The US naval industry fails to deliver the promised 2 nuclear submarines per year, and that's a big problem!

The US Navy and the Pentagon have great ambitions, which rely heavily on increasing the production rates of the US naval industry, in order to be able to face China and its powerful and rapidly evolving Navy. American shipyards will, in fact, have to produce two nuclear attack submarines, and a much larger nuclear ballistic missile submarine, each year, to give substance to the fleet hoped for by the American admiralty. .

However, this industry seems to be struggling to increase its production rates, as shown by the Pentagon's finance law for 2025, currently being designed, which only plans to order a single Virginia-class SSN, in what looks like much, to an inevitable regression to the mean.

A single SSN Virginia-class Block IV nuclear attack submarine ordered by the US Navy in 2025

After ordering two new Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines in 2023 and 2025, the US Navy is preparing, according to the information obtained by several specialized defense sites, across the Atlantic, to order only one Virginia in 2025.

SSN Virginia production plant
American shipyards are building 8 Virginia-class submarines simultaneously and at any given time, at different stages of completion.

This would, where appropriate, be a tacit recognition of the difficulties encountered by the two shipyards engaged in the construction of American submarines, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News, Virginia, and General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut.

These two companies have shared, until now, the construction of the Virginia class SSNs, since 1999, while GDEB began, in 2022, the construction of the first Columbia class SSBN, called to replace the Ohio from 2031, until 1942, and the delivery of the last ship of the class.

The US naval industry is in production saturation, and is unable to progress

There are, today, six Virginias under construction before their launch, and two already launched, currently being finished. Construction of these ships began in 2020, with two new ships per year, until 2023.

Knowing that 5 years separate, on average, the start of work and delivery to the US Navy, American shipyards have therefore reached their critical format, with 8 ships under construction at the end of 2023, to support the pace of 2 SSN per year.

However, this view is misleading. Indeed, the construction of a single Columbia-class SSBN began in 2022, although it will take 10 years to deliver the ship to meet delivery deadlines.

US naval industry Launch of a Virginia Block IV SSN
American industrial production could certainly sustain the pace of 2 Virginia SSNs delivered each year. But it will be very difficult to do so, having to simultaneously deliver one Columbia SSBN per year.

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