Due to concerns about overwhelming the two sub construction yards – Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat – with too much new work, as the Block V boats are set to include a new Virginia Payload Module section around the same time SSBN construction will begin, the Navy previously planned to buy just one SSN in years it also bought an SSBN. Due to an impending attack sub shortfall, though, Navy plans have continued to up and up the amount of work that could come to the two builders.
“In the past we had anticipated dropping down our submarine construction, our attack submarine construction, during years of the Columbia program procurement,” Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee this morning.
“In fact, we intend to, and we’re laying the groundwork, to sustain [a] two submarine per year procurement rate – because that is our number-one shortfall.”
Our aging Los Angeles-class attack subs are being retired faster than the Virginia-class boats can be built to replace them — too fast even by our plan to shrink the submarine fleet.