The Navy and industry must prove they can reliably build a Virginia-class attack submarine in just 60 months before talks start about increasing the quantity of boats built each year, the Navy’s top uniformed acquisition official told USNI News.
While talks continue about the submarine industry’s workload and how much that workload can be increased – whether industry can handle not only the addition of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program and the Virginia Payload Module but also an increase to two Virginia-class SSNs every year or even three in some years – those intimately involved in the Virginia-class program are closely monitoring the time it takes to build an SSN and deliver it to the operational fleet.
Vice Adm. David Johnson, the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition – and a former Virginia-class program manager and program executive officer for submarines – said achieving and preserving the shorter construction timeline has to trump greater quantity when talking about the future of SSN construction.
The Navy and its two shipyards, General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding, have already reduced the delivery timeline by two years and cut cost by 20 percent, all while adding in greater capabilities through block upgrades, Johnson said. By the end of the Block IV submarine production, the yards will be on 60-month construction cycles, followed by three months of testing and a three-month post-shakedown availability, for a total of a 66-month delivery timeline.
Read the full story here.