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  • Attack Sub cuts

    New article on Armed Forces Journal by Lance M. Bacon -Deep dive - Self-inflicted attack sub cuts cripple America’s sea superiority. Here are some snips:

    Decreasing funds and increasing missions have put the Navy’s submarine force in deep trouble — and it’s sinking fast. Lawmakers and strategists agree that the Navy’s plan to reduce its attack submarine fleet by 15 percent will render it unable to meet critical requirements. The planned replacement of 14 ballistic missile subs with 12 new $7 billion Tridents will cut shipbuilding by half for 14 years. The retirement of all guided missile subs will place extra missions on an already stretched fleet.
    and

    “Obviously, they’ve decided to accept more risk,” the former captain said. “[The Navy] may ask, ‘Will we maintain 10.0 forward-deployed submarines?’ I don’t think they’re going to be able to. And if critical needs maintain or increase, and the number of boats decreases, you’ve just impacted national security.”

    As such, we are likely to see a new force-shaping plan that will be based not on requirements, but on resources, the former sub captain said.

    “This QDR’s results just happen to be what the secretary has already directed,” he said. “There were no surprises. It matches the expected resources. And this QDR does away with the [two major combat operations] concept, which may be the first step to doing away with the surge requirement for subs. What would be looked at next? Perhaps, the daily 10.0 requirement and redefining ‘critical requirements.’ Ultimately, we’ll likely see studies come out with results that match the resources.

    “There was a move a couple years ago to do away with that criteria,” the former captain said. “If you do away with the definition, you no longer have to report to Congress that you can’t meet the critical requirements.”

    The pending sub cuts are the result of decreasing money rather than missions. While the QDR strategy makes a strong case for 48 SSNs, the shipbuilding budget says it’s simply not possible — and the Navy’s 12 new boomers are largely to blame.

    Because the new ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) run about $7 billion each, shipbuilding expenditures will increase by $2 billion annually during their production. This will decrease overall ship production by nearly half over a 14-year period to cover the cost, according to a July 2009 Congressional Research Service report.
    and

    But the Navy may be one step ahead. There remains the possibility that the ship and sub cuts in the new 30-year shipbuilding plan may be a delay tactic that allows Navy leaders to obtain all the ships and subs they need.

    While the new shipbuilding plan will result in eight fewer subs in 2038 when compared with previous projections, the difference begins as only a one-boat deficit — and not until 2029. In fact, the Navy will have more active SSNs through 2023 under the new plan.

    “That gives us plenty of time to address the issue, and keep sub numbers where they need to be,” Wittman said.

    But the biggest win for the Navy would come by way of alternate funding.

    Roughly one month before the Navy released its 30-year plan, defense analysts testifying before the House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower said it would be good strategy for the Navy to ask Congress to find funds in the federal budget to pay for SSBN(X). If lawmakers agree, it would free up billions in the Navy’s shipbuilding budget that could then be used to buy dozens of additional ships. This would likely include four new attack subs cut by the current plan — a purchase that would keep SSNs above the 48-boat minimum.
    The entire article is linked above. There is also a discussion of the PLAN and of unmanned technology. I left out of the above what I think is the most interesting quote from the whole article. It will be in the next post.

  • #2
    As promised, here is IMO the most interesting quote from the article:

    “I am concerned that we are letting budgets drive our plans,” [U.S. Rep. Rob] Wittman said. “Did last year’s budget drive the 30-year shipbuilding plan or QDR? Will these now drive a new force structure assessment? If so, we’ve got things in reverse order. We need to begin with strategic needs, then determine how we can meet those needs.”
    This seems backwards. All the plans in the world are meaningless if you can't afford them. It might be nice to have 25 carriers, 120 attack boats, 50 boomers and 150 Burkes. But its not in the cards if for no other reason that its not affordable. Might it not make sense to figure out what you can afford first, and then design a force to account for that? Heck, you could even create contingency plans to address the (unlikely) possiblity that there will be more money later, but this assumption shouldn't drive the actual planning, since its pie in the sky, so to speak.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by The Ibis; 10 May 10, 21:43.

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    • #3
      U.S. should invest in AIP powered Submarines really. Significantly cheaper and very deadly. Having a force of 50+ SSN's is a tad much for 2010, it ain't the Cold War anymore. I mean Russia has 14 and China 7.

      A AIP powered 2,000 ton attack sub with Harpoon launch capability. I can see that going places for the Navy's needs.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Megaharrison View Post
        U.S. should invest in AIP powered Submarines really. Significantly cheaper and very deadly. Having a force of 50+ SSN's is a tad much for 2010, it ain't the Cold War anymore. I mean Russia has 14 and China 7.

        A AIP powered 2,000 ton attack sub with Harpoon launch capability. I can see that going places for the Navy's needs.
        Yeap, and acquisition/running costs are about 1/4 of a SSN.

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        • #5
          it is a aserious option the US should look into, im sure that relations currently between the US and India could see some of the Indian bases opened up for the US to sortie AIP equipped subs to berth there and then transit up into the persian gulf, where they could do aa LOT of damage...hell they could even port in Iraq..!!!

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          • #6
            I am fairly sure that the USN's need for nuclear submarines is decreasing. At least until Al-Qaeda starts putting suicide bombs on whales. What would 48 SSNs do with their time?

            48 is more SSNs than every other navy on the planet put together, and Britain and France have 7 each. So that gives NATO 62, better than 3:1 superiority over Russia and China put together. Plus the 14:1 superiority in carrier air groups, etc, etc, etc....

            Originally posted by Megaharrison View Post
            U.S. should invest in AIP powered Submarines really. Significantly cheaper and very deadly. Having a force of 50+ SSN's is a tad much for 2010, it ain't the Cold War any
            What is an AIP powered submarine?
            My board games blog: The Brass Castle

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Land View Post
              I am fairly sure that the USN's need for nuclear submarines is decreasing. At least until Al-Qaeda starts putting suicide bombs on whales. What would 48 SSNs do with their time?

              48 is more SSNs than every other navy on the planet put together, and Britain and France have 7 each. So that gives NATO 62, better than 3:1 superiority over Russia and China put together. Plus the 14:1 superiority in carrier air groups, etc, etc, etc....



              What is an AIP powered submarine?


              AIP means Air Independent Propulsion. In terms of SSK it means the SSK is fitted with accessory Fuel Cells that permits it to remain submerged for significantly more time without the need to surface.
              Last edited by Slim; 17 Jul 10, 18:07.

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              • #8
                ..the newer ones can extract oxygen from the sea water the sub takes in during de-salination process to produce potable water for the crew on board...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Megaharrison View Post
                  U.S. should invest in AIP powered Submarines really. Significantly cheaper and very deadly. Having a force of 50+ SSN's is a tad much for 2010, it ain't the Cold War anymore. I mean Russia has 14 and China 7.

                  A AIP powered 2,000 ton attack sub with Harpoon launch capability. I can see that going places for the Navy's needs.


                  I agree. It could also turn out to be a good export revenue earner.

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                  • #10
                    Great in theory but getting past the Brass is going to be the biggest challenge.
                    Freedom is not Free it has cost millions of lives to obtain it and to hold on to it will cost even more lives of the willing and the brave!!

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