Navy Shaves Costs from Future Nuclear Missile Sub

The Navy has executed cost-saving measures to ease the price tag of the submarine destined to replace the current fleet of Ohio-class nuclear missile submarines, said Vice Adm. William Burke, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems, on Tuesday. By altering design requirements and engineering the ship for shorter maintenance periods, the Navy projects that it will save “$20 billion in acquisition, sustainment, and manning costs” in the Ohio-Class Submarine Replacement program, or SSBN(X), he told reporters on April 30 at a Capitol Hill talk sponsored by AFA, the National Defense Industrial Association, and Reserve Officers Association. The Navy has requested $1.1 billion in Fiscal 2014 for development of the new submarine, according to sea service budget documents. Under revised plans, the start of construction of the first sub in this series has slipped from Fiscal 2019 to Fiscal 2021 due to fiscal constraints, said Burke. “Further delay should not be considered” since the Navy and US Strategic Command leadership already believes “there is moderate operational risk associated with this plan,” he said. “The triad is the foundation of our defense posture, the bedrock of our nation’s security. All legs of the triad are important. The SSBN, as the most survivable leg, is necessary. . . . We must build the Ohio replacement SSBN,” said Burke.