Saturday, March 2, 2024

Production of nuclear submarines for the US Navy will increase by 150% by 2028

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While American nuclear submarine production today only reaches 1.3 new Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines each year, it will have to produce 2 Virginia-class SSNs by 2028. Virginia and one Columbia-class SSBN per year, and even 2.3 Virginias from 2030, to absorb deliveries to Australia.

The American military naval industry will have to, in the next 5 years, multiply their production of nuclear submarines by 2.5, which will generate a transformation as radical as after the attack on Pearl Harbor, this time raising the Chinese challenge.

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Long the victim of a technologist bias linked to the perception of a drop in naval tensions in the world, the US Navy is now engaged in a very important effort to modernize its fleet, to meet the challenge posed by the Chinese Navy and the naval industry of the Middle Kingdom.

Indeed, if the US Navy remains today the most imposing naval force in terms of its tonnage and the power of its ships, the Beijing Navy is growing and modernizing, in number as well as in tonnage and operational capabilities, much more quickly than the American Navy fails to modernize.

SeaWolf, Zumwalt, LCS: these programs which scuttled the modernization of the US Navy for 25 years

It must be said that between the failures of the SSN Sea Wolf, DDG Zumwalt and LCS Independence and Freedom programs, it experienced significant losses of potential with, for example, the withdrawal of the OH Perry class anti-submarine frigates. compensated by LCS lacking performance, and volume losses.

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On the other hand, these programs turned out to be immense sinks without budgetary funds, having each cost more than $20 billion, the equivalent of 5 Virginia-class submarines, 7 Arleigh Burke destroyers, 15 Constellation class frigates, and even almost two Ford class aircraft carriers, while they only produced three submarines, three destroyers and around thirty almost useless LCSs.

In fact, today, the US Navy must simultaneously absorb the consequences of these failures, renew its fleet, and increase it, to hold the line against a Chinese Navy which welcomes around ten destroyers and frigates each year, as well as only one to two large amphibious or naval vessels, and two to three new submarines, it is true that they are still mainly conventionally powered.

If, in recent years, the Pentagon has obtained from the executive and Congress the necessary funds for this effort which will probably have nothing to envy of that undertaken in the 1980s with the Lehman plan, named after the Secretary of the Navy by Ronald Reagan, John Lehman who, in 1982, launched an initiative to bring the US Navy to 600 ships to respond to the modernization of the Soviet fleet initiated by Admiral Gorshkov in the 1970s.

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Nuclear submarine production for the US Navy must increase by 150% in 5 years

To meet this challenge, the Pentagon intends to considerably increase American military naval industrial production, going from the delivery of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and 2 LCS per year, to that of more than two Burke destroyers and a Constellation -class frigate, ships that are much more efficient and better armed than the LCS, production of which will soon cease.

The most important effort will focus on the production of American nuclear submarines. Indeed, today, the US Navy receives, on average, 1.3 new Virginia-class SSN nuclear attack submarines each year, a production not even sufficient to replace the retirement of the Los Angeles-class SSNs still in service. .

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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