U.S. Navy plans to develop two new classes of submarine

David Axe for War is Boring:

The U.S. Navy plans to develop two new classes of submarine, according to congressional analysis of the sea service’s shipbuilding plan for 2019.

The submarines could help to maintain the Navy’s advantage in submarine-on-submarine warfare while also filling a looming shortfall in the sailing branch’s capacity for sea-to-land missile strikes.

But not without cost. Designing and building five of the new Large Payload Submarine cruise-missile subs and 30 of the new SSN(X) attack submarines could set back U.S. taxpayers $200 billion by 2048.

They want to replace the Los Angeles Class attack submarines and those Ohio-class submarines that are refitted with Tomahawk cruise missiles. Until recently the plan was to make a modified Virginia-class for these jobs, but now the U.S. Navy has upgraded its ambitions.

I wonder how this proposal will fare given the recent announcement that president Trump has ordered a $33 billion cut in defense spending next year. It is a lot more expensive to build the new classes than to build modified Virginia subs:

The Navy’s old plan to upgrade the Virginia design in the 2030s would have cost $3.6 billion per ship, the [Congressional Budget Office] estimated. Designing and building SSN(X)s instead could cost $5.5 billion per sub, according to the CBO. The budget office predicted each Large Payload Submarine would come with a whopping $7.7-billion price tag.

So with defense cuts coming up, I want to see the new submarines before I believe it. Could well be that the Navy has to settle for the original more modest plan. Also, I cannot help but think that it would be better to go for the cheaper submarine and buy more of them.




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