there are no plans for such ships and no study groups developing any. Besides, it looks like the Navy plans to use big deck amphibs to supplement our CVN’s, which actually makes sense as they would be much better for disaster relief as well.

          • Rocco

            Not true this has been a study since the late 70’s & 80’s . John McCain proposed that a alternative study to be considered & was in this very site!!! Eventually the Nimitz class will get old. It would be a waste of money to continue building the Ford class with the down size of Naval aviation. The America class is a great ship. A 900′ version with an angle deck and the E-MAIL system will be nice.

          • Donald Carey

            Studies from decades ago are not going to gain any traction, but even if a smaller CV was to be built with E-MALS (I don’t think you meant E-MAIL – LOL), it would have to be nuclear as a conventionally powered CV so equipped would burn way too much fuel. In any case, McCain’s views are not likely to prevail.

          • Rocco

            Thanks for the correction auto correct on my phone in the bar milling over my beer lol🍺.As far as it being decades ago yes & know.McCain served on both kinds of carriers including mine that had the big Fire at his almost expense!!.Nuke would not be the way to go as what’s the point might as well go big. The America class is very fuel efficient with its hybrid electric drive propollsion system. Stretch the ship to 900′ feet hang an angle deck off it. What’s old is new again!!

          • Donald Carey

            The America’s may be fuel efficient, but they don’t generate the amount of power needed to operate a full E-MALS system. That would eat up a lot of fuel.
            A nuclear powered ship does not have to be big, either (our submarine fleet comes to mind). With the uncertanty surrounding fossil fuel supplies, building large, fuel-hungry ships with an expected service life of 40 plus years just doesn’t make sense.

  • Jon

    I’d be ecstatic if they invested into the ASW and MCM ships we need, the auxiliaries we’re short, a true multi-mission frigate class or at least a class of economical patrol/escort vessels for “situations short of war”, rushed out a VLS capable extended range Harpoon kit, topped off our war stocks, and caught up all our deferred maintenance/upgrades of ships and aircraft. At least we’d have stopped the bleeding.

    Not convinced more gold plated ships we can’t afford to man, arm, or maintain, or carriers we don’t even have air wings for, is the solution unless the budget constraints change dramatically.

  • Rocco

    OK what’s the problem!!!

  • old guy

    Hey, we could build a whole bunch of armed RIBs, like the Iranians, and and have a 351 ship Navy.
    I just think that it might be better if we revue the changed requirements.

  • Andrew Doolittle

    The cheapest and most active surface combatant remains the Mark VI Patrol Boat. Behind that is the US Coast Guard which while expensive does actually secure the Homeland.

    The financial numbers should be based on the mission the US Navy actually is attempting to do (South China Sea and attendant Region) and not some mystical “number.”

    Odd the first program to be attacked was the Coast Guard.

    Good luck with that.

  • old guy

    OUTRAGEOUS, Ne doesn’t even pretend that this won’t just be part of the SWIPE program. Off with his evaluates.

  • Western

    Re-open Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

  • Duane-aka Sir Lockmart

    So the buildup of the Navy will consist of “SSNs, DDGs and carriers.” Where does that leave the mightest ship in the fleet BAR NONE, the “battleship cruiser destroyer frigate death star littoral combat ship?” I can see the fleet admiral crying in his soup!