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
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
From the March, 27 2013 Congressional Research Service report:
The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget requests $564.9 million for continued research and development work on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohio- class SSBNs. The Ohio replacement program is also known as the SSBN(X) program. Read More
The following is an excerpt from a January interview with Sean Stackley on shipbuilding, which will appear in the February 2013 issue of Proceedings.
The U.S. Navy has released few details of its planned Ohio-class replacement program. The class of 12 nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) will replace the 14 Ohio-class SSBNs currently on patrol starting in the early 2030s and continue in service into the 2080s. The boat is among the most expensive Navy shipbuilding programs and has been part of a larger Pentagon drive to reduce cost by scaling down the capability of the boat.
The reductions scale back from the initial Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for the program, then dubbed SSBN(X), conducted by NAVSEA in 2009. The initial AoA called for a boat that would have cost $6 to $7 billion but with the reduction in capability the Ohio Replacement (OR) drove costs down to $5.6 billion a copy. The scope of reductions from the AoA is unclear as the Navy never publically disclosed the initial capability goals of the program. The eventual goal of the reductions is to produce the boats at $4.9 billion each.