The following is from the introduction to the Congressional Research Service’s April, 24 2013 report: Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress.
Department of Defense (DOD) development work on high-energy military lasers, which has been underway for decades, has reached the point where lasers capable of countering certain surface and air targets at ranges of about a mile could be made ready for installation on Navy surface ships over the next few years. More powerful shipboard lasers, which could become ready for installation in subsequent years, could provide Navy surface ships with an ability to counter a wider range of surface and air targets at ranges of up to about 10 miles. These more powerful lasers might, among other things, provide Navy surface ships with a terminal-defense capability against certain ballistic missiles, including China’s new anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). Read More
USS Cape St. George (CG-71) approaches Naval Base San Diego. US Navy Photo
“Money is better spent on buying back the life of younger ships” with 25 to 30 years left, than putting it into seven cruisers the Navy wants to retire in 2015, the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems told a key House subcommittee on 26 April.
Vice Adm. William Burke said, “We have to balance our books” and the way the Navy chose to do that a year ago was retiring the cruisers and two landing ship docks (LSDs) early. “I would prefer to put money into destroyers,” he said, adding that “we have enough” cruisers, all nine of which the Navy intends to operate normally until they are decommissioned. Read More
USS Maryland (SSBN-738) transits the Saint Marys River.
“The most daunting challenge” facing the Navy’s newly released shipbuilding plan is paying for the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine replacement when it is expected to take $100 billion—over 12 to 15 years—from that account, the service’s top acquisition official said. Read More
Adm. Jonathan Greenert testifies before the Senate on the Navy’s budget on Wednesday. US Navy Photo
The Chief of Naval Operations said the Ohio-class replacement is his “number one program of concern,” although it remains “on track with all the R&D” to begin construction in 2021, with delivery expected in 2029.
Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee on 24 April, Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus expressed concern about its cost, the impact of sequestration on the program and the impact of building it on the rest of the shipbuilding program.
Mabus said, “Sequestration holds the potential to impact this in a significant way.” Read More
USS Hopper (DDG-70) launches a missile as part of a BMD test in 2009. US Navy Photo
The U.S. Navy has placed an emphasis on ballistic missile defense and a commitment to a next-generation Littoral Combat Ship in its Fiscal Year 2014 draft 30-year shipbuilding plan obtained by USNI News on Tuesday. Read More
The following is a draft of the 2014 U.S. Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan, obtained by USNI News The plan, presented to Congress, outlines construction and retirement schedules for the service until Fiscal Year 2043. Read More
From the document’s forward by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert:
The U.S. Navy is the world’s most lethal, flexible, and capable maritime force. As they have throughout our Nation’s history, every day our Sailors operate forward to provide American leaders with timely options to deter aggression, assure allies, and re- spond to crises with a minimal footprint ashore. Read More
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the U.S. Navy had no formal procedure for naming ships. It wasn’t until 1819 that Congress passed an act stating “all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy.” The secretary has fulfilled this role ever since, even though the passage expressly assigning authority for designating ship names was omitted when the U.S. Code was revised in 1925.
In addition to recommendations from Congress and the president, the secretary traditionally has been guided by a rather loose set of naming conventions—cruisers were to be named for battles, attack submarines for U.S. cities, destroyers for Navy and Marine heroes, and so forth. Controversy has erupted whenever the choice of a name strayed too far from those conventions, was seemingly swayed by politics, or deemed inappropriate for various reasons. Read More
The 1977 flight test of an early Trident missile. US Air Force Photo
When the U.S. Navy’s new SSBN (X) conducts its first patrol in 2031 it will be an entirely new vessel, but the boat will initially rely on life-extended 1990s vintage Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to perform its nuclear deterrence mission. The Navy currently expects to keep the D5 in service into the 2040s, after which it may replace the long-serving weapon with a new missile. Read More
Huntington Ingalls Industries proposed Flight II LPD-17 ship class. Huntington Ingalls Industries Photo
Congress included $240 million for a 12th San Antonio-class amphibious warship (LPD-17), as part of the last minute, late March budget deal that funded the Pentagon for Fiscal Year 2013.
However the Navy didn’t ask for the money for what would be LPD-28, leaving open questions for the future of a class that was supposed to stop at 11 ships. Read More