Navy Leaders Warn of Submarine Shortfall

Navy Leaders Warn of Submarine Shortfall

There are not enough fast-attack and guided-missile submarines in the Navy’s arsenal to meet the needs of combatant commanders around the globe, senior service officials said at the 2013 Naval Submarine League symposium, Falls Church, Va.

“Combatant commander demand for these ships far exceeds what we can supply,” said Vice Adm. Mike Connor, Commander, Submarine Forces, speaking to audience members at the symposium.

Connor detailed this need while delineating a host of desired investment priorities to include maintaining undersea nuclear deterrence, continuing weapons or “payload” development and meeting commanders’ needs for submarine missions and technologies.

“The submarines are needed because they provide very real things, like the awareness of activity in terrorist network, over-watch for special operations forces and knowledge of potential adversary weapons capability and intentions,” Connor added.  “We cannot do all of these things at the same time with one or two ships in theater.”

In total, the Navy has 73 submarines, including 14 nuclear-armed Ohio-class submarines, or SSBNs; four Ohio-class submarines converted to conventionally armed guided-missile boats, or SSGNs; 42 Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines, or SSN; three Seawolf submarines and 10 Virginia-class submarines, also SSNs.

Even though the Navy is currently producing two new Virginia-class attack subs each year,  an anticipated shortfall of submarines is expected to grow worse in coming years as more Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines retire at a faster pace than Virginias are added. Due to this phenomenon, some senior Navy leaders have suggested that the service may delay retirement of some Los Angeles-class boats.

By comparison, the Navy operated many more submarines in the 1980s, operating a fleet of more than 100 SSNs, among others, Navy officials said.

One analyst said fast-attack submarines are used much differently than they were in the 1980s, in part due to the increased technological capabilities of the Virginia-class boats.

“Combatant commanders use these for intel.  One of the real advantages we still have in [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] is with the subs – particularly the Virginia-class. The new subs provide greater capability,” said Daniel Goure, vice-president of the Lexington Institute, a Va.-based think tank.

Goure went on to explain how the advent of newer technologies such as sonar, sensors and improved surveillance gear has changed the mission-set for fast attack subs. In the 80s, they were used to counter adversary subs, whereas during the post Cold-War era they are used more often for ISR and land strike, Goure added.

As a result, demand for these subs is vastly increasing concurrent with a decrease in fleet size.

Out of recognition of this need for submarines and a desire to lower production costs, the Navy’s new Virginia-class fast-attack boats continue to be produced ahead of schedule, said Rear Adm. Dave Johnson, Program Executive Officer, Submarines.

Seven out of the last 10 Virginia-class submarine deliveries have been early, Johnson said. The next boat, the USS North Dakota, is slated for delivery six months early in Feb. 2014.

“In terms of relevance to the warfighter, these submarines gave the fleet over four years of additional Virginia-class submarines because of the early deliveries,” Johnson said while speaking at the Naval Submarine League.

The anticipated decreased fleet size is part of the rationale for the Virginia Payload Modules, or VPM, a plan to add a section or “module” to the now-under-construction Virginia-class attack submarines by fiscal year 2019, Johnson explained.

The current Virginia-class submarines are able to fire 12 or more missiles per boat; the VPM, once complete, will configure the Block V fast-attack Virginia-class subs with an ability to fire 40-missiles, Navy officials explained.

“We will execute VPM affordably and make it into the FY19 Block V contract. We intend to keep working and make this critical insertion capability as cost-effective as possible,” Johnson said.  Addressing the current budget uncertainty, Johnson also added that $59 million in research, development test and evaluation funds will be needed in fiscal year 2014 to keep the program on track.

The idea with VPM is to bring weapons, fire-power and payload back into fleet at the same time the four large SSGN guided-missile submarines begin to retire from the fleet.

“We also need to make sure the Block V Virginia-class includes the Virginia Payload Modules. It is essential to preserving the payload volume that will start to go away when the current fleet of SSGNs starts to retire starting in 2026,” said Connor. “While the platforms are higher on my priority list, there is nothing that gets more capability per dollar than the money we spend on payloads.”

Connor also emphasized that “payload” or weapons development for submarines needs to be a large investment priority, particularly in light of often-discussed “Anti-Access/Area Denial,” or A2/AD threats.

“There are many situations wherein a submarine will be the only at-risk asset. We need to do everything that we can to extend the reach and the influence of each submarine because it will be the submarine force that opens the door to the greater joint force,” Connor explained.

If technologically advanced air-defenses and precision weaponry are used by potential adversaries to try to deny planes and surface ships the ability to project power or operate in certain strategically vital areas, quiet, stealthy well-armed submarines equipped with sensors might prove to be an invaluable tactical asset.

Connor talked about the Navy’s plan to re-start production of the Mk 48 Heavyweight Torpedo by 2016, weapons carried and fired by submarines to protect against surface and undersea threats.  In the case of the Ohio-class ballistic missile nuclear-armed submarines, the heavyweight torpedoes are purely defensive.  Connor said it is important to ensure that these weapons don’t’ become obsolete but rather leverage recent technological advances in autonomy, communications, precision-navigation and timing.

“We have the ability to turn the torpedo of the future into a precision over-the-horizon weapon. This is about more than torpedoes — we need a portfolio of payloads to expand our capacity in intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance realms, electronic warfare, offensive mining and strike,” he said.

Connor also talked about potential future upgrades to the Tomahawk missile, the nation’s premier precision-strike weapon.

“We currently only carry a land-attack variant. We need to reconstitute anti-surface missile capability,” he explained.

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Excerpted from New London CT’s “The Day”:
“Oct. 24 — FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Engineers at Electric Boat will be laid off if Congress does not pass a budget this year, Rear Adm. David C. Johnson said Thursday. Johnson, the program executive officer for submarines, said the engineering and design work EB is doing for a new class of ballistic-missile submarines is supposed to “ramp up” in 2014, but the continuing resolution Congress passed instead of a budget keeps government spending at current levels. Congress also has not stopped the automatic budget cuts imposed under sequestration. If Congress passes a continuing resolution for the full year, Johnson said, the Ohio-class replacement program would receive only about half of the funding needed, which would result in lay offs at EB and a delay of two years or more in delivering the first submarine. If sequestration continues, $153 million will be cut from the program, which would likely cause a one-year delay and could stop EB from hiring more engineers, Johnson said.”

These submarines of the Ohio replacement class have to be ready to go into the water as the older Ohio class submarines are decomssioned. The submarines have a useful life ultimately constrained not just by life of the nuclear power plant, but also constrained by the fatigue life of the hull. Numbers will be reduced if new subs are not launched in time to replace the old. These are the most important leg of the strategic triad, arguably the most important weapon system platform in the US arsenal.

Ronald O’Rourke describes the issue very well in CRS Report R41129 — October 22, 2013 — Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Below is a link to Ronald O’Rourke’s CRS Report RS21007 — May 22, 2008 — Navy Trident Submarine Conversion (SSGN) Program: Background and Issues for Congress http://​www​.fas​.org/​s​g​p​/​c​r​s​/​w​e​a​p​o​n​s​/​R​S​2​1​0​0​7​.​pdf

Below is a link to Ronald O’Rourke’s CRS Report RL32418 — September 27, 2013 — Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress http://​www​.fas​.org/​s​g​p​/​c​r​s​/​w​e​a​p​o​n​s​/​R​L​3​2​4​1​8​.​pdf

This includes a little information about the Virginia Payload Module, a mini-GN plug that adds four large VLS tubes to carry 28 additional T-LAM cruise missiles (7 per tube), and adds some space for seal habitability, C2, etc.

18 Ohio class SSBNs were built, each with 24 VLS tubes to carry 24 SLBMs. Later strategic arms limitiations treaty reduced the number of active SSBNs from 18 to 14, and the first/oldest 4 submarines in the Ohio class were converted to SSGNs, adding significant C2 capacity, carrying up to 96 seals, converting 2 VLS tubes to swimmer lockout chambers, and converting the remaining 22 tubes to accept up to 7 T-LAM cruise missiles each (7x22=154 total) or other various “spooky” GN payloads.

These four converted Ohio class SSGN submarines are tremendous assets, but have limited life, and will pulled from active service beginning ~2026. There is no direct replacement planned.

The four SSGNs were a smart idea, but cost too much. We should have just scrapped them. Sunk cost.

Building a Trident replacement boat can really go slower than what the Navy wants. The development can be a little more focused and shorter (less costly) if the Navy (and the President) were to concede that there’s no real threat out there and they can alter the deployment schedules to be at station during a crisis and in a standby mode when no crisis is pending. 24/7 deployments for a two-major war scenario is not necessary. the Cold War is over, and the idea we’d ever use nuclear weapons AGAIN is beyond comprehension. We TWICE nuked a country that is now a key trading partner. Why bother with these kinds of warmongering charades?

I’m sorry, but why does every Combatant Commander need subs and missile cruisers constantly? If something pops up, that is the great thing about a’s highly mobile.

We have a short fall of everything.…..except fighters…

“We TWICE nuked a country that is now a key trading partner”, a country of people that at the time were ready to die man, woman and child to defend their country against our troops bringing peace! I am proud to say that I have enjoyed my father giving me life instead of dying on a foreign island, eradicating a cursed group of fanatics (his words). Those two bombs stopped him having to live thru (or not) that invasion, period.
Deterrence is the cost of our freedom and I am personally glad to be able to pay it. Hug the trees, save the whales and group to gether and hug while sheepishly saying, “Can’t we all just get along”! God Bless America, the land that I love! :)

New book out states that Japan was starving to death. All we had to do was quarantine it. Most books on dropping the bombs now conclude we did it to justify the astronomical (for back then) $2 billion cost.

BTW, my dad and step-father and all six of my uncles served in WW2 (the last war we really won). I served in my war — Vietnam. And as you say, we’re all ready to serve when attacked. But we weren’t attacked by Vietnam, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, etc., etc., etc. Time to stop being international bullies. “We have met the enemy, and he is us,” said Pogo.

The Navy is mobile but the oceans are incredibly large, and there is a practical limit to how fast a submarine can get from A to B without being detected.

Wow, charades? To start with, have you ever heard of training? Why do you think that walking into a complex system that spends all its time in a hostile environment (100’s of feet underwater) with people actively trying to kill it with all sorts of weapons and platforms, with a couple of classes and 6 weeks of mockup work will be successful?

This is the issue of sequester, blanket cuts mean important projects such as submarine building get cut. Meanwhile, billions pour into the much less important LCS project. Even if the LCS ends up somehow working out, it is nowhere near as important as sub-building.

The POTUS allocated quite a few billions to the Virginia Payload Modules (VPM) program, because he sees the value of the Ohio SSGN’s, and knows they need to be replaced. The republicans, OTOH, dropped the funding for the development work for the VPM’s down to ZERO.

Perhaps this is why a number of defense analysts are saying that the GOP is no longer the supporter of the military they claim to be.

Pretty sad. I’ve got to hand to the POTUS — funding the VPM is definitely the right thing to do.

Looks like an impressive fleet to me. The needs of the “combatant commanders around the globe” are inflated.

Not enough ships, not enough submarines. Thank you, defense contractors, for all you do for this nation. I hope we never go back to the Navy designing their own ships and submarines because then they might cost less, float on actual water, take more than a .50 cal bullet to sink, have weapons, and be more plentiful. Instead we would rather pay a defense contractor more to drag out the design of crappy ships that need lots of fixing when they are built or their design is scrapped all together so these same contractors can get richer off designing the next great Naval vessel. What genius decided that was the way to go? They should be shot!

We need an SSGN off of every country on the planet…


It’s a temporary measure, though I’d love to see if a Virginia class could carry tridents in the VPM. Dispersing BM capability across the entire submarine fleet would be…interesting, to say the least. Probably not very efficient, but more targets to sink across the entire ocean, and if you missed one or two you could count on some serious mushroom cloud.

I suppose if we regressed into a new Cold War with russia, a dispersed ICBM force across every SSN could be MIRV’ed to mitigate reduced missiles/sub to keep up the throw weight.

Define mobile. Two days, a week to get offshore?

That said, by the time there is a “combatant commander”, a combatant commander has come along with a carrier strike group, marines and the army probably deployed in some adjacent country and preparing to cross LOD into the target country.

More like some country lights up and becomes a hotspot, and all eyes are on the White House and everyone is saying “where are you guys, omg!”. /Then/ the clock starts ticking. Look at the gradual response to Somali piracy…months, years, perhaps to get the ships together, let alone to proficiency at dealing with the pirate response?

As a case study, there’s East Timor to gauge strategic mobility of ships, along with the occasional Taiwan Strait crisis…not sure if Libya involved much seapower, mostly airpower.

Shortfall of everything, except MRAPs and M1s.

Justify the cost? Regardless of cost what sort of President would risk hundreds of thousands of American lives in an invasion when he could instead deploy a new weapon? Starve them out? How long would that take? The Japanese wanted unacceptable terms of surrender (they keep Korea and a bunch of other places) and meanwhile Stalin is trying to grab all of the territory in the east he can.

So are you as the President of the United States going to sit idle or commit to a full scale invasion out of concerns that decades later uninformed people will decry the use of nuclear weapons?

A carrier won’t outrun a swarm of anti-ship missiles.

The Virginia class SSNs are being delivered EARLY and on or under budget! Why do you ALWAYS blame the defense contractors and how can you possibility blame them for what the moronic leadership of this country has been doing?

Want a real frigate instead of the LCS? Then stop basing everything about buzzwords like “transformation” and all of this post-modern nonsense and look at the capabilities you need. Anti-submarine, anti-ship, air defense, etc.

What a joke.

Just another corrupt contractor defending his sty.

Every year the company William shills for is caught in over 1500 cases of fraud. And that just the tip of the iceberg. What we are dealing with is organized crime on a scale that dwarfs the mafia at its height.

And just like the mafia when it got caught buying a corrupt judge it says — get rid of the judiciary don’t get rid of the mafia.

Just last year a combat commander needed some starbucks delivered and there wasn’t enough SSNs in theater to do.

My houses bathtub has a better chance of being an effective combat vessel than the LCS. The cuts were seen long before the sequester — they were known to be part of the sacrifices needed for the F35 scandal.

Because they’re made from the hot mess of the Seawolf program.

Of course, if EB simply gave the finger to government, what was government going to do, nationalize them? Hah. Oh wait…probably a scary thought for defense contractors. No need to provoke that beast.

Running out of _Ohios_ before a replacement SSBN becomes available is something that this administration is just fine with having happen.

Consider that Chuck Hagel, before ascending to SECDEF, was a big proponent of the loopy “Global Zero” total nuclear disarmament scheme. Consider also that Hagel’s boss is similarly inclined.

When the long range plan is to quietly work towards doing away entirely with the nation’s nuclear deterrent, a lack of platforms for that deterrent is not a bug. It’s a feature.

“New book out states that Japan was starving to death. All we had to do was quarantine it.”

Except that not only the Japanese were starving. Non-Japanese Asians in areas still under Japanese control were also on the edge of survival. Plus Allied prisoners of war in Japanese POW camps.

There was a comment by MacArthur, I believe in his _Reminiscences_, that he had his staff run the numbers on foodstuffs. A considerable amount of emergency food had been embarked for the Pacific, meant for postwar relief, with the understanding that the war would end within a fairly tightly defined time frame.

Old Mac didn’t like nuking civilian population centers. But once he looked at the logistics, he realized that if the war were not quickly forced to a capitulation, disaster impended. The available food would spoil in huge quantities, and quickly, in Pacific heat and humidity. It had not been packed for long term endurance.

A pretty strong analytical case can also be made that the Japanese home islands could have endured a blockade for a long time. Not able to break out, but still able to prevent anyone breaking in. See D.M. Giangreco’s _Hell To Pay_.

In this game, the Admiral assigned to the combatant commander routinely requests more subs and carriers and everything for anything he can dream up. Then his fellow Admirals in DC scream that we are short. If we ramped up to 200 subs, we’d still hear about shortages.

Yeah, I wonder which schedule and budget they were “under”. The one the program started with, or the one that was negotiated the last year of production? It makes a difference — well, to everyone but the true believers, I suppose.

Please remember, the only nuclear subs lost were built by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard!

These defense contractors have total control of the government and military. The very notion that they might get nationalized does make them laugh. You should see the contempt with which the leaders of these really big defense contractors talk about the US government. They have no fear of them at all.

If six commands request three carriers each, are we short on carriers?

Quarantine indeed takes forever. Short of intensive firebombing campaigns…

Your statement does not conform to the facts. In all fairness to the current POTUS, he went for generously funding the VPM — but it was the republicans (bowing down to their tea-party masters) that cut that part of the budget down to ZERO dollars.

And it is congress’s job to deal with the funding of the federal government. And the current GOP-led HoR is even being chastised as incompetent by even conservative businessmen, pundits, etc., who see what they are doing to the USA as damaging to: our (and global) economic well-being; our international reputation; our businesses; and national security.

And believe me, I’m not at all happy about any of it. I am an American patriot FIRST, and I want to see this nation doing well regardless of who sits in the Big Chair, who the Speaker of the House is, etc.

This wasn’t an issue back when they were scrapping SSN’s as fast as they could; it was the only time I know of when we were scrapping ships of a class still under construction (Los Angles class SSN). What goes areound DOES seem to come around.

If you don’t know than pipe down. For the record it was the schedule and budget they started with. The Virginia Class program is one of the few acquisition successes in the DoD. Not to mention the costs keep falling.

This discussion has nothing to do with the challenges of nuclear deterrrence in the 21st century — a century which will see continued proliferation of nuclear weapons and other WMDs around the world. Our SSBN fleet is the stablest and most reliable leg of the USA’s ever-shrinking triad. I challenge “Taxpayer” to justify his irresponsible views either empirically — on what other nations are doing right now — or theoretically, based on game theory involving multiple parties. Don’t make us wait too long…

POTUS does not know his “aft” from his “stern”! Furthernore, his only action in the entire process was to approve what his Navy Chief of Staff briefed to him. Why must you people turn everything into a political battle between a “feckless, empty suit POTUS” and a “self serving, incompotent, impotent congress”. Stop this DEM/GOP civil war that only serves the ignorant, un-informed individuals that will vote for the D or the R after a name on the ballot.

AND IT IS POTUS’ JOB TO PROVIDE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WITH A TIMELY BUDGET. THIS HAS NOT BEEN DONE SINCE 2009. NOW HOW ‘BOUT THAT FOR THE BIG CHAIR OR MAYBE IT IS JUST A BOOSTER SEAT IN THE POTUS LIMO. Too easy to blame the House or Congress when the problem lies at 1600. Remember that this is a former Senator from Illinois that voted “Present” in the Senate more times that actually registering a “yea” or “nay” vote. As far as that old “tea party” rag. The DEMS bring that one out anytime they do not have a leg to stand on, why must you drag it out in this forum?

Easy with the caps lock there killer. The President did submit a budget to Congress for at least the last two years. Last year’s was sent in February and this year’s was sent a couple months late in April.

Hmmm. I was merely paraphrasing the same statements made by the Lexington Institute, who published the specifics of who said/did what (they BTW, seem to think the POTUS has done his homework), and how the VPM initiative got torpedoed. The Lexington Institute has proven themselves very reliable on topics such as this (and defense issues in general) in the past. I’ll take their word on it before I take yours — until you demonstrate you DO know more than they do.

Personally, I don’t give a rat’s tookis who has an “R” or a “D” behind their name.

What I do care about, is that our nation has the finest and best trained military on the planet, with leadership that only uses them as the last possible resort, and gives them the resources to ensure they have an overwhelming advantage over the adversary.

Here we go again with the “submarine gap”. The nonsense from the 60’s was that Russia had more submarines. What the 5 sided puzzle palace “forgot” to tell you was that the Russian subs were crap and needed more “down time” than American subs. In order to keep the same number of subs on patrol Russia HAD to have more.

Until comparatively recently, the Soviets/Russians were the only game to be concerned about. Now that the old USSR is dead and gone, and the Russians are have major procurement problems. To replace the Russians, we now have a surging China — with: huge piles of cash on hand (Trillions of dollars in cash reserves); the beginning of a large military build-up; tons of dual-use technologies and manufacturing techniques given away from 2002–2008; and newfound diplomatic belligerence to its neighbors.

Note that the Pacific Ocean is ~63 *million* square miles of ocean. That’s a big pond, it takes a fair number of subs on station to monitor when who is going where with what. Subs are either being repaired, overhauled, in transit (often for thousands of miles), on patrol in their assigned areas, collecting intelligence, or stopping for resupply, etc..

Hence —

Right. Same thing happened on F-22, it was just the 25th revision of that first contract.

One thing subs do have going for them is that the Navy does still control the design of the reactor section. That’s a fairly large piece of a sub, unlike the situation with a “super” carrier. The more control the Navy has over the design the less the contractor is free to f us over.

I don’t doubt we are running out of subs. Hell, we are running out of everything. That’s what happens when you give private, for-profit companies a monetary incentive to design weapons instead of building them. It is a stupid way to buy weapons. Even if we would not change the total amount of profit we provide contractors now at all, just shift the profit so that production would have significantly more profit than development. Just pulling out collective heads that far out of our collective asses would result in a huge shift toward contractors actually building weapons instead of constantly milking the design and development phase of programs. It’s a small change. Instead of 10% fee across the board, shift 5 to 8% of that profit into production — especially early production where clearly the highest risks are. It’s not rocket science. Just plain old common sense.

Do SSN’s have the dual crew system as well as the SSBNs? If they don’t, this may be the time to implement, both to keep extra crews around and to keep submarines at maximum availability.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the case.

POTUS can send whatever budget he wishes to the House, but if the House doesn’t like it (and do they ever?) they’ll just send their own to the Senate, which will disagree, both will go into conference until the government shuts down…

Edit: http://​www​.whitehouse​.gov/​s​i​t​e​s​/​d​e​f​a​u​l​t​/​f​i​l​e​s​/​omb… is dated to Feb 13, 2012.

web​.archive​.org gives the earliest version of FY2013 going up /at least/ Feb 2012.

FY 2014 (http://​www​.whitehouse​.gov/​s​i​t​e​s​/​d​e​f​a​u​l​t​/​f​i​l​e​s​/​o​m​b​/​b​u​d​g​e​t​/​f​y​2​0​1​4​/​a​s​s​e​t​s​/​m​e​s​s​a​g​e​.​pdf) is dated by President’s Message to April 10, 2013.

Looks like the folks in DC think they can react like overnight and pump out a couple of boats anytime they wish. They don’t seem to understand the term ” planning “. Couple this with the plan to make the male uniform cover to look like the female cap, we will look really fierce fending off attacks on our troops. BAA

So which company do I work for now and when do I get my lucrative paycheck from them oblat?

As a citizen it is hard to have anything other than contempt for the behavior of the US government in recent years.

Who do you think coined the term “useful idiot,” the US or USSR?

And I thought we were going to rag on the air force’s constantly changing camos, and now it’s Marine caps/covers. There’s something lunatic and…18th century about the obsession with uniforms.

Do you blend in? Yes. Good. Then there’s ceremonial stuff, which theoretically shouldn’t change all that much, and should be worn infrequently enough that it doesn’t need to be messed with.

The Navy is going to have a hard time buying more subs when John Young, the former Assistant Scretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, and now a consulatant, just admitted that the LCS was designed to rely on a real warship, like the DDG-1000, to defend it littoral waters! REALLY! Intentionally design a frigate replacement to be a non-weaponized what? Target?

I don’t need to make much of an argument, VP. Do we really need such an overkill capacity when tactical firepower is so effective? Plus, any George Bush style preemptive first strike, or retaliation strike, would probably involve hypersonic ground-launched ballistic missiles. Are we really prepared to nuke another country again on a massive scale? We didn’t do it for 9/11, when we falsely imagined the end of our consumerism style of living world was upon us. Do you really believe we would be so mad as to unleash nuclear weapons on the scale of our current SSBN force is capable of?

From a game theory perspective, India will handle Pakistan, and Israel will handle Iran (a job that Saudi Arabia obviously is not willing to do, even after selling them all the latest weapons). We can step back a bit on force structure and numbers of SSBNs and as we let these “allies” step up and take some of the load off our American taxpayers.

I just wondered why there is so much cost on the evaluation cost, when it is already evaluated on first construction. Shouldn’t the cost be lowered down because we build a lot of these already, right?

Does this means I will migrate and become a foreigner. (kidding)

That said, India and Israel are in a position to adequately defend themselves, but not necessarily to take offensive action against Pakistan and Iran respectively (though India might actually be able to take the fight all the way through the Indus and up to the Pashtun areas…and stop.)

Littoral Combat Ship = sloop

LCS was programmed to replace the MCM, MHC, PC, and remaking FFGs (which are little more than OPVs at this point). They were never meant to replace the role the FFGs filled (no convoys to Europe anymore). They were meant to fill in the counter-narcotic and counter-drug missions the FFxGs are currently doing. The high end missions the FFGs did were filled by DDG-51 Flt2a.

So yes, in a serious threat environment, they need to be escorted, although far less than the MCMs and PCs do today. But, that has been there mission from the beginning, just look at the ROC/POE.

So ping on the navy for not building 5 frigates per year instead of 3 DDG-51FLt2a a year back in the late 90s, or for calling a support ship a combat ship, or even for allowing idiotic SWO flag officers to pontificate on things they know nothing about, but please quit calling LCS a frigate replacement because it’s not.

There is no shortfall in SSNs, there is a shortfall of backbone at the SECDEF level to prioritize and tell the Combat Commanders what they get in accordance to the clearly defined National Strategy. Oh, wait.…

Its good that the navy is building Virginias ahead of schedule but I hope that the navy does’nt forget that subs are best against other subs. We need boats that are capable of tracking what is coming out of China and Russia, like the Seawolfs. This whole litoral combat mindset could do us in if a big one happens.

Early russian boats were crap for most of the cold war but towards the end when Russia started to get wise to our defenses their boats dramatically improved. The so called “walker boats” had much better quieting and such, so much so that SOSUS was useless by the time the late generation Victors and Alpha classes rolled out. China is definitely continuing to improve their boats… the best way to track a sub is with another sub, so the problem is not with the gap but what they are using the boats for. What good is a counter terrorism submarine for when the terrorist live in the desert?


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