Mike McCarthy, Defense Daily, Feb 5
The Navy is working to ensure the acoustic profile of the future ballistic missile submarine is low enough that it can avoid being detected and withstand new technologies foes may introduce throughout the planned 50-year year lifetime of the subs, the Navy’s acquisition chief said Thursday.
“We have to project what that threat will be for the next half century,” Sean Stackley, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said.
The Navy plans to begin construction of the first of the SSBN(X)s to replace the Ohio-class boomers in 2021 and get it into service by 2031. Stackley said the last of the 12 boats in the new class will operate to about 2080. The SSBN(X) is formally known as the Ohio-class Replacement Program, or ORP.
“Much of our acoustic superiority is designed and built into the submarine on day one,” Stackley said at the Naval Future Forces Expo hosted by the Office of Naval Research and American Society of Engineers. “There are certain features and aspects of a submarine that you don’t get to come back to later again.”
“So we’re being very careful to project what signatures we believe are necessary for that submarine and its various operating profiles, what technologies are necessary from stem to stern to deliver that signature profile,” he said.