WASHINGTON – Tossing overboard the budget constraints that have weighed down the US Navy’s attempts to grow its fleet, the world’s most powerful sea service is embarking on the biggest proposed expansion since the early 1980s, upping its goals from today’s 308 ships to a whopping 355 ships – beyond even the incoming Trump administration’s stated 350-ship goal.
The new Force Structure Assessment (FSA) provides one more aircraft carrier, 16 more large surface combatants and 18 more attack submarines over the current FSA. The plan also calls for 4 more amphibious warfare ships, 3 more expeditionary support bases and five more support ships.
The FSA also restores the Navy’s goal of 52 small surface combatants – littoral combat ships (LCS) and their follow-on frigate design – beating back outgoing Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s attempts to limit the total to 40 ships.
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