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NSSN Virginia-class - current status and future

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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NeilChapman

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bobbymike

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bobbymike

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fredymac

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Hard to understand the conops on this one. I assume the laser mast is deployed while the submarine is submerged so it won't clear the water by all that much. The beam director will need to be sealed so no water ever touches the output window or dribbles down it. A sub launched Stinger would probably be a better solution for anti ASW aircraft. That leaves covert standoff support for deployed SEAL teams on the beach but its tough to figure out in what way.
 

Grey Havoc

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They already have a better design, the Seawolf class. If they had any sense they would bite the bullet and begin the process of building new examples.
 

kaiserd

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They already have a better design, the Seawolf class. If they had any sense they would bite the bullet and begin the process of building new examples.
Rather like proposals around restarting F-22 production that wouldn’t be realistically possible or wise; too expensive and/ or you’d be better off spending the same money (or more money as costs escalate) on a newer design with newer technology and far less rapid obsolescence down the line.
Likely the new design will end up externally looking quite like a SeaWolf so suggest contributors be happy with that...
 

Grey Havoc

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One problem with that approach is that all too often there is no newer Milspec technology available, or at least not a in a remotely mature form, because of the infatuation in recent times with COTS 'solutions'. Which all too often proved to be very dead ends.
 

RLBH

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They already have a better design, the Seawolf class. If they had any sense they would bite the bullet and begin the process of building new examples.
Building new SEAWOLF class boats would be like building new Flight I Burkes. Fundamentally, you can think of the differences as SEAWOLF being analogue and VIRGINIA digital. The technology is outdated, and you probably couldn't buy a lot of the parts even if you went in with a blank cheque. So you'd have to redesign the boat so thoroughly that you might as well design an entirely new boat.

You could certainly update the concept behind SEAWOLF using the technology used on the later VIRGINIA class boats, which would result in a correspondingly large and expensive but very capable boat. But it wouldn't be a SEAWOLF. Whether doing so is actually a good idea is another question altogether.
 

bobbymike

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Moose

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Early on, I pushed back against people who harped on the hull coating issues. I was confident they'd wring out the issues, and the coating would prove to be a superior product in the long run. Embarrassed to say: They haven't, and it seems like it isn't.
 

uk 75

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The SSN is the most crucial edge the USN and RN have over possible opponents. Maintaining that edge is essential.
 

Grey Havoc

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Both bodies restore a Virginia-class attack submarine the Trump Administration would have cut, but the HASC cuts other shipbuilding programs to build the sub sooner; HASC adds $2.16 billion to shipbuilding overall when SASC added $1.35 billion. UPDATE A HASC aide argued vehemently that SASC really only funds a quarter of the missing sub, punting most of the cost to another year — which could disrupt the production line not only for Virginias but for the larger Columbia class. (Much more on this below).
Differences Over The Fleet

While the House and Senate Armed Services committees both sought to restore the. Virginia submarine cut by Trump’s budget and cut unmanned warship prototypes, they did so in markedly different ways.

All told, the administration asked for just over $19.9 billion for the Shipbuilding & Conversion, Navy (SCN) account. Both committees increased that, but by different amounts: SASC by $1.35 billion (7%); HASC by $2.16 billion (11%).

That’s in large part because, while SASC restored the submarine by adding $472 million in Advanced Procurement to start buying it, with funding to finish it left to a later year, the HASC restored the full $2.6 billion to buy it in 2021.

UPDATE Congress, shipyards, and the Navy have labored mightily to keep building two Virginias a year, but after the Trump administration cut one from its 2021 request, “the Senate did nothing to fund the second submarine in FY 21,” a HASC staffer told reporters.

The $472 million SASC labeled Advanced Procurement is only enough to buy the submarine’s reactor, the staffer elaborated to me after the conference call. You’d need to find nearly $3 billion more to buy the whole boat, he said, and you’d need to find that money in the next two years. Otherwise, not only are you stuck with a useless fraction of a Virginia submarine, you disrupt the production line so badly it hurts the larger Columbia class as well.

Without full funding for two Virginias in 2021, the shipyards, Electric Boat and Newport News, will have to start laying off workers — at the very time they need to ramp up their workforce to build the even larger Columbia class. The shipyards’ contract with the Navy and the multi-year timeline to buy a sub give them some leeway to keep building two boats a year, the staffer said, but by 2023 they’d run out of room and have to start layoffs.UPDATE ENDS

To make up the full amount required to restore the Virginia submarine, HASC also had to dock several other shipbuilding programs that SASC increased.

The major differences, besides the Virginia?

  • Columbia-class nuclear missile submarine: SASC added $175 million to shore up the shaky submarine supplier base; HASC added nothing UPDATE but would argue their plus-up to the Virginia program does much more to keep the supplier base strong.
  • Ford-class aircraft carrier: SASC funded the administration’s full request; HASC cut $90 million.
  • Arleigh Burke destroyers: SASC cut $30 million, HASC funded the full request.
  • Amphibious ships: SASC added $500 million to both the mid-size LPD class and the larger LHA, HASC cut $37.7 million from LPD and did nothing on LHA.
  • Support craft: SASC cut $126 million from various landing craft and other auxiliaries, HASC funded the full request.
Given the popularity of shipbuilding programs, which are big employers in many states, the odds are good that the final compromise will have more adds than cuts.
 
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