Home » Budget Industry » Electric Boat Awarded Long-Lead Contract for Virginia-Class Block V Attack Boats


Electric Boat Awarded Long-Lead Contract for Virginia-Class Block V Attack Boats

The Virginia-class attack submarine North Dakota (SSN-784) is rolled out of an indoor shipyard facility at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. US Navy Photo

Sub builder General Dynamics Electric Boat has been awarded a $696.2 million contract modification for long-lead materials for the next for Virginia-class submarines – the first of the Block V attack boats.

The Virginia-class Block V submarines will be longer than previously built Virginia-class subs, to accommodate four Virginia Payload Module tubes, which will each contain seven Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs).

Artist’s conception of the redesigned Block III Virginia-class bow.

The Navy is counting on the Virginia-class Block V submarines to be incorporated into a larger military missile strategy by increasing the service’s the ability to stealthily strike targets, said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer on Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Virginia-class Block V submarines are to replace the Ohio-class SSGN submarines as they are decommissioning. Speaking of the Virginia Payload, Spencer described its usefulness as, “Stretching some of our existing attacks, which depending on what we put on the Tomahawks as far as payload, has different implications. Underwater aspect, to date, does seem to be the most elusive, but it comes with a price.”

A slide from a 2013 presentation from PEO Subs on the VPM. NAVSEA Graphic

This contract provides long-lead time to purchase components for the hull, mechanical and electrical systems, steam and electrical plants, the service turbine generators, and main propulsion units for SSNs 802, 803, 804 and 805. Facilities in 19 states will be manufacturing the Block V components.

This is a cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a previously awarded contract to build the Virginia-class submarines and applies to construction scheduled for Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020.

  • Duane

    Good to see these new vessels finally begin production. With the proliferation of very long range ASCMs and ASBMs, launched from multiple platforms at sea (surface and subsurface), land, and air, the survivability of surface fleets in a full scale naval war is in some doubt, pending the development and deployment of next gen missile defenses.

    Maybe we’ll need both the VPM SSNs and a SSGN follow-on by the 2030s.

    • Jonesy

      Silly rabbit, who needs all of these subs, all we need is more LCS.

    • NavySubNuke

      SSGN follow on will have to wait until the 2040s when the Large Diameter production line finishes the COLUMBIAs. Check out the 3 year ship building plan – we start buying an SSGN every 3 years after 2042.
      Block V, VI, and VII Virginia’s will have to fill the void until then.

      • RDF

        Navy build and buy lineup always looks great in the out years. Like a balanced budget in the future. We used to have NAVAL shipyards and armories. Idiot Congress.

        • PolicyWonk

          Indeed – ever since the Navy Yard system was shut down, the taxpayers have paid DEARLY.

          Beware of anyone who claims privatizing will save money: with ONE exception, the taxpayers have been taking a REAMING every single time.

        • USNVO

          At the time these Naval Shipyards quit producing nuclear submarines (well actually Rickover forced them out of the business), these highly efficient yards were producing submarines at only 50pct more than the same submarine cost in a commercial yard.

          • RDF

            easy to say. how about some facts? I dont believe a word. And now we have no shipyards, and no armories… just contractors….. its not the same.

          • USNVO

            Believe what you want, it is clear you don’t really care what the facts are anyway.

            However, you might want to read the book Rickover: Father of the Nuclear Navy for one man’s view. I currently do not have access to my copy or I would provide the exact page. Rickover did not like private shipyards but hated with a passion Naval Shipyards. He considered them rigid, unwilling to change, and horribly inefficient.

            While the circumstances of then and now may be completely different, the driving forces of why the shipyards were they way they were remain the same. Bring back public yards for ship construction and you will have exactly the same issues. It is worth noting that no major advance in shipbuilding technique has been pioneered by a public yard. Usually, they fought tooth and nail not to change. There is a reason for that.

            Finally, it is worth considering how many Government owned Naval Shipyards are involved in construction of new ships in the entire world. It is a pretty short list and generally the results are not pretty.

          • RDF

            Not just subs. All ship types, vehicles, weapons.

          • Duane

            Any government operated enterprise is almost guaranteed to be far less efficient and more wasteful than a private sector enterprise producing the same product. Really, everybody who isn’t a committed communist or socialist understands that. Something about investors demanding a return on investment, and companies being subject to competition, and the possibility of employees being fired for non-performance, etc. that government enterprises and workers never have to worry about.

            The Chinese have a term for that: “The Iron Rice Bowl”.

            The Chinese literally invented the modern notion of bureaucracy and its inevitable absence of accountability, thousands of years ago.

        • NavySubNuke

          My favorite money is out-year money —- it is always so easy to get and looks so pretty in budget requests!!

          • RDF

            This, next, POM, outyear. People not inside the beltway do not understand on any given congressional day you can be called upon to explain and defend not one budget line item request, but five or six different year budgets. It’s loopy.

  • Mr. Ed

    When the heck will we get a commissioned USS South Carolina back in the water? Nothing against North Dakota, but c’mon!

  • RDF

    Cost plus fixed fee. Good work if you can get it. More welfare for MIC. Ike was right.

    • Duane

      Funny thing, for all those defense expenditures, our military managed somehow to prevent World Wars Three, Four, and Five. Prior to the 1950s, when we built a standing military force to deter world war, the 20th century was having one every 20 years or so, killing tens of millions and destroying continents of civilization in each.

      And the best trick of all is our military spending did not bankrupt us, as it did the Soviets. Instead we became and have maintained the world’s largest and most successful economy, with our dollar serving as the world’s only reserve currency.

      Thank you, MIC.

      • RDF

        What has any of that got to do with Cost Plus fixed fee contracting, where the only people that assume risk, is us. Please focus.

  • PolicyWonk

    While I’m glad the see that these boats will include additional VPM which will no doubt prove useful, its going to take 20 Block V boats to replace what 4 Ohio SSGN’s currently do. It would seem to make more sense to add a few Columbia class boats to fulfill the SSGN role.

    However, the size of the Virginia’s has to increase to handle both the original and supplemental VPM would seem to further restrict where these boats can safely venture in littoral regions. I think its high time the USA seriously considers a smaller class of AIP boats for littoral operations, and forward basing them in the Med, SCS, and ME.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      The addition of the VPM shouldn’t have any significant effect on the Virginia Class SSNs ability to operate, any SSN/SSGN is going to have limitations, but IMO it doesn’t make sense to tax the already stretched sub production yards (and their subsidiaries) to produce AIP boats that duplicate our allies capabilities who already have significant numbers of non-nuclear boats in the vicinity of the Med, SCS & ME.

      • PolicyWonk

        That may be, but our allies won’t supply new boats to Taiwan.

        Besides, nuclear boats cost 3X more than conventional, and we already have a serious coverage problem, and conventional boats don’t require the same infrastructure burdens that nuclear boats do.

        I’m not suggesting we stop production of nuclear boats – but rather that we supplement them with AIP boats optimized for littoral operations. We can get a lot more coverage for a lot less money a lot faster.

        Cheers.

        • @USS_Fallujah

          Adding a significant number of AIP SSKs would stress the already taxed sub building yards, creating new shipbuilding capacity at those locations or a new yard is expensive and problematic in the current (and forseable!) budget environment, but more important than that is what COCOM commanders are begging for is in theater strike capability, that’s what is driving the VPM addition (and the previous conversion of 4 SSBNs to SSGNs), if we had unlimited funds we could do both, but even then the return on investment would be small at best, you’re duplicating capabilities already in theater, you have to support those boats in theater with forward deployment because operating them from home waters is inefficient at best and unworkable in an emergency situation.
          IMO the USN needs to focus in on what it does best, and what it does that no other navy or service can do. Those capabilities are embodied in the CVN & SSNs, that’s where our dollars need to go, and SSK (and LCS/FFGs) are nice, but are potentially a lethal drain on the primary platforms.

          • PolicyWonk

            I doubt the return on investment is small, because it is was other nuclear-sub building nations wouldn’t keep developing, improving, building and deploying them.

            Large platforms only make for large targets, but that said our CVN force needs to be supplemented with more LHA-6 types to patrol less volatile parts of the world, freeing CVN’s up for the regions with higher entertainment value. FFG’s are necessary to do what the useless LCS’s cannot and where Burkes represent overkill, and this nation is still without a littoral combat platform. We’re up to our eyeballs in littoral commitments now and for the foreseeable future, yet there are still folks that want to concentrate major fleet building efforts on blue-water assets.

            You plan/build to fight the wars you are *likely* to fight – not the ones you *want* to fight.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I think it’s a mistake to assume allies are building a certain platform because it’s best and not because it’s the best they can support. Australia would love to have SSNs, but the nuclear infrastructure is a bridge too far. Japan makes great SSKs because their primary threat is very close by and going with a littoral only sub platform makes sense, ditto Germany.
            As for CVN vs LHA based CVLs, that’s a bad ROI too IMO, either you short the gator navy, which is already undersized, or you kill the CVN procurement (unless you can magically come up with a couple billion extra dollars every year to cover the new carriers AND the additional crew, aircraft, pilots etc). LHA’s can already project power in lower threat areas without sacrificing their amphibious capability, and you can do a whole lot more sustained influence ashore with an LHS based ARG (or ESG) than with a CVN or certainly a CVL, we don’t need to completely reshape the fleet, what we need is to focus the assets on what they’re needed for and stop trying to reinvent the wheel (see LCS/Zumwalt).

          • Holdfast_II

            So cut a deal with Japan – we buy some of their conventional subs and we sell them more of something else – fighters, transports, tanks, whatever.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            Why buy their subs when they can use them just fine. We don’t need to “own” every capability, that’s why you have allies (besides the basing rights of course!). There is no reason for the USN to duplicate the capabilities of our allies, duplication of effort is a huge waste of time and money.

          • NavySubNuke

            Too small and limited – it would be an utter waste of money.
            If we lose our minds and decide to start wasting money on SSKs they only chance the Navy has of actually getting something for that money is if we toss in with the Australians and buy into the Collins class replacement. Anything else would be as big of a folly as LCS.

          • muzzleloader

            We could always bring back the WW2 Gato class. I’m sure the blueprints are around somewhere.

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL. Oh yeah – and she is even cheaper than the Balao class that followed so we could save even more money!

          • USNVO

            Remember, as Aesop teaches us in the Belling of the Cat fable, anyone can think of an impossible plan.

            Budget? Who cares about the budget? It will just go up and we can have anything we want.

            Manpower? That will magically appear! Just beat up the recruiters a little more.

            Tenders? We don’t need no stinking tenders, we will magically put our forward base somewhere where it is needed but not where it will be destroyed in a first strike. Like Cavite in WWII (oh wait, scratch that…).

            Industrial base? That is someone else’s problem.

            Wishful thinking? That is something someone else does, we know better. I mean, so what if a diesel submarine force in the wrong location is a wasting asset while nuclear boats can very rapidly reposition, we will always pick the right location, like Europe in the Cold War (oh wait, scratch that).

            How many conflicts since WWII have required diesel submarines? (Or Nuclear ones for that matter). Zero, but they are an insurance policy, hopefully one you will never need. But why insure someone else’s property? The US Navy should be the relief/reserve force, not the first line of defense.

          • El_Sid

            . Australia would love to have SSNs, but the nuclear infrastructure is a bridge too far

            More accurately – the RAN would love to have SSNs, but the people who pay their bills hate the idea, the Aussie electorate are very sensitive about the whole nuclear thing.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            IMO the population of oz would be ok with it for warshps, but they have no nuclear power infrastructure anywhere in country so they’d essentially need the USN to build the ships and train a whole batch up nuclear reactor operators from scratch, which is no mean feat.

          • El_Sid

            The reason they have no nuclear power is because the electorate voted in politicians who passed laws against it, and even though the other side have gained power plenty of times since then, they haven’t cancelled those laws.

            It’s one of those totemic things, it’s something that defines a people regardless of logic, in the same way as the Second Amendment or the NHS. There might have been a small window a few years ago when it might have been possible, but realistically that sub has sailed for a generation, they’ve done the deal for Shortfin Barracuda and won’t go back on it now.

          • NavySubNuke

            “I doubt the return on investment is small, because it is was other nuclear-sub building nations wouldn’t keep developing, improving, building and deploying them.”
            There are no western aligned powers that build both SSKs and SSNs. The only people who do are Russia and China precisely because they know they are going to have to fight us right on their front doors and thus SSKs may play a role.
            But that isn’t what we do with our boats at all and even forward basing them in Japan and Norway isn’t going to solve that problem — all it will do is suck tens of billions of dollars out of the Navy’s total budget for their construction and sustainment even though they will add as much combat capability to the Navy as the little crappy ships.

          • PolicyWonk

            Pffft!

            So says the guy who knows a modern AIP boat (Gotland class) regularly cleaned the clocks of our USN in war games – even when we *knew* it was there. It did such a thorough job that the USN not only leased it, but extended the lease because they were still trying to figure out how to detect them – and they’ve only since gotten better.

            Hence – comparing these AIP boats to an LCS is akin comparing a GAU-8 to a squirt gun, and earns you the BRAVO SIERRA award for the day 😀

            You’ll have to do better than that.

          • NavySubNuke

            Meh – if you actually knew about this subject in any real depth you would realize how poor of a measure that actually is. And again, that proves nothing about how they would add capability to OUR navy in the operations we actually conduct.

          • USNVO

            I guess you don’t consider France to be “Western Aligned”. While France operates a purely nuclear fleet, they still build diesel boats for export. For that matter, the UK built diesel boats up until the end of the Cold War. So two out of three western powers that build nuclear submarines would argue you a wrong. There reasons for operating diesel boats were pretty much identical to Russia and China. Because they were more suitable for certain defensive missions and nuclear boats were too expensive to equip the total force. Since those defensive missions went away with the end of the Cold War, the need for the diesel boats ended as well (although France still makes them).

            The US has a different strategic and economic position and, far from the fight, has relied on Nuclear submarines. No reason to change that.

          • NavySubNuke

            I don’t include France because they don’t operate any SSKs — all they do is sell them to others and even that is really a one time thing to sell them to Australia (although if it goes well they might sell them to others). Technically they don’t even build them right now they are just going to start building them in 2020/2021ish when the design is done.
            I don’t include England because they haven’t built or operated a non-nuclear submarine in over 20 years — an entire generation of Naval officers — and it is highly unlikely they would ever go back to building them.
            I guess you are right that I should have specified no western aligned power build and operate both SSKs and SSNs in their Navy. So 0 out of 3 Western powers would argue I am wrong.

          • USNVO

            Are you being intentionally obtuse or do you just not pay any attention to foreign navies?

            Lets See, just since the 2000s the French Scorpene class.
            – Chile bought 2 French diesel submarines in the mid 2000s (built in France delivered 2005-2006)
            – Malaysia bought 2 French diesel submarines (built in France and delivered in 2009)
            – Brasil bought 4 in 2009 although only part of the submarines are being built in France and then being assembled in Brasil. First one is scheduled to be launched in 2018 (Put France and Brasil together and corruption is sure to follow). France is even helping them build a nuclear submarine.
            – India bought 6 French diesel boats in 2005 although they are also being assembled in India. The first one commissioned in 2017 (the only thing worse than Brasil and France is India and France).
            – Spain bought a variant that is being produced in Spain.

            In addition,
            – Pakistan completed 2 Agosta-90B submarines from France but the one built in France was delivered in 1999 although the two Pakistani assembled boats were delivered in 2002 and 2006 so they count as 2000s as well.

            Oh yeah, the Austalians are also designing a variant of the Scorpene.

            Note, France operated diesel boats alongside their nuclear subs until 2001, and had plans to operate diesel and nuclear boats until their plans were changed by the end of the Cold War and a dramatic reduction in their submarine force.

            The UK operated diesel boats until 1994 (only 3 years on the newest class) alongside their nuclear subs and had plans to procure more diesel boats in addition to nuclear boats until their plans were changed by the end of the Cold War and a drastic reduction in the submarine force.

            If the ROI for diesel boats were so low, the French and British fleets would not have built any after they started building nuclear submarines. During the Cold War when they needed numbers and they were concerned about their immediate vicinity, they built diesel boats because they had a much higher ROI than nuclear boats for many defensive missions. When the threat went away, they went to a more deployable all nuclear fleet. If the threat returned requiring either Navy to defend the areas close to those countries, you can be sure they would buy diesel boats again. Diesel boats are vastly cheaper and superior options for certain missions. However, since neither country has to worry about those missions any more, they converted to an all nuclear fleet.

          • NavySubNuke

            I understand it is your opinion that they would go back to building SSKs but I disagree. In addition, the fact remains that for over 20 years no western aligned military has operated both SSNs and SSKs because of how limited SSKs are.
            Given how the threat from Russia has changed it is hard to imagine either France or UK going back to building SSKs. Just look how well those only 3 year old UK SSKs have worked out for Canada….

          • USNVO

            Well history would say you are wrong as both nations had additional diesel submarines planned when the Cold War ended changing the threat. So they adopted to the new threat. I doubt either nation will go back to diesel boats but that is because the threat that existed before will probably never return. But it has nothing to do with diesel boats being inferior. They have strengths and weaknesses just like any other weapon system. The ROI of any weapon system is based on a nation’s military missions, not some inherent ability of a platform. So while the US’s economic strength and long distance from potential conflict zones places a high priority on strategic mobility, and hence nuclear submarines. If you change the country to say Japan, potential conflict areas are close to Japan and diesel submarines can meet the requirement at a much lower cost. Really, acknowledging that diesel boats are a superior option for some countries doesn’t change the basic reasons of why the US has resisted buying more diesel boats.

        • NavySubNuke

          “We can get a lot more coverage for a lot less money a lot faster”
          This is completely and totally wrong.
          The myth that we could buy enough AIP boats to provide any meaningful amount of coverage and not spend far more than we would on buying more SSNs is as alluring as the Sirens.
          the myth is also as truthful as the myth of the Sirens. Never mind the time it would take for us to actually get those AIP boats.
          Australia’s Collins replacement program is the only AIP submarine program in the world that would add any real coverage to the Navy but those boats aren’t going to be ready for well over a decade and no one really knows how much they will actually cost because they aren’t even designed yet.

        • Duane

          A far better investment, and vastly safer deal for American sailors, is fielding a fleet of capable USVs for shallow water littoral ops. Manned AIP boats are a 20th century solution to 21st century naval warfare. And they will be deathtraps for their crews in shallow waters.

          • El Kabong

            Nope.

        • Duane

          A far better investment, and vastly safer deal for American sailors, is fielding a fleet of capable UUVs for shallow water littoral ops. Manned AIP boats are a 20th century solution to 21st century naval warfare. And they will be deathtraps for their crews in shallow waters.

          • El Kabong

            Wrong, Duaney.

    • David Oldham

      The math is simple, the US is the blue water navy and all our allies are the brown water navy that is unless you have zero faith in your allies…hmmmm.

      • The_Usual_Suspect61

        And we all know why their water is brown…

      • USNVO

        But then we can complain they aren’t pulling there share. Really, the whole fascination with forward deployed AIP diesel subs is hilarious. Diesel subs are largely the domain of countries that are planning strategic and tactical defense. The US may be planning strategic defense (i.e. defend the status quo) but tactically as the away team, it is definitely on the offensive. I mean what would we use them for, interdicting our own shipping? Because we can interdict most any countries shipping from far away with assets that are far more selective, and cheaper, than a submarine.

        That is not to say that diesel subs wouldn’t be useful for training or to sell or give away (say to Taiwan for instance), but there is no reason we need to forward base them as an active part of the fleet. I mean, it is not like we need to defend France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Germany, Denmark, South Korea, Japan, or Austalia. Let those countries defend themselves with their own submarines. The US role should be offensive, which requires more strategic mobility. As for the littorals, a helicopter is a far better platform to patrol shallow waters than a submarine.

        • El Kabong

          You might want to go read up on those SSK’s that got periscope photos of your precious carriers…

          • USNVO

            Why? It is not a question of the capability of the SSKs, it is that they are slow and have limited strategic mobility. The US is not trying to sink our own carriers, nor are we trying to be the first line of defense for other nations. SSKs are fine for countries with limited strategic mobility requirements, which is just about every country on earth. However, since there is no real threat in North America, the US is a noted exception. Hence nothing but nuclear submarines. It is the same reason the US has a large number of aircraft carriers, massive strategic airlift, and a large number of oilers when other nations don’t. You have to get there first and there is a long way away.

          • El Kabong

            Oh, my….

            What’s better for areas like the Baltic and Med?
            The Sea of Japan?

            Your SSN’s are huge and unwieldy.

            SSK’s are the best for confined areas.

            Go ahead, take an SSN around the Greek islands. LOL!

            You want to project power, good luck doing it in someone’s cluttered backyard.

          • USNVO

            The thing about projecting power is that you get to pick your position to project the power from. So assuming you want to go to those places to do anything other than support your ally who already has SSKs for those missions, you choose areas that help you.

            So for instance, the North Sea as opposed to the Baltic, the Western Med as opposed to the Aegean or Adriatic, the Sea of Japan as opposed to the North China Sea, and the North Arabian Sea/Gulf of Oman as opposed to the Persian Gulf. So your SSNs (and MPA and Helicopters) pick off the SSKs in transit. The confined seas you contest with appropriate forces like Helicopters and allied SSKs.

            It is almost as if you think expecting the enemy to do exactly what you want them to do is a good strategy. The SSK is largely a mobile minefield, good if you want that sort of thing but bad if you have to cross oceans to fight.

          • El Kabong

            “So assuming you want to go to those places to do anything other than support your ally who already has SSKs for those missions, you choose areas that help you.”?

            Sure, like Iraq and the Persian Gulf…

          • USNVO

            Come on, even you aren’t that stupid. You might as well use Afghanistan as an example.

            In the first Gulf War, the Iraqi Navy was sunk by helicopters. Submarines, including one allied SSK, did absolutely zip beside shoot tomahawks and even that was just a sop to the submarine community, there was no reason they needed to shoot the missiles, surface ships could do it better in the entirely permissive environment that was the Red Sea. And please don’t give me some unmitigated garbage about covert periscope recon of the beach, even the SSK was no where near the beach, I mean why would they, they has 24/7 coverage with aircraft.

            In the Second Gulf war, submarines did less than zip. Again, the remains of the Iraqi Navy basically died at its moorings since they couldn’t even get to sea.

            So if that is your great counter example, you just proved that the USN doesn’t need SSKs and in fact needs bigger, far more capable, nuclear boats that can carry a large tomahawk load and rapidly relocate to where they need to use them.

          • El Kabong

            I’m starting to suspect you may be.

            Didn’t know Iran has Kilo class subs, I see.

          • USNVO

            So the US was fighting Iran in the Iraq war? Who knew?

            If so, the Iranian Kilo’s (which operate in the North Arabian Sea by the way) were totally ineffective, it was like they weren’t even there.

          • El Kabong

            “… the Iranian Kilo’s (which operate in the North Arabian Sea by the way) were totally ineffective, it was like they weren’t even there.”?

            Cute.

            Utterly wrong, but cute.

            Have the iranians and US gone to war?

            Was there another Op. Praying Mantis I missed?

          • USNVO

            Yeah, back BEFORE the Iranians ever purchased the KILOs but, hey, keep trying to change the subject. Iraqi war was with, and I know this may be hard for your, Iraq! Not Iran. I know there is only one letter difference but really, let it go.

          • El Kabong

            Thanks for proving my point.

            Try it NOW and see what happens.

          • El Kabong

            ” It is not a question of the capability of the SSKs, it is that they are slow and have limited strategic mobility.”?

            If they are capable of getting THAT close to a carrier to sink it, that sure does make them relevant.

            Shallow seas, areas full of islands….

            Sure, try driving an SSN in there…

            Good luck.

          • USNVO

            I guess you don’t understand the argument.

            The US doesn’t need SSKs, they do not have sufficient strategic mobility and endurance to be an effective part of the USN which always plays away games. For the USN they are irrelevant since they are not buying any.

            SSKs are capable and play a valuable role for nations on the strategic defense. Like most US allies. Since that is not the USN, how good they can be is irrelevant, the US needs better strategic mobility. For example, Japan is concerned with waters close to them so SSKs are fine. The USN is concerned with areas on the other side of the Pacific and hence nuclear submarines. Our SSNs won’t go into shallow waters because there is no reason to, that is what allied SSKs are for.

          • El Kabong

            It’s clear you don’t get it.

            Good luck driving those hug SSN’s around a shallow, island filled sea.

            “…that is what allied SSKs are for.”?

            Yeah, in situations like the Iraq invasion, who had SSK’s?

            The UK? Nope, they sold then to the RCN.

          • USNVO

            Doubling down a stupid is just, well, stupid.

          • El Kabong

            You should stop doing that.

      • PolicyWonk

        You might take note of how our allies no longer trust the USA – with code-word level secrets, international policy, or to come to their defense should they need it.

        Can you imagine what would’ve happened if Obama supported the Russians over the British – our most loyal allies?

        Hmmmmmm….

        • NavySubNuke

          ” no longer trust the USA – with code-word level secrets, international policy, or to come to their defense should they need it”
          Do you have any actual evidence to support that? Last I saw five-eyes was alive and well and NATO still wasn’t willing to pay for their own defense.
          Maybe I missed South Korea, Japan, and Poland all becoming nuclear powers while I was on vacation but it sure seems to me like they are still trusting the US for their defense.

          • PolicyWonk

            While they still have no choice but to deal with us on defense matters – regardless – our national security and reputation has been serious damaged by the POTUS – and that’s according to virtually all of the foreign policy and international survey site on the planet. Try reading the foreign news – it’s pretty enlightening. America, according to the rest of the world – is in serious decline and isn’t trusted anywhere near where it was before Mr. Trump took office.

            You might’ve noticed the seriousness and determination with which the S. Koreans have been pursuing a negotiated settlement with the N. Koreans (who have yet to accept or confirm the invitation they supposedly gave). They know from the childish urinating contest this POTUS has taken up with Lil Kim (who has OWNED him on that, and made the US look like far below JV benchwarmers w/r/t foreign policy during the Olympics), and from his actions and what he tweets, that this isn’t someone they have confidence in. He loves playing loose with the lives of millions of S. Koreans).

            Sorry – but I calls ’em as I sees ’em – and from a foreign policy perspective – we look like fools.

          • NavySubNuke

            Yes as opposed to the last president who set red lines and then sat on his hands when they were violated and then acted all surprised when Putin took advantage of his feeble nature and invaded Ukraine.
            Never mind how he destroyed any chance of a state willingly disarming again after reneging on the deal Bush made with Libya and bombing Quadaffi.
            Never mind of course the one before him who launched a trillion dollar war in Iraq with no real goal or plan of exit.
            Your level of derangement about Trump’s presidency is impressive but hardly based in any way on reality which is why end up posting obviously false nonsense like “no longer trust the USA – with code-word level secrets, international policy, or to come to their defense should they need it”
            Come on now — that is Duane level garbage right there — I know you are a democrat but I expect better from you.

          • muzzleloader

            Well said.

    • Duane

      If you were ever a submariner, you would understand that littoral ops are no place for submarines unless forced into that environment. Submarines achieve stealth underwater, and the less depth of seas in one’s op area, the more dangerous for a sub. It’s not just water over the sail, it’s the need for thermoclines to hide under.

      Let our allies (and enemies) who cannot afford bluewater nuke boats sacrifice their own crews, as that is their choice. With today’s ASW tech and tactics, littoral ops in the shallows will be a suicide mission for subs in a naval war.

      We won’t give up on littoral sub ops, however. That is where far cheaper (than manned AIP boats) UUVs will do their duty. They’ve been under development for years.

      • El Kabong

        LMAO!

        If you were ever a submariner, you’d know about the Baltic and Med ops by navies with submarines, Duaney.

  • John McHugh

    Adding some diversity to our forward fleets would add an exponential ROI. Adding more modest and non-nuclear platforms to replace front line ships for lower intensity missions would have a profound
    affect on repair/maintenance, morale, and operating costs.

    Admittedly, the LHA platform is far from ideal as an “attack carrier” (CV, CVV, CVL, CVV, whatever) but it is a hot line with proven systems. By reallocating funding for CVN-81 & 82, this would allow for the insertion of 3-4 additional aviation based LHAs mid-cycle. The unit cost of the RN Queen Elizabeth class is more reasonable than that of the LHA-6s so maybe there is some room there. Get engineering to evaluate some LHA flight deck improvements such as the ski-jump (as proven on other classes), incorporate the Royal Navy Shipborne rolling vertical landing system (SRVL) in conjunction the new USN GPS guided precision landing systems. Also, would incorporating an angled flight deck allow for better return wing loads? Additional “medium” carriers would require additional F-35Bs and allow for the F-35Cs go to the CVNs. To truly capitalize these ships as true CVVs, the USN would require rare or non-existent platforms: additional F-35Bs for USN use, additional CVM-22s with new skids to be utilized for a variety of missions such as ASW as proposed by Boeing, AEW Wedgetail skid, as theorized by Boeing , long-ranged SAR modifications leveraged from the USAF in addition to its intended uses for COD, cargo, and tanker roles.

    If the FFG(X) program picks the right platform, the larger ships can realize reduced cycle time and improved repair and maintenance. The Frigate program will be a huge benefit to SuW. Allowing the DDGs to return to their more traditional missions sets as well as the Flight-IIIs coming in to lesson the loss of the CG platforms. Having the FFGs to take on the ASW, sea-lane patrol, as well as commerce security. I would think that this class needs at least the Oto Melara 76mm, 32 VLS for SM-2, ESSM, ASROC and maybe Tomahawks (anti-ship or land) and the AN/SQQ-90 ASW platform or better with hull-mounted as well as towed arrays.

    Finally, reinserting a conventional submarine class to the fleet would, once again, reduce the cost associated with the front-line nucs. Developing a $1.5-2.0 bn per unit class of submarine that can more efficiently and successfully operate forward in littoral and contested areas such as the SCS and the Med. Options would include the German Naval Type – 212A / 214 / 216 based fuel-cell based AIP patrol submarine and DCNS French Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A (leveraging the Australian Collins replacement program) for coastal patrol, littoral interdiction as well as for SOCOM support. Licensed design from winning bidder for manufacture in US shipyards. Incorporate USS Virginia Block-III sensor and processing upgrades such as Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar array as well as the hull block insert for VLS tubes from the VPM.

    Forward basing of the aviation LHAs (options could include Rota, Devonport, Mayport, Yokusuka, and Sasebo), FFGs (Newport, Devonport, Mayport, Bahrain, Gaeta, Rota, Yokusuka, Sasebo, Guam), and SSGs (Groton, Devonport, Bahrain, Gaeta, Sasebo, and Guam) would alleviate the transit issues as well as demonstrate USN forward projection with a smaller financial exposure.

    • publius_maximus_III

      I wonder if anybody ever tried combining a ski slope deck and a catapult? You could probably launch a fully loaded B-747.

  • AZ Cracker

    Good. We need many avenues to reach out and touch people.

  • John MacKechnie

    Glad to see these block V boats in production. I do think that the US Navy should modernize all Ohio’s out to 2060. Simply because the numbers of threats which seem to be popping up everywhere. Good story sir.

  • muzzleloader

    That is liberals for you. If this thread was a discussion about torpedoes, they would figure out how to bring “I hate President Trump” into it.
    They just can’t help it.

    • Duane

      Trump’s unfitness for office has nothing to do with liberal or conservative ideology. This is a man who spent most of his adult life as a registered Democrat, gave money to and hobnobbed with the Clintons before he ran for office, and today is pursuing policies that are very liberal, such as dissing our military allies and intentionally launching trade wars with our allies. Trump is no conservative, nor a staunch Republican He is for Trump, first, last, and always.

      • Dean687

        You loved Trump when he was a private citizen and a Democrat-now you hate him when his is POTUS and conservative. How consistent of you. Get a clue-he’s the same person he’s always been.

      • El Kabong

        LMAO!

        Killary was the WORSE choice.

  • NavySubNuke

    “having numerous senior members of his campaign staff and administration either indicted or pled guilty of conspiring with our no. 1 geopolitical enemy – Russia – ”
    Who was indicted or has plead guilty of conspiring with Russia? I have not seen a single charge actually related to that.
    “as well as engaging in money laundering from – again – Russian government sources.”
    Who has been indicted or plead guilty to money laundering from the Russian government? I also have not seen any charges related to that.
    From everything I have seen all the charges are related to lying to investigators, money laundering (not connected to the government of Russia), and general conspiracy charges which again aren’t even related to Russia.
    I’m not saying there won’t be more charges I am just pointing out that when you make factually incorrect statements like you did above it weakens your entire argument and makes you look foolish.
    There are plenty of problems you can raise about Trump and his campaign without making up lies to try to create additional ones.

  • BMC retired

    I guess you have conveniently forgotten all about the whispering in the Russian’s ear “I’ll have a lot more flexibility after the election” president and his mental case Sec of State who sold our uranium rights to Russian and pocketed millions in the process, and who’s minions have deep $$$ relations with the Russians at all levels, how convenient it must be for you.

  • El Kabong

    Prove it, Duaney.