https://www.defensenews.com/news/your-navy/2018/04/23/us-navy-gearing-up-for-boost-in-submarine-production/US Navy gearing up for boost in submarine production
By: Julia Bergman, The (New London, Conn.) Day via AP 52 minutes ago
build three attack submarines in some years as opposed to two, and wants to keep five of its attack submarines in service longer than expected to address a dip in the number of nuclear-powered attack submarines in coming years.
The U.S. attack submarine fleet is expected to shrink by 20 percent over the next decade. There are 52 attack submarines today; by 2028, that number is expected to dip to 42. The Navy has said it needs a fleet of 66 attack submarines, but that isn’t expected to happen until 2048 under current plans.
Meanwhile, the Navy continues to drive down the construction timeline for the Virginia-class attack submarine program. At the outset, the boats were built in 84 months. Then the Navy reduced the construction timeline to 74 months, and now the goal is to build them in 66 months.
The Navy wants to knock off even more time, which means pressure is mounting on Electric Boat and hundreds of submarine suppliers in Connecticut to keep on schedule. Already, EB has been busy building two Virginia-class submarines a year with Newport News Shipbuilding and thousands of suppliers across the country. The submarines cost about $2.7 billion each to build.
“Everybody has, I think, reached consensus that this part of the fleet is more and more prized by combatant commanders, and now that the dip in fleet size is getting imminent, time and delivery is even more of a priority,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.
The Navy is negotiating the contract for the next group of attack submarines it wants to build from 2019 to 2023. Congress authorized the production of up to 13 Virginia submarines during that period, but the Navy has indicated it wants to build 12. That would mean building three submarines in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Costs still are being figured out, and Congress would have to approve any funding.
“I’m still committed to having options in that contract for additional submarines in ’22 and ’23, should that be something we jointly decide to do and can afford,” Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts said at a recent congressional hearing.
The Navy also is proposing to extend for up to 10 years the service life of five Los Angeles-class attack submarines, which the Virginia submarines are replacing. At this point, no Groton-based submarines are being considered for service life extension.
The Virginia program has been hailed for boats being delivered on time and within budget, but there have been setbacks. Some boats were affected by welding issues, causing delays in their getting out into the fleet, and in some cases there’s been delays in getting parts, which has slowed down construction.
The 15 Virginia submarines currently in the fleet were delivered within 5 percent of the contracted deadline, according to Capt. Chris Hanson, the Navy’s new Virginia program manager.
“To do this work, we have to ensure the vendor base, our 5,000 vendors, is feeding the system with quality parts on time,” Hanson said.
Keith Macdowall, vice president of Prime Technology LLC in North Branford, which makes display systems for submarines similar to those seen on car dashboards, said EB has been proactive about alerting its suppliers what to expect with the ramp-up in submarine production.
“The nuclear shipbuilding supply base is poised to ramp up production capacity to support the increased demand associated with the Navy’s Shipbuilding Plan,” Liz Power, spokeswoman for EB, said in an emailed statement. “We have developed strategic plans to ensure we have the workforce, facilities and supply chain in place to respond to current and potential needs, and have shared these plans with the Navy.”
The biggest concern for suppliers is getting materials on time and ensuring they have the equipment and employees in place to do the work, according to Macdowall. Federal lawmakers have appropriated tens of millions of dollars to help suppliers prepare for the ramp-up, such as buying parts in advance.
Macdowall, who is co-chairman of the Submarine Industrial Base Council, said the organization had a record turnout for its annual summit in Washington in March. He estimated 400 people attended, which shows the level of interest in this work, he said.
I am sure this next one will draw some ire so please don't spam up the thread with chest thumping. I am just posting the news.
https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/04/23/incoming-us-pacific-command-chief-wants-to-increase-presence-near-china-isr-capabilities/Incoming US Pacific Command chief wants to increase presence near China
By: Mike Yeo 6 hours ago
stationed in the vital region, adding that China is now effectively able to control the South China Sea and challenge the U.S. presence in the region.
In his testimony at last week’s Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing, Adm. Philip Davidson also said he will work to recalibrate U.S. force posture in the Indo-Pacific region to align with the recently released 2018 National Defense Strategy, an effort he said “entails ensuring the continued combat readiness of assigned forces in the western Pacific (and) developing an updated footprint that accounts for China’s rapid modernization.”
Davidson, who has been nominated to take over U.S. Pacific Command, or PACOM, also said the strategic and operational environment outlined in the NDS clearly identifies the importance of developing and fielding a force posture that is capable of “countering Chinese malign influence in the region,” while describing actions in the South China Sea such as the One Belt One Road Initiative as China executing its own deliberate and thoughtful force posture initiatives.
Due to the distances involved in the Indo-Pacific, Davidson stressed that the U.S. cannot solely rely on surge forces from the continental United States to deter Chinese aggression or prevent a fait accompli. He also said PACOM must maintain a robust, blunt layer that effectively deters Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific.
U.S. Navy Adm. Philip Davidson, the incoming PACOM chief, is shown addressing Marines and sailors during a joint promotion and re-enlistment ceremony on May 27, 2016. (Sgt. Rebecca L. Floto/U.S. Marine Corps)
However, he added there is insufficient forward-deployed and rotational forces from all three services in PACOM’s area of responsibility, or AOR, and the current force structure and presence does “not sufficiently counter the threats in the Indo-Pacific.”
He specifically noted that PACOM only has a quarter of its required intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability in its AOR, although he declined to go into further details of the ISR shortfall, instead saying “the shortfalls are identified and have been highlighted in PACOM’s regular contacts with the Joint Staff.”
Additional requirements for the AOR include command-and-control capabilities, as well as the “integration of long-range, high-speed, lethal, survivable and precision munitions capabilities in ships, submarines, patrol craft, land-based formations, bombers and fighters.” These, combined with robust numbers of fifth-generation platforms and the necessary tankers and transports, will provide U.S. forces an advantage in a denied environment in the near term, the officer explained.
Davidson also touched on the continuing effort to field a new generation of weapons such as the Conventional Prompt Global Strike long-range hypersonic weapons, which he said “will help meet military requirements in PACOM” by expanding the competitive space and by taking on adversaries in areas where the U.S. possesses advantages and adversaries lack strength.
Still, he cautioned that China has already been doing the same by weaponizing space and improving its ballistic missile technology and cyber capabilities.
The state of follow-on forces to be deployed to the AOR in the event of a conflict was also an area of worry, with Davidson expressing concern about the manning, training and equipping of U.S. follow-on forces. He emphasized that continuing resolutions, delayed appropriations and sequestration stemming from the budget impasse directly impacts the size and speed of a military response.