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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:50 am 
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Maxim,

While you bring up good points, I believe our points of view and points of reference are not gelling. The big deal is that for the past 8-9 years most of the Navy has been screaming that it does not have enough ships, enough manning, enough individual offensive power, enough quantity to meet the existing mission demands. Now, with 2 ship collisions, 2 more ships out of commission (not to mention Antietam that is out for grounding), and 17 more Sailor deaths on our hands, the gross over-work on the existing fleet has been caused by a reduced number of ships with an equal or increased mission.

This immediately calls for more ships to perform existing missions. What kind of missions? Defensive capability is taken care of by the CG and DDG fleet. Presence is often over gunned with DDGs or CGs that could otherwise be taken care of by corvettes such as a lengthened Cyclone-class PC with a 76mm gun, Harpoons, and a SeaRAM operating ScanEagle UAVs on the regular or OHP FF or FFGs operating in an elevated role with a modern SSDS, UAV, and helicopter capability. Offensive combat capability has taken a hard hit since the DDG-51 FlightIIA were authorized to be built without the Harpoon configuration they were designed to have (on a platform between the stacks). Indeed, the 5" gun is not a reliable offensive weapon because of its shorter range and lack of effective ammunition. Someone might want to credit tactical tomahawks as anti-ship weapons. Despite advertisements, they are not, nor can they reliably be.

So, over-work and stress on the force has led to an increase in lapsed qualifications, deferred training, and an abhorrantly common "acceptance of risk".

"We need those RCBs that are in Kuwait down in Bahrain, because we have to perform an escort. We accept the risk. We know it would be by far the longest transit of that type of craft yet. We accept the risk. We know they are experiencing hard maintenance problems. We accept the risk. We know they will transit near Iranian waters, but we need them in Bahrain. We accept the risk."
- Boom. One of the two breaks down due to lack of maintenance and poor training lead to them both being captured by Iran.

"We need those DDGs on patrol in the 7th Fleet. We know they are not up on their qualifications. We accept the risk. We know they failed elements of their INSURV. We accept the risk. We know we will skip another yard period. We accept the risk."
- Boom 2 DDGs suffer collisions and 17 Sailors very, very needlessly lose their lives in peace time.

The Fleet Wide review comes out lambasting the over-worked and over stated "Can-Do" attitude of the Navy that leads to unnecessary acceptance of risk and unacceptable loss of life...and then immediately says some combatant commanders will have to accept the risk to meet the mission.
- Boom. Too many missions and not enough ships...wait for the next thing.

Ten more ships, Perry-class FFGs reintroduced to the fleet after an 8-12 month modernization and SLEP to free the attention of 10 CGs or DDGs would not only help the goal of 355 ships but would also relieve the pressure of 10 more high-end ships in areas they are not needed. The HM&E upgrade the CGs got could add another career to the OHP lives without much cost.

Having SLEP/HM&E OHPs is similar to having battleships to relieve the unnecessary deployment stress on carriers. CVNs routinely go where they are not really needed, because something more than a SAG of a CG and DDGs or an LHD and a couple DDGs cannot accomplish, so the next step up is the attention of a CVN. That next step up is a HUGE one that diverts an enormous amount of resources that should either be used elsewhere where that kind of power is needed, or left at home so its crews and rest, train, and prepare. Send a BBSG instead, and an equal or greater affect will be made. If kinetic operations are needed, the BB could meet nearly any mission performed within 75nm (11" and 13" sabot guided and ballistic projectiles) in the past 10 years. Equally, there is no need for a CG or DDG to be committed where a modernized Perry FFG or an upgraded PC could do the job.

You made the point that the cost to benefit of having the Spruances around was not with it. I disagree. Even by today's standards, the Spruances were the best ASW surface ships we have ever had. If they needed to be made "more valuable" to justify their retention or reactivation, a Kidd-like AAW modification (ie see the ex-Paul F Foster SDTS mounting the SSDS-2) and an additional 64 Mk41 VLS cells in place of the aft NATO Sea Sparrow launcher could have been made providing 15-20 more poor-man Aegis ships to fill the presence and war-fighting roles of current DDGs and CGs. See the CG-52 HM&E costs. SSDS-2 comes in at a whopping $10M. The most expensive, not that expensive, parts would have been adding a SPS-48G, SPS-49A(v)1, SPQ-9B, 2-3 SPG-62 illuminators, and a new aft mast.

We would have had what the rest of the world considers a "cruiser" with 2x 5" guns, 125-128 Mk41 VLS, a fast reacting non-Aegis WDS, and a fantastic ASW suite. Granted, while having the AAW mission added would have reduced the effectiveness of the ASW mission, the added value would have been incredible. If the 7 Sprucans that had not yet been upgraded to Mk41 VLS forward had been modified as well, they could have been fitted with the same AAW system but with a Mk71 8" gun with 450 21-45nm ballistic and Excalibur (range from interviews I had with a BAE Excalibur engineer) rounds and 50 65-70nm guided RAP rounds, and 32-48 cells forward and 64 aft. That combination would have produced the most effective warship built since the guide missile heavy cruisers (CAG) USS Boston and USS Canberra.

Modernizing ships is not nearly as costly as you posit. A prime example is the SLEP being performed on the Blue Ridge and Mount Whitney. Both ships are receiving a "modest SLEP" that has/will double their expected lives from 35 to 70 years of active service.

It's not that hard. It's not that expensive. If maintenance is accomplished on time, it does not increase like you suggest.

In the near term, the reactivation, SLEP/HM&E and modernization of 10 Perry FFGs is the first step. The rest is to bring back our remaining amphibious ships and turn them into mini aircraft carriers.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:49 am 
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You mix different topics. Crew exhaustion is not directly linked to the number of ships, but also how long individual crew member are active (and the number of crews per ship). If someone has a watch of 14-16 hours for a longer time it is obvious that they will make severe errors caused by fatigue. That has something to do with the culture in the navy, which should discourage not encourage such behaviour.

You proposal is to have more ships with bigger crews. E.g. a Spruance class had a crew of over 300 - compared to 150-200 in a modern frigate with at least same capabilities (in many aspects a modern frigate is clearly superior). That is simply not an affordable proposal.

The same is true for battleships: with capabilities similar to a Arleigh Burke class destroyer (regarding the number of Tomahawks) they had six time more crew. For sure with a modernisation the relation could be optimised, but a group of destroyers have still a massive strike power - which everybody vaguely informed knows. Only idiots could be impressed with an Iowa class battleship, but not with a group or Arleigh Burkes. It is very unlikely that there is a relevant number of such idiots in relevant positions world-wide.

The lack of modern anti-ship missiles in the US Navy has nothing to do with the question refits or new ships - it affects clearly both.

For sure a non-fighting ship as a Blue Ridge is easier to maintain - but still it would be very surprising if the maintenance costs would not increase. That is true for every old equipment. There is always wear and the older the ship is the more likely more parts are effected.

You continue on the same way: more ships, which are more expensive to operate.

In contrast to you the US Navy tries to get rid of old ships and wants new ones - and has to be forced to continue to operate expensive to operate ships. More ships and increasing operational costs per ship is not affordable. More ships has to be combined with reduced operational costs.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:29 am 
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Since you compared a Burke DDG and a battleship strictly on theoretical tomahawk load, let's touch on the arsenal ship and its many variations. Before we get to that, a Burke would not be able to carry half as many tomakawks as if an Iowa were fitted with the 96 VLS of the planned WIP.

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It would be interesting to explore one of the cheaper versions. Perhaps the version with 256 tubes (as opposed to the 500+ of some variants). Excluding guns from the equation, how attractive would a ship built on a proven hull without any helo hangars or massive radar system like SPY-1 or 6, just a ship with probably a Berthoff-class radar suite, a landing pad, a bridge perhaps 2 decks above the main deck, and 4 arrangements of 64 Mk41 VLS tubes?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:19 pm 
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Judging from the VLS cells a Arleigh Burke can be loaded with 96 Tomahawk, but for sure for most tasks the VLS would harbour a significant number of ESSM and SM-2/6. But an Iowa with only Tomahawks would need probably several Arleigh Burkes to defend it. It would be the same message to send only a group of Arleigh Burkes.

An Arsenal ship would be likely for its size relatively cheap, if designed without a large phased array radar as SPY-3/4. But it would be a kind of single purpose ship, similar to the SSGNs. I guess the SSGN could be more useful, because less vulnerable. An Arsenal ship would be similar to the current state of the Zumwalt class (also lacking part of its design radars), but with more launchers. But it do not think that the US Navy lacks this kind of ship - they lack cheaper ships for patrolling.

I would prefer more versatile, multi-purpose designs. Some parts of the LCS concept were good - if there would be not the high speed and fighting swarms of boats requirement, which resulted in these weakly armed, weakly built ships.

As written before: traditionally all large navies had cheap ships for patrolling. Today a lot of smaller navies have cheap, economic to operate ships for patrolling, but the USN only has a very small number of the more boat-like Cyclone class. An OPV would be cheap, economic to operate, fast to built, small crew - and would relieve the large, sophisticated ships from patrolling duties. It should be also possible to design it that way that it is easy to add additional weapon and sensor modules in case of war, so that they can be used as escorts.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:44 pm 
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maxim wrote:
Judging from the VLS cells a Arleigh Burke can be loaded with 96 Tomahawk,
No, it's a structure issue. A Burke can only carry so many tomahawks due to structural strengths. The Iowas would have had no such issues.

maxim wrote:
...but the USN only has a very small number of the more boat-like Cyclone class. An OPV would be cheap, economic to operate, fast to built, small crew - and would relieve the large, sophisticated ships from patrolling duties. It should be also possible to design it that way that it is easy to add additional weapon and sensor modules in case of war, so that they can be used as escorts.
Fascinating point! I am a huge proponent of more heavily armed PCs. How would this OPV being equipped? It sounds like if it were modular like you're suggesting, it would have weapons modules, or weapons "pits" as carr describes them, so different systems could be installed. How large of a hull and how many of these pits would you suggest? The Spruance-class is the father of that type of ability in the "SeaMod", both in weapons systems and in electronics.

Interesting idea!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:31 am 
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The OPV can be minimally armed to be cheap, e.g. only a bow gun, two 25 mm guns and a helicopter hangar (similar to a OHP when last in service), but with space/weight reserved to add a 16 cell VLS before the bridge, one or two RAM, two anti-ship missiles launchers, torpedo tubes and a VDS sonar. The space for the weapons should be either prepared (for the VLS) or it should be positions for modules, which can be bolted on and plugged in, similar to the Danish Stan Flex or the German MEKO system. To make it easier, the VLS can be also replaced by space for two Mk 56 ESSM launcher modules, which can be bolted on simply.

A Mk 56 ESSM module on Absalon:
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http://www.modellmarine.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3156:daenisches-unterstuetzungsschiff-absalon&catid=271

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:39 pm 
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I still don't understand why the 1999 blistered Ticonderoga (Spruance)-class hull out to 60-65' beam does not offer the internal capabilities that are demanded today. While the ship is larger and longer, I would not shove in theater AAW/ASW/AMDR it. Instead, it is a heavy gun strike and flag ship with an Aegis armed SSDS ship that can perform all areas of strike warfare.

Without SPY-1 and stuff, we save nearly $1B. The rest of the warship and AAWs at $90m and an NTU radar (or SSDS) it can and could be armed, armored, and super capable instead of a Burke Flight III for its role at a grossly less cost.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:12 am 
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Hmm, it sounds like if someone would have proposed in 1960s do use the hull of the Omaha class light cruisers for a new class of escort ships. I do not understand what should be the advantage of using a c. 50 year old hull design, which also looks like a 50 year old design. I.e. a design of a distant past.

And anyway: the kind of ship you describe would be not really a cheap design necessary for numbers.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:35 am 
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Relevant to this thread because the retention or withdrawal or the remaining AEGIS class cruisers will affect the total number of warship hulls in the USN's force goal.

Defense News

Quote:
Why Mobile Bay's captain would choose his cruiser over a new destroyer
By: David B. Larter   1 hour ago

(...SNIPPED)

‘It will kick you’

The fact that Mobile Bay at 30 is one of the most advanced ships in the fleet speaks volumes about the care the Navy puts into its ships, but the good times are only going to last for so long. Mobile Bay is rapidly approaching its 35-year service life and it needs work.

The Mobile Bay is, along with the Bunker Hill, are the first two cruisers on the chopping block under the Navy’s current decom schedule in 2020. The plan now is to start decommissioning the oldest 11 cruisers at a rate of two per year. Nobody in the Navy or Congress seems to want that to happen, but as always it comes down to money.

The officers and sailors on board the ship mostly seem to agree that the ship has plenty of life left in the tank, so long as the Navy puts the money in to keep her. But therein lies the dilemma.

Keeping a 30-year-old cruiser that’s been rode hard is like keeping up a classic car
: it takes a lot of time and care to keep it running smoothly.

(...SNIPPED)


Quote:
(...SNIPPED)

The Navy is studying what it would take to keep the cruisers around well into the future. One solution being explored would be back-fitting a solid-state radar onto the cruisers, but the added weight in the already top-heavy cruiser presents a design challenge, according to several sources who spoke to Defense News on background.

The old SPY-1 radar distributes its weight around the superstructure and decks of Ticonderoga-class. Adding the full SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar to the Arleigh Burkes required a nearly 50 percent redesign of the hull, adding length to support the weight and a new power and cooling system to operate it.

That might mean a scaled-down version of the SPY-6, such as the one being proposed for the Navy’s future frigate program.

But that still leaves a significant investment in new wiring, pipes and other hull, mechanical and electrical equipment to keep the ships going for another decade or so. The House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee chairman, Rep. Rob Wittman, told Defense News in November that he hopes to find a way to keep the oldest cruisers in commission.

(...SNIPPED)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:43 pm 
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Interesting! Especially the scale of the required modifications and that is for sure obvious:

Quote:
Keeping a 30-year-old cruiser that’s been rode hard is like keeping up a classic car: it takes a lot of time and care to keep it running smoothly.


And it is difficult to understand why anyone would like to have a fleet similar to a fleet of classic cars... Cuba-stile Navy? ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:55 pm 
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A CG replacement program needs to kick off as soon as the FFG(X) is started.

FFG(X) is needed short term to fill in, so will be based on an existing design and off the shelf systems, the new CG should be new purpose built design to exploit the advancements in so many fields of technology and topweight requirements of the newer radars.

Based on what the Ticos have done and are projected to do, the new CG may have a 40+ year service life.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:16 pm 
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Meanwhile...

Defense News

Quote:
Doubts linger as US Navy preps to order 10 more Flight III destroyers
By: David B. Larter   11 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is poised to order 10 more destroyers this year, all of which will be the new Flight III variant that integrates Raytheon’s new AN/SPY-6 air and missile defense radar.

Congress is on the cusp of greenlighting a 10-ship buy that the Navy says saves 10 percent overall, essentially giving the service a free ship over the life of the contract. But 2017 saw a vigorous debate between the shipbuilders (especially from Bath Iron Works), some members of Congress and the Navy over questions concerning the Navy’s design progress and how much risk was acceptable for a multiyear contract for this major design overhaul.

Both Huntington Ingalls Industries and Bath Iron Works have signed on to build Flight III DDGs — DDG 125 will be the first one, built at Ingalls in Mississippi, followed by DDG 126 at Bath Iron Works — but questions linger about whether entering into a multiyear contract on what is almost a new class of ship invites delays and cost overruns.

(...SNIPPED)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:37 pm 
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This is how you grow the fleet - significant capability for 1/2 the price of a Burke.

I'll also note the article uses an apples to oranges cost comparison - that LCS cost does not have any warfare package included while the FFG will have AAW, ASW, ASuW all from day one.

"ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s new class of 20 guided-missile frigates could cost an estimated $950 million per hull, the Naval Sea Systems Command FFG(X) program manager said on Tuesday. That total is more than double the current cost per hull of both variants of the Littoral Combat Ship.

Speaking at the Surface Navy Association 2018 symposium, NAVSEA’s Regan Campbell said the new class of small surface combatant would set a so-called threshold requirement for a net average cost of $950 million for the 2nd through 20th hulls in the FFG(X) next-generation frigate program following a down select to a final shipbuilder in 2020. First-in-class for the new frigate is expected to cost more than the $950 million average.

That number is almost twice the about $460 million per-hull cost of the existing Lockheed Martin Freedom-class (LCS-1) and Austal USA Independence-class (LCS-2) Littoral Combat Ships currently under construction.

In comparison, a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG-51) costs about $1.8 billion to build and equip with sensors and weapon systems."

https://news.usni.org/2018/01/09/navsea ... e-lcs-cost


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:56 pm 
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Speaking of Burkes:

Associated Press/Defense News

Quote:
US Navy is seeking proposals for more destroyers
By: The Associated Press   12 hours ago

BATH, Maine — The Navy has submitted a request for proposals for more destroyers to be built by either Maine’s Bath Iron Works or Mississippi’s Ingalls shipyard, or both.

The Naval Sea Systems Command issued its final request on Thursday for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers built with ballistic missile defense capability.

The contract covers the fiscal years 2018 through 2022.

(...SNIPPED)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:41 am 
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Are these replacements for Ticonderoga class ships or additional ships?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:06 am 
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I thought the USN had ruled out a new cruiser?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:18 am 
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If they did - there is at least no new cruiser design available - they have to replace the old cruisers with destroyers.

I cannot see the difference between USN cruisers and destroyers - these classifications are since 1975 not really logical.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:32 am 
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maxim wrote:
If they did - there is at least no new cruiser design available - they have to replace the old cruisers with destroyers.

I cannot see the difference between USN cruisers and destroyers - these classifications are since 1975 not really logical.

Indeed! There is already a CG version of the Burke on the books, pretty much a Burke style Tico. That is what I would pursue for a new CG. As they are, the Burke’s could be elongated by 30’ and given another 32 VLS forward or the gun could be replaced by another 32 VLS without a hull extension. If they want a BMD specific ship, an FFG size ship equipped with AMDR, 96-128 VLS, and a 76mm gun would likely be best.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:17 pm 
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A real new build FFG really does seem to be one based around the Berthoff National Security Cutter. That bad boy can accommodate the entire request without a hull extension or anything :D

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:30 am 
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More articles of interest that detail the USN's plans to get to 355 warships, including estimates for coming decades by ship type:

Defense News

Quote:
U.S. Navy to add 46 ships in five years, but 355 ships is well over the horizon
By: David B. Larter   3 hours ago

The Navy will grow by more than forty ships over the next five years, the Navy’s Budget director said Monday. But while the fleet will grow rapidly in the near term, the gains will sputter out shortly thereafter.

While the shipbuilding budget request saw a relatively modest increase in the service’s 2019 submission over the previous year, service-life extension programs, a bevy of new destroyers and littoral combat ships will push the Navy’s numbers higher rapidly to 326 ships in 2023. That’s a jump of 46 ships over just the next five years from today’s count of 280.

(...SNIPPED)


The service will also buoy their numbers through service-life extensions on six of the older cruisers, meaning that in total the service will have modernized 17 of its 22 cruisers past their 35-year service life.
The Navy is currently upgrading its newest 11 cruisers through a phased modernization plan.

It is unclear which cruisers will be modernized, and how it will affect the planned retirement of those cruisers starting in 2020, though the shipbuilding plan doesn’t show any large surface combatants retiring until 2024.

The Navy’s end strength will also increase over the next five years, adding nearly 17,000 sailors, an approached that Luthor said was disciplined to not add ships or equipment without the needed sailors to support them.

(...SNIPPED)

Subs take a dive

The Navy’s 326 ships in 2023 will mark a high point under the current plan but a slew of ship retirements starting in 2024 will start to drag down the numbers again. Those losses are driven by the final Los Angeles-class attack boats leaving the fleet and a handful of large surface combatants – likely a combination of cruisers and oldest destroyers.

That will drag the fleet numbers to between 313 and 315 for a handful of years before the fleet is projected to start growing again in the 2030s.

Perhaps most distressing of all is that even with the Navy’s current plan to continue buying two Virginia-class attack boats per year, even during years when they buy the Columbia-class ballistic missile subs, the fleet of attack boats will still see a precipitous decline in numbers to 42 boats down from a projected 52 in 2019.

The fleet’s requirement is 66 attack boats, a number the shipbuilding plan doesn’t hit until 2048.

(...SNIPPED)


Defense News

Quote:
US Navy wants more sailors, jets and an extra ship in 2019
By: David B. Larter   12 hours ago

Correction: The U.S. Navy’s future frigate is scheduled to receive $135 million under the fiscal 2019 budget request.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is getting larger and adding an extra ship to its fleet in 2019, over its 2018 request, but the total shipbuilding budget request seems to make little headway toward a 355-ship fleet called for in a review last year.

The Navy’s base budget request is $151.4 billion, with $15 billion in overseas contingency operations funding split with the Marine Corps. The total Department of the Navy budget request is $194.1 billion, including OCO.

(...SNIPPED)

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