WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Navy plans to buy a second Virginia-class attack submarine in Fiscal Year 2021 to keep the industrial base building two SSNs a year even during Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine procurement, several Navy officials confirmed today.
Due to concerns about overwhelming the two sub construction yards – Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat – with too much new work, as the Block V boats are set to include a new Virginia Payload Module section around the same time SSBN construction will begin, the Navy previously planned to buy just one SSN in years it also bought an SSBN. Due to an impending attack sub shortfall, though, Navy plans have continued to up and up the amount of work that could come to the two builders.
“In the past we had anticipated dropping down our submarine construction, our attack submarine construction, during years of the Columbia program procurement,” Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee this morning.
“In fact, we intend to, and we’re laying the groundwork, to sustain [a] two submarine per year procurement rate – because that is our number-one shortfall.”
Acting Navy acquisition chief Allison Stiller told the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee this afternoon that the Navy officially added a second SSN in FY 2021, and that it could even add a third attack boat in 2022 and 2023 – the years in between the first and second Columbia-class boomer.
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