US Navy 30-year Plan Envisages About 300 Ships

News Release
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers: Photo credit USN

US Navy's 30-year plan projects slightly smaller fleet & reduced shipbuilding rate

The Navy’s new 30-year shipbuilding plan for 2013 shows few unexpected changes, projecting a slightly smaller average fleet size and slightly reduced shipbuilding rate.

The plan, sent to Congress, projects an average fleet size through 2042 of 298 ships, a drop of seven ships from last year’s 306-ship standard. The force is projected to rise from today’s 282-ship level to 300 ships by 2019.

Ten fewer ships are scheduled to be bought over the three-decade time span, reducing last year’s 276-ship 30-year total to 268, a drop from 9.2 ships per year to 8.9.

Many of the force reductions already have been announced, particularly new orders to decommission seven Aegis cruisers more than a decade before previously scheduled, a slowing in the rate of ballistic missile defense destroyer conversions and cancellation of plans to buy more than 10 small and cheap Joint High Speed Vessels. The amphibious fleet also is being reduced by about two ships.

Other changes already announced were shifts in the aircraft carrier and littoral combat ship construction rates, and a decision to push back new ballistic missile submarine construction by two years.

The 30-year plan is broken roughly into three major sections. Near term reflects the coming decade, defined by the Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP) of 2013-2017 and a second FYDP from 2018 to 2022. The mid-term planning period covers 2023 to 2032, while far-term planning begins in 2033.

For the near term, the service projects an annual shipbuilding budget of $15.1 billion in 2012 constant dollars, a baseline used throughout the plan.

The rate of spending rises to $19.5 billion a year in the mid-term, due largely to the SSBN(X) Ohio Replacement Program, the effort to replace existing Trident ballistic missile submarines.

Average yearly expenditures fall to $15.9 billion per year for the far-term period.

Over the entire 30-year plan, the annual ship construction budget is projected at $16.8 billion per year, including Navy and National Defense Sealift Fund ships.

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