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NSSN Virginia-class - current status and future

Moose

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Questions about US Navy attack sub program linger as contract negotiations drag.
The U.S. Navy is months behind schedule getting its latest batch of Virginia-class attack subs under contract, and no resolution appears imminent — leading to mounting concerns that delays on the Virginia will affect the Navy’s top acquisition priority, the Columbia-class submarine.

The contract for the 10-ship Block V Virginia-class attack submarine was supposed to be signed in April, but Navy and industry sources say that there has been a lot of talk and little agreement between the service and the two shipbuilders, General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Newport News.
At the center of this is a rather large cutback in the number of VPM boats, which complicates the yards' plans no end.
The delays center on the integration of the Virginia payload module and just how many the Navy intends to buy. Until this year, the public plan was for Virginia Block V to be a 10-ship class, where the first boat would integrate the acoustic upgrades but the follow-on boats would all integrate the VPM, which is designed to triple the Virginia’s Tomahawk payload capacity to 40 per hull. When the Pentagon’s 2020 budget request dropped in March, the plan changed, with the total buy expanded to 11 hulls with eight VPM boats.

But according to sources who spoke to Defense News, the builder was laying the groundwork for the original plan, which the Navy had already purchased long-lead material toward. The confusion over just how many VPMs the Navy intends to buy has been a major sticking point in the negotiations, with sources telling Defense News that the number of VPMs could still end up as either eight or seven, or potentially even fewer.
Defense News reported in March that class-wide, Virginia is looking at four-to-seven month delays for delivery, which drives up labor costs.
 

bobbymike

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Moose

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I was someone who believed the coating would get sorted out in later blocks, but it's still having problems as we're building Block IV and on the cusp of Block V. Something needs to change for the better in short order, or we need to start smooth-talking Australia.
 

sferrin

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"“As it has been explained to me, the failure of anechoic coating is not the end of the world — one can operate at slower speeds to reduce banging or flapping,” he said."

Short of sailing to the shipyard for repair I don't see that as a viable workaround. :eek:
 

Moose

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Cut down the buy, but the announcement doesn't say whether the number of VPM boats was reduced or not. Options were running from 1 to 3 non-VPM boats to make the numbers work.
 

NeilChapman

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Hey Moose - Was it the Presidents budget that proposed three of ten w/o VPM's? If the worry is yard/subcontractor capacity and $$ then perhaps three of nine were w/o VPM's. Guess we won't know until the contract is awarded. Nothing I've read so far has specified either way.



Evidently, if you build something for a long time and steadily improve upon it the price will drop precipitously.

The Navy has been procuring 774's since FY98 when they were happy to spend $1.8B per boat. The Block V boats include all prior upgrades as well as an Acoustic Signature package and the 84-foot VPM. The Navy has spent ~$3.2B in prior year advanced procurement funding for Block V. This article states the contract is worth an additional $20B totaling $23.2B for 9 boats for what seems to be ~$2.57B per boat.

Is my math correct? What am I missing? Or is this a pretty good deal for 6 boats that were to cost $3.2B ea and 3 for $2.7B ea. If it seems to good to be true it usually is.
 

sferrin

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Sounds like letting the industrial base crumble is showing it's head and they need to slow down while they gear up.
 

bobbymike

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bobbymike

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