The U.S. Navy authorized ships in the Aegis Combat Weapon System baselines 5.3 and 3.A.0 series to carry the Raytheon Company Standard Missile-6 (SM-6). The authorization expands the missile’s use from five ships to more than 35 ships.
«SM-6 is the longest range integrated air and missile defense interceptor deployed, and its multi-role capabilities are unprecedented», said Mike Campisi, Standard Missile-6 senior program director. «Its use is transforming how we define fleet defense».
Raytheon has delivered more than 130 missiles to the U.S. Navy, which deployed SM-6 for the first time in December 2013.
SM-6 is a new surface-to-air supersonic missile capable of successfully engaging manned and unmanned aerial vehicles and fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. It also defends against land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles in flight.
Final assembly takes place at Raytheon’s state-of-the-art SM-6 and SM-3 all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
SM-6 delivers a proven over-the-horizon air defense capability by leveraging the time-tested advantages of the Standard Missile’s airframe and propulsion.
The SM-6 uses both active and semiactive guidance modes and advanced fuzing techniques.
It incorporates the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities from Raytheon’s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
Raytheon’s SM-6 is a key component in the U.S. Navy’s Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) providing the surface Navy with an increased battlespace against over-the-horizon anti-air warfare threats.
«The SM-6 is the newest addition to Raytheon’s highly successful Standard Missile family of missiles», said Wes Kremer, vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems product line. «This missile can use both active and semiactive modes, giving the warfighter an enhanced ability to intercept beyond-line-of-sight targets».
SM-6 has also been selected to fulfill the U.S. Navy’s Sea-Based Terminal (SBT) role and will provide defense against ballistic missiles in their terminal phase of flight, succeeding the SM-2 Blok IV missile. The initial version of the SBT, Increment 1, is to enter service around 2015, with a subsequent version, called Increment 2, to enter service around 2018
«The SM-6 represents the cutting-edge compilation of decades of best practices», said Mike Campisi, Raytheon’s SM-6 senior program director. «It’s been a model program from concept through development and testing. We’ve delivered on time and on budget at every step in the process».
The modified Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class will be designated as frigates, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced at the Surface Navy Association 2015 symposium. The name change follows the December decision by the Navy to up gun the existing LCS classes for the last 20 of the service’s 52 small surface combatant requirement as part of an almost yearlong study directed by the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD).
«One of the requirements of the Small Surface Combatant Task Force was to have a ship with frigate-like capabilities. Well, if it’s like a frigate, Let’s call it a frigate»? Mabus said. «We are going to change the hull designation of the LCS class ships to FF. It will still be the same ship, the same program of record, just with an appropriate and traditional name».
As the existing Flight 0 LCS are modified and back fitted with additional capabilities, they could earn the FF label, he said. Mabus said the name change came after consultation with Navy leadership, including Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA). Mabus said he often had confusing conversations about the LCS ship class. «It’s not an ‘L’ class ship», he said. «When I hear ‘L’ I think amphib, so does everybody else». The FF designation for the LCS will be the first of a planned set of nomenclature changes for other ships classes as well that will come in the coming weeks, Mabus said. He mentioned the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), the Mobile Landing Platform and the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) in his remarks.
As for the now Fast Frigate class, the up gunned variants are moving forward are set to be acquired starting in Fiscal Year 2019, will add about $50 to 60 million in weapons, sensors and armor to beef up the existing Flight 0 Austal USA Independence and Lockheed Martin Freedom class designs which are now being built for about $500 million a hull on average.
According to Sam LaGrone, USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, Navy leaders have highlighted the new ships will have an emphasis on anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare borrowing some of the modularity of the Flight 0 LCS designs. The Navy is set to deliver an acquisition strategy to the OSD in May and an analysis if some of the modifications can be back fit on to the existing LCS designs.
The Navy christened the future USNS Trenton (JHSV 5) January 10 during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony in Mobile, Alabama. «This ship represents the hard-working men and women of New Jersey and the importance of the American cities along the Delaware River. It represents American shipyard, factory, and assembly line workers who have been the backbone of the Arsenal of Democracy since President Franklin Roosevelt coined the phrase more than seven decades ago. It represents the American spirit of hard work, patriotism and perseverance», said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. «The USNS Trenton will carry these values and this spirit around the world. It is tailor-made for our 21st century operations and maritime security missions, from the wide expanses of the Pacific to the littorals of Africa».
JHSV 5 will be the fourth naval vessel to bear the name Trenton. The first ship was built following the Civil War and was named to honor George Washington’s Revolutionary War victory on the banks of the Delaware River. Since then, a ship bearing the name Trenton has served during every vital Navy mission until 2007 when the last ship was decommissioned.
The 338 foot-long (103 m) aluminum catamaran is under construction at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. JHSVs are ideal for fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, supplies and equipment. These ships are capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles (2,222 km) at an average speed of 35 knots (65 km/h) with berthing space for up to 104 personnel and airline-style seating for up to 312.
JHSVs have a 20,000 square foot (1,863 m2) open mission deck and a flight deck to support day and night launch and recovery operations, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. They can operate in a variety of roles to include supporting overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts.
Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Trenton will be designated as a United States Naval ship, and will have a core crew of 22 civilian mariners with military mission personnel embarking as necessary.
Material: Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall: 103 m/337.9 ft
Beam overall: 28.5 m/93.5 ft
Hull draft (maximum): 3.83 m/12.57 ft
Area (with tie-downs): 1,863 m2/20,053 ft2
Clear Height: 4.75 m/15.6 ft
Turning diameter: 26.2 m/86.0 ft
ISO TEU Stations: 6 Interface Panels
Single SR: 2
Double SR: 6
Quad SR: 7
Troop Seats: 312
Galley and Messing: 48
Main Engines: 4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
Gear boxes: 4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
Waterjets: 4 Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
Average: 35 knots/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
Maximum: 43 knots/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit: 1,200 NM/2,222 km
Self-Deployment: 5,600 NM/10,371 km
Survival Through: SS-7
NAVAIR Level 1 Class 2 Certified Flight Deck for one helicopter
Centreline parking area for one helicopter
NAVAIR Level 1 class 4 Type 2 Certified VERTREP
Helicopter Control Station
Active Ride Control
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 ft2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
Articulated Slewing Stern Ramp
Straight aft to 45 Starboard
Telescoping Boom Crane
12.3 mt @ 15 m, 18.2 mt @ 10 m/13.6 Lt @ 49.2 ft, 20.1 Lt @ 32.8 ft
India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently approved the INR15 billion ($243.5 million) procurement of 13 127-mm guns for Indian Navy (IN) warships, for which Italy’s OTO Melara was the sole bidder.
According to Rahul Bedi, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, OTO Melara has offered its 127/64 LW – Vulcano gun system for 13 indigenously designed and built Shivalik-class frigates and Delhi-class destroyers. OTO Melara emerged as the solitary vendor after BAE Systems declined to field its 127 mm/62 calibre Mk-45 Naval Gun System.
The November 2013 tender stipulated that three of the 13 naval guns would be imported and the remaining 10 licence-built by state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) at Haridwar, 200 km north of New Delhi. The MoD also wanted the vendors to undertake production, quality control and timeline guarantees for the BHEL-produced naval guns but without providing the vendor with executive or supervisory authority over the public sector company. BAE Systems opposed this arrangement, and in an official statement declared its unwillingness to accept the «disproportionate level of risk» in the tender.
Industry sources said OTO Melara has no such reservations as BHEL has been licence-producing its 76/62 Super Rapid Light gun since the mid-1990s. The contract will require special clearance by the MoD’s Defence Acquisition Council, however, as India’s Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) discourages solitary bids. The DPP provides for exceptions based on operational exigencies, of which the 127-mm gun procurement is one, Indian Navy sources said.
OTO Melara: 127/64 LW – VULCANO System
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO System consists of four key sub-systems:
The medium caliber 127/64 LW Gun assembly;
The Automated Ammunition Handling System;
The Naval Fire Control Support;
The VULCANO family of ammunition.
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO is a state of art medium caliber gun suitable for installation on large and medium size ships and intended for surface fire and naval gunfire support as main role and anti-aircraft fire as secondary role. The compactness of the gun feeding system makes possible the installation on narrow section crafts.
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO is equipped with a modular feeding magazine, composed by 4 drums with 14 ready to fire ammunition each, reloadable during firing, and highly flexible in terms of selection of ammunition, independently from their position in the drums. Ammunition flow is reversible as rounds can be downloaded automatically.
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO can fire all standard 127-mm/5 inches ammunition as well as the new VULCANO family of ammunition.
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO has digital/analogical interface and ballistic calculation capabilities that allow a smooth integration with any Combat Management System.
The Automatic Ammunition Handling System is a modular solution adaptable to any ship ammunition magazine layout; it is able to load the feeding magazine of the gun without man assistance during operation to allow a sustained firing action of the gun. The system is able to handle both standard 127-mm/5-inches ammunition and new VULCANO family of ammunition.
The Naval Fire Control Support is a mission planning system that may support the Combat Management System for definition of possible firing solutions, ammunition selection, trajectory definition, best ship course identification.
The 127-mm VULCANO ammunition family is composed by Ballistic Extended Range (BER) and Guided Long Range (GLR) ammunition with different multifunctional fuses, sensor and final guidance that extend the range of the gun up to 100 km.
The 127/64 LW VULCANO System is ITAR free and it has been currently selected by three customers.
Rate of fire: 32 rds/min ± 10% elevation depending
Dry Weight (without ammunition): 33,000 kg ± 5% configuration depending
Training arc: ±155º
Elevation arc: -12º/+70º
Training speed/acceleration max: 40º/sec (60º/sec2)
After waiting on the U.S. to make good on plans to develop a diesel electric attack submarine (SSK) for almost 15 years, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence announced it was kicking off its own domestic attack submarine construction program, the agency told Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan. Defense officials told the legislative body preparation work would begin this year starting with a modest $315,000 start into a $94.46 million four-year effort, beginning in earnest in 2016.
According to Sam LaGrone, USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, the planned result would be around four SSKs to replace the island’s current boats – 2 Dutch-built, 1980s vintage 2,600-ton Hai-lang-class SSKs and 2 World War II era U.S. Guppy-class boats used for training. «At present the navy’s demand is submarines ranging from 1,200-3,000 tons», Vice Adm. Hsiao Wei-min with the Republic of China Navy (RoCN) told the legislator on Monday.
The new boats are a long awaited hedge against the expansion of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the looming threat of an amphibious assault from the mainland. «After Taiwan has lost air and sea control, it’s the submarines that will still be able to attack groups of amphibious landing aircraft», Wang Jyh-perng, RoCN reserve captain told the Asia Times.
As is known, in 2001, the Bush administration promised Taiwan 8 U.S.-built SSKs but the boats never materialized for several reasons. With rare exception, the U.S. naval submarine industrial base has built only nuclear submarines (SSN) since the 1960s. Moreover, there are elements in the U.S. Navy are also reportedly reluctant to stray from the SSN model.
Taiwan’s other submarine options are non-existent. Other countries have been fearful of drawing the ire of mainland China by supplying Taiwan with submarines, or even design help. By the way, in November, 2014 the Chinese foreign ministry reiterated its position on foreign design aid to the RoCN following the announcement of U.S. and Italian companies in developing a domestic mine countermeasures (MCM) ship.
«We ask relevant countries to respect China’s core interests, adhere to the one-China principle, neither sell arms to Taiwan in any form nor assist Taiwan in developing its military equipment, and take concrete actions to support the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and peaceful reunification of China», said a foreign ministry spokesman.
Taiwan is now in the midst of naval capabilities refresh. In addition to the new SSK submarine program, it plans to acquire four U.S. Oliver Hazard Perry frigates – the USS Taylor (FFG-50), USS Gary (FFG-51), USS Carr (FFG-52) and USS Elrod (FFG-55) – and has recently launched the first of a planned class of missile frigates (USS Taylor).
The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) has received its third Incheon-class guided-missile frigate, delivered under the Future Frigate Experimental (FFX) programme, Ridzwan Rahmat, IHS Jane’s Navy International correspondent reported.
The news agency Yonhap cited the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) as saying that the vessel, named RoKS Jeonbuk (pennant number 813), will become operational in May following a four-month integration process. The warship is expected to take on roles such as maritime surveillance and anti-submarine patrol.
Jeonbuk is the third ship in the class to be produced by shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries. The company was also contracted to produce the first two vessels in class, Incheon (811) and Gyeonggi (812), commissioned in January 2013 and November 2014 respectively. Another local company, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, has been contracted to produce ships four to six.
IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships notes that a further nine ships are projected to enter service by 2020. This batch of nine will be built to a substantially revised design. Some estimates suggest that a class of up to 20 vessels in total may be procured.
HDF-3000 type Frigate (official designation of the FFX) is the latest multi-purpose combatant. The modern, powerful, stealthy frigate will replace HDF-2000 Ulsan Class Frigate, which have been operating as major force of RoKN ever since delivery by HHI in 1980 HDF-2000H is derivative and 2nd generation of HDF-2000 with helicopter landing deck and hangar, applying stealth technology.
Equipped with Raytheon’s Mk-49 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile surface-to-air weapon, a Phalanx Block 1B Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), and a hull-mounted sonar, the platform offers improved Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities. As IHS Jane’s reported, the RoKN will deploy AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat ASW helicopters on the Incheon class.
The frigates’ six torpedo tubes (2×3) will carry indigenously developed K745 Cheong Sangeo (Blue Shark) 324 mm torpedoes: these weapons have a speed in excess of 45 knots/51.8 mph/83 km/h; they can also be operated in shallow waters such as the Korean peninsula’s West Sea.
The Incheon-class frigates have a length of 114 m, a beam of 14 m, and a draught of 4 m. The frigates displace 3,200 tons at full load and can attain a top speed of 30 knots/34.5 mph/56 km/h. Maximum range is 4500 NM/8,334 km at a cruising speed of 18 knots/20.7 mph/33 km/h. The vessel is powered by gas turbines in a CODOG configuration (Combined diesel or gas). The new frigates accommodate a crew of 140.
The third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy was encapsulated into its payload fairing. It is scheduled to launch January 20 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
«This third MUOS launch is another major step toward achieving a fully operational MUOS end-to-end capability by 2016», said Navy Capt. Joseph Kan, the MUOS program manager in a statement. «The Navy, in close collaboration with the Army, Air Force and our industry partners, is bringing the future of worldwide mobile satellite communications into reality for the United States and potentially allied nations».
MUOS operates like a smart phone network in the sky, vastly improving current secure mobile satellite communications for warfighters on the move. Unlike previous systems, MUOS provides users an on-demand, beyond-line-of-sight capability to transmit and receive high-quality, prioritized voice and mission data, on a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.
«MUOS is a game changer in communications for our warfighters and will allow them to have high-fidelity voice conversations, networked team calls and data exchange, including video, with anyone connected to a secure terminal around the world», said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. «The launch of MUOS-3 will increase our network coverage to about three-quarters of the globe».
Replacing the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Follow-On system, MUOS satellites have two payloads to ensure UHF narrowband communications accessibility and new capabilities. MUOS’ advanced Wideband Code Division Access (WCDMA) payload incorporates commercial technology and a new waveform to provide users priority-based capacity. Once fully operational, MUOS will provide comparatively 16 times the capacity of the legacy system. More than 50,000 terminals in the field today can be retrofitted with WCDMA.
MUOS is expected to provide warfighters global coverage before the end of 2015. MUOS-1 and MUOS-2, launched respectively in 2012 and 2013, are already operational and providing high-quality voice communications. MUOS-4 is on track to launch later in the year. The fourth and final required MUOS ground station also is expected to be operational early next year.
For MUOS, Lockheed Martin is building on its proven record of providing progressively advanced spacecraft for protected, narrowband and wideband military satellite communications. Lockheed Martin built the legacy Milstar protected communications satellites, as well as the Defense Satellite Communications Systems (DSCS) wideband communications spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force. Lockheed Martin is also the prime contractor on the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program, a next-generation military satellite communications system to deliver vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.
According to Sam LaGrone, the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, MUOS was originally to be paired with the Pentagon’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program that was cancelled in 2011. Now there are few program of record radios for the systems, though General Dynamics, Rockwell Collins and Harris have developed MUOS compatible radios.
Communication Service Types
Voice: Conversational and recognition voice
Data: Low data rate telemetry, short digital messaging, imagery transfer, file transfer, electronic mail, remote computer access, remote sensor reception, sporadic messaging for distributed applications, video, video teleconferencing
Mixed Voice and Data Services: Mixed transport of voice and data
Satellites: 4 GEO satellites and an on-orbit spare. 16 WCDMA beams per satellite. Satellite carries MUOS WCDMA and legacy UHF SATCOM payloads
Access Type: WCDMA
Up to 384 kbps on the move
Four 5-MHz carriers
IPv4 and IPv6 dual stack network
Portal to Defense Information Systems Network:
DSN, SIPRNET, NIPRNET
Access Type: Legacy UHF SATCOM
17 25-kHz and 21 5-kHz channels
The foundation of the MUOS architecture is a direct sequence spread spectrum WCDMA waveform leveraged from 3G commercial mobile technologies. WCDMA offers adaptive power control to provide the required quality of service to each user while simultaneously maximizing system capacity. MUOS uses Internet Protocol versions 4 and 6 (IPv4/IPv6) to give the warfighter global roaming connectivity to the Global Information Grid. The architecture is also designed for significant growth as capacity demand increases. In fact, the MUOS frequency allocation reserves enough space for four more satellites, providing effortless growth capability.
According to Kris Osborn, Military.com Daily News correspondent, the U.S. Navy is making progress developing a more sensitive, next-generation radar system engineered to integrate onto new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers by 2023.
The Air and Missile Defense Radar, or AMDR, is said to be at least 30-times more sensitive than radars configured on existing DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. «Among other things, the additional power and sensitivity will allow the ship to detect a much wider range of threats at much greater distances», said Capt. Mark Vandroff, program manager DDG 51 Shipbuilding.
«I can see a target that is half the size, twice as far away. What this means is an individual destroyer will be able to engage more ballistic missiles at the same time versus what you have today – and it will be able to engage more advanced threats because it can see them farther away», Vandroff said. «It can see smaller objects farther away so it will be better at picking out what is a threat versus what is not a threat».
«The AMDR platform, being developed by Raytheon Co. under an EMD (Engineering and Manufacturing Development) contract awarded in October 2013, will enable next-generation Flight III DDG 51s to defend much larger areas compared with the AN/SPY-1D radar on existing destroyers», Vandroff said.
The Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) Program successfully completed a Hardware Critical Design Review (CDR) in conjunction with prime contractor, Raytheon, in Sudbury, Massachusetts, December 3, 2014.
AMDR provides greater detection ranges and increased discrimination accuracy compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s destroyers. The system is built with individual «building blocks» called RMAs (Radar Modular Assemblies). Each RMA is a self-contained radar transmitter and receiver in a 2’x2’x2’ box. These RMAs stack together to fit the required array size of any ship, making AMDR the Navy’s first truly scalable radar.
This advanced radar comprises:
S-band radar – a new, integrated air and missile defense radar;
X-band radar – a horizon-search radar based on existing technology;
The Radar Suite Controller (RSC) – a new component to manage radar resources and integrate with the ship’s combat management system.
Scalable to suit any size aperture or mission requirement;
Over 30 times more sensitive than AN/SPY-1D(V);
Can simultaneously handle over 30 times the targets than AN/SPY-1D(V) to counter large and complex raids;
Adaptive digital beamforming and radar signal/data processing functionality is reprogrammable to adapt to new missions or emerging threats.
It is said in The Want China Times that The Taiwan Navy formally took delivery of its first locally designed stealth missile corvette, a vessel expected to enhance Taiwan’s anti-ship capabilities. Taiwan defense minister Yen Ming presided over the ceremony in a commercial harbor in Suao, during which the 500-ton corvette – the Tuo Jiang («Tuo River») – was officially handed over from Lung Teh Shipbuilding to the Navy.
The Navy will now begin training personnel to familiarize them with the craft. The vessel, which costs about $66.4 million, is expected to be put into service in March 2015, an unnamed Naval official said. The delivery of the stealth missile corvette comes as part of the Navy’s efforts to replace its aging fleet.
The twin-hull Hsun-hai class corvette will be equipped with several weapons, including the locally developed Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles, a 76-mm gun and Mark-46 torpedoes, the Navy said.
The first-ever captain of the Tuo Jiang will be Lt Cmdr Wang Te-jean, who was formerly the captain of a Chinchiang-class corvette. «I was excited but also nervous when I was told that I would be the captain of the Tuo Jiang», Wang said. Asked by the media about the features of the corvette, he lauded its mobility and high-performance. It also has strong combat capabilities because of the weapons on board, he added. «The ship has good mobility and it can carry as many as eight Hsiung Feng III supersonic missiles, which can be used to attack aircraft carriers», he said. With a range of about 150 kilometers, the supersonic Hsiung Feng III is described as an «aircraft carrier killer».
According to its original design, the corvette has a maximum speed of 38 knots (43.7 mph/70 km/h), but has reached 44 knots (50.6 mph/81 km/h) during recent sea trials, Wang said. Another characteristic of the corvette is that the captain can control the vessel via remote control and does not have to stay at the navigation bridge to control the direction of the ship, he said.
Commissioned by the Navy, Lung Teh Shipbuilding began construction of the Tuo Jiang in late 2012, and it was christened in March 2014. It has a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,704km), measures 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters in width, and can carry a crew of up to 41 people.
The Navy plans to commission between 8 and 12 of the corvettes if sufficient funding can be obtained in the future.
The Department of Defense (DoD) submitted the Navy’s 2015 shipbuilding plan, which covers fiscal years 2015 to 2044, to the Congress in July 2014. The total costs of carrying out the 2015 plan – an average of about $21 billion in 2014 dollars per year over the next 30 years – would be one-third higher than the funding amounts that the Navy has received in recent decades, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates.
The Navy’s 2015 shipbuilding plan is very similar, but not identical, to its 2014 plan with respect to the Navy’s total inventory goal for battle force ships, the number and types of ships the Navy would purchase, and the proposed funding to implement the plans.
The 2015 shipbuilding plan states that the Navy’s goal is to have 11 aircraft carriers. The Navy intends to buy six CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers over the 2015-2044 period. Building one carrier every five years (referred to as five-year centers) would enable the Navy to have a force of at least 11 carriers almost continuously through 2044, with two exceptions. One exception would be from 2015 to 2016, when the number of carriers would be 10. That temporary decline occurs because the Enterprise (CVN-65) was retired in early 2013 after 52 years of service, and the next new carrier, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), will not be commissioned until 2016. Any delays in completing that new carrier would extend the period during which the Navy has only 10 carriers. The other exception would be from 2040 to 2044 and beyond. If carriers continued to be built every five years and to serve for 50 years, the Navy’s carrier force would fall to 10 in 2040 and remain at that level.
The next carrier following the CVN-78 will be the CVN-79, the John F. Kennedy. Funding for that ship began in 2007, the Congress officially authorized its construction in 2013, and appropriations for it are expected to be complete by 2018. The Navy estimates that the ship will cost $11.5 billion in nominal dollars ($160 million more than the estimate under the President’s 2014 budget) and $10.6 billion in 2014 dollars. In its selected acquisition report on the CVN-79, the Navy describes its cost estimate as an «aggressive but achievable target». In contrast, CBO estimates that the cost of the ship will be $12.6 billion in nominal dollars and $11.5 billion in 2014 dollars, about 8 percent more than the Navy’s estimate.
Ohio Replacement Ballistic Missile Submarines
SSBNs carry Trident ballistic missiles and are the sea-based leg of the United States’ strategic triad for delivering nuclear weapons. (The other two legs are land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and manned strategic bombers.) The design, cost, and capabilities of the Ohio Replacement submarine class are among the most significant uncertainties in the Navy’s and CBO’s analyses of the cost of future shipbuilding. Under the 2015 plan, the first Ohio Replacement submarine – sometimes called the SSBN(X) – would be purchased in 2021, although advance procurement funds would be needed starting in 2016 for items with long lead times. The second submarine would be purchased in 2024, followed by one per year from 2026 to 2035.
The Navy currently estimates the cost of the first Ohio Replacement submarine at $12.4 billion in 2014 dollars. The estimated average cost of follow-on ships is now $6.0 billion, which implies a total cost for 12 submarines of $79 billion, or an average of $6.6 billion each. However, the Navy has stated an objective of reducing that $6.0 billion figure to $5.5 billion.
Under the 2015 plan, the Navy would buy 31 Virginia class attack submarines. Between 2015 and 2033, those purchases would occur mostly at a rate alternating between one and two per year. In 2034, the Navy would switch to an improved Virginia class but maintain the same build rate of one or two per year. With such a procurement schedule, the attack submarine force would remain at or above the Navy’s goal of 48 submarines through 2024 but would then fall to between 41 and 47 submarines between 2025 and 2034 before reaching or exceeding 48 submarines again beginning in 2035.
Senior Navy leaders have stated that Virginia class SSNs would have to cost $2.8 billion or less apiece for the Navy to be able to afford 2 per year.24 The President’s 2015 budget indicates a current cost of those vessels of $2.6 billion each. For the entirety of the Virginia class under the 2015 shipbuilding plan, the Navy’s and CBO’s estimates are virtually the same: The Navy estimates that the total cost for all 31 of the Virginia class submarines purchased between 2015 and 2044 would be about $88 billion, and CBO estimates that cost at $90 billion.
Large Surface Combatants
The Navy’s 2015 plan incorporates the purchase of the same types of destroyers as the 2014 plan. The service restarted production of DDG-51 Flight IIA destroyers in 2010 and purchased eight ships through 2014 (in addition to the 62 ships that had been purchased when production was initially stopped in 2005). The Navy plans to purchase three more DDG-51 Flight IIAs through 2016. Beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2029, the Navy plans to purchase 27 DDG-51s with an upgraded design, a configuration known as Flight III. In 2030, the Navy would start buying 33 DDG(X)s, a not-yetdesigned destroyer intended to replace the DDG-51 class.
Like the Navy’s 2014 shipbuilding plan, the current plan includes a future class of destroyers intended to replace the DDG-51 Flight I and II ships when they retire in the late 2020s and 2030s.31 The Navy’s 2015 plan describes the ship as a «mid-sized future surface combatant» but does not provide further specification.32 CBO has adopted a generic DDG(X) designation, implying an unknown design.
Under the 2015 plan, production of the DDG(X) would start in 2030, which would make it a successor to the DDG-51 Flight III program. The Navy says that it would buy 35 DDG(X)s at an average cost of $1.8 billion, or about $200 million more than the cost of DDG-51 Flight III ships. Those cost estimates imply that the DDG(X)’s capabilities would represent a relatively modest improvement over those of the DDG-51 Flight III or (if capabilities were significantly improved) the DDG(X) would be a smaller ship than the DDG-51 Flight III.
The large amount of uncertainty about the ultimate size and capabilities of the DDG(X) suggests that the true cost could be substantially different from either the Navy’s or CBO’s estimate.
Littoral Combat Ships
In the 2015 plan, the Navy envisions building a force of 52 small surface combatants called littoral combat ships by 2025. The first LCS was authorized in 2005, and the Navy already has 20 of those ships either in its fleet or under construction – 10 each of two different designs being built by two different contractors. Because those ships are assumed to have a service life of 25 years, the Navy would need to begin procuring their replacements in 2030. Therefore, the Navy plans to purchase 32 more LCSs through 2025 to complete its initial force of 52 ships and then to purchase 34 next-generation ships, called LCS(X)s, between 2030 and 2044 to replace the first-generation LCSs as they retire.
Both the Navy and CBO assumed that the LCS(X)s would have the capabilities of the Flight 0 ships they would be replacing rather than those of the later Flight 1 ships. The Navy’s cost estimate for an LCS(X) is $473 million, just slightly more (after adjusting for inflation) than the expected average cost of an LCS Flight 0. CBO estimates the average cost of the LCS(X) would be a little higher, about $500 million per ship. CBO’s current estimate is less than its estimate last year, when CBO assumed that the LCS(X) would look more like the proposed Flight 1. If the LCX(X) were designed to meet or exceed the capabilities of the LCS Flight 1, then its cost would probably be higher than the Navy and CBO now estimate.
Amphibious Warfare Ships
The Navy’s inventory goal for amphibious warfare ships is 33. The proposed force would consist of 11 LHA or LHD amphibious assault ships, 11 LPD amphibious transport docks, and 11 replacements for the Navy’s LSD dock landing ships. In pursuit of that force, the 2015 plan calls for buying 7 LHA-6s, at a rate of 1 every four or seven years, to replace LHD-1 class amphibious assault ships as they are retired.38 The plan envisions buying 11 LX(R)s (the replacement for LSDs), 1 every other year between 2020 and 2028 and then 1 per year until 2034, to replace existing dock landing ships in the LSD-41 and LSD-49 classes. Under the 2015 plan, the LX(R) would enter the fleet one year later than under the 2014 plan. (This is the third consecutive shipbuilding plan in which the Navy has delayed the start of the LSD replacement class by one year.) The 2015 plan would also start replacing the LPD-17 class with a new class in the early 2040s, buying one ship each in 2040, 2042, and 2044.
Based on the limited information available now, CBO estimates the cost of the LX(R) at an average of $1.8 billion per ship. CBO used the existing LPD-17 hull as the starting point for its estimate and then adjusted the ship’s size to reflect the reduced capability it expects for the LX(R). CBO’s estimate also accounts for the use of multiyear or block buy procurement authority in a potentially competitive environment. Various factors could cause the actual cost to be above or below the estimate. For example, it is not clear that the Navy would be able to conduct a full and open competition for the LX(R) in light of the fact that the yard currently building the LPD-17 class, Ingalls of Huntington-Ingalls Industries, would presumably enter the bidding with a significant advantage. The Navy might also have a limited ability to benefit from competition for the LX(R) if the Congress directed the Navy to ensure that all of the shipyards building the Navy’s ships received enough business to remain profitable. In contrast, if the Navy designs and builds the LX(R) in ways that are substantially different from the methods used for the LPD-17, then the cost of the new ships could be less than CBO estimates.