WASHINGTON: Mr. Trump, we’ll see your campaign pledge of a 350-ship fleet and raise you five vessels, the US Navy effectively said this morning. The long-anticipated Force Structure Assessment calls for a fleet of 355 ships to counter “a growing China and a resurgent Russia,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced today.
That’s almost 14 percent higher than the Navy’s previous goal of 308 ships, set back in 2014, and almost 30 percent higher than the fleet’s actual size today, 275. The largest category of growth? Nuclear-powered attack submarines, considered the stealthy capital ships of future war zones too lethal for surface vessels. This is the first increase in the goal for subs since 2004, noted a pleased Rep. Joe Courtney, top Democrat on the House seapower subcommittee, and it’s a doozy: from 48 boats to 66.
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For Congressional Reactions and further analysis, read this article also from Breaking Defense: The 355-Ship Fleet Will Take Decades, Billions To Build: Analysts