Navy Dismisses Sub Purchase Pressure

Friday, March 03, 2006
Navy officials held firm to a decision to buy only one submarine annually for the next several years, despite a strong reaction from lawmakers concerned that the limited procurement would exacerbate problems in the struggling shipbuilding industry. During their annual budget presentation to the House Armed Services Committee, Navy leaders argued increasing submarine purchases in the short term would throw the service's carefully balanced shipbuilding plan off kilter, forcing substantial cuts elsewhere. At more than $2 billion each, submarines are one of the priciest items on the Navy procurement menu. Current plans call for the service to increase buys to two subs a year in 2012 -- but not before then. Lawmakers with submarine interests in their districts argue the one-per-year schedule would force the industry to lay off hundreds of highly skilled submarine designers just as China emerges as a significant naval power and that the Navy, which has been retiring older submarines, will soon have its fleet dip below the 48 subs deemed operationally necessary by the Pentagon's recent Quadrennial Defense Review. Navy officials acknowledged the temporary decline in the size of the sub fleet, but said it does not pose any immediate operational risk. (Source:

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