Mike Fabey, Aerospace Daily and Defense report, Feb. 27
With the specter of sequestration and other budget cuts threatening to whittle away again at U.S. Navy’s spending plans across the future years defense program (FYDP), Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, has one overriding request for lawmakers: save the funding for the Ohio-class replacement (ORP) fleet.
Reaffirming sea-based deterrence as the service’s "number-one priority" because of its homeland security implications, Greenert said, "I would propose no reductions," during Feb. 26 testimony before the House Appropriations Committee (HAC-D).
"We are committed to it," he says. "It has to be done."
The Navy also requested $1.4 billion in fiscal 2016 for the ORP. "Fiscal 2016 research and development efforts will focus on propulsion plan, common missile compartment development and platform development technologies like the propulsor, strategic weapons system and maneuvering/ship control," the Navy says.
The U.S. Navy is also requesting about $10 billion for program across the FYDP, Navy officials note.
It will cost the nation about $95.1 billion to build and develop a dozen ballistic-missile submarines to replace the Ohio-class boats now completing the strategic mission, a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report says. That amount includes about $83.4 billion for procurement and about $11.7 billion for research and development, GAO says.
Congress has initiated a national account for the force, but still needs to fund it. The Navy hopes to get that production funding to buy the subs once annual construction starts in fiscal 2021.
The U.S. needs to either fund the Ohio-class submarine force production as a national asset or increase the amount of money the Navy gets to build other ships in coming decades, Secretary Ray Mabus says.
The Navy simply cannot afford to build other ships while developing and building the new strategic submarine force, Mabus said Jan. 15 during a keynote address as the Surface Navy Association National Symposium.
Greenert and other Navy officials point out the Navy has received more funding in the past to support such a shipbuilding program.
"It is a major national construction effort and the entire submarine industrial base will be involved in trying to produce that program at the same time that it’s still producing the Virginia class program," Michael Petters, CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries, one of the nation’s two Navy sub-builders, said during a recent quarterly call with Walls Street investment analysts.