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Navy makes its case for new boomers

by Mike Hoffman on November 2, 2012

Navy leaders continue to make their plea to keep the replacement program for the Ohio-class submarine fleet a top priority despite the coming defense budget cuts.

Adm. Kirk Donald, the director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, said there “can be no excuses” when it comes to replacing and upgrading the Navy’s ballistic missile submarine fleet. Navy submarine admirals argued at the 2012 Naval Submarine League Symposium on Oct. 17 in Arlington, VA that the subs will benefit from the technological advances from the Virginia-class attack submarines .

Officials have already delayed the replacement program two years setting back the delivery date for the submarine fleet to 2027 with construction starting on 2021. The delivery date coincides with the retirement of the first Ohio-class submarine.

Navy leaders are under intense pressure to reduce the price of each submarine. Price expectation have dropped from up to $7 billion per copy to $4.9 billion reducing the expectations on the advances made with the replacement fleet.

A major change coming with the replacement fleet is the reduction in ballistic missile tubes from 24 to 16. It will be designed to continue carrying the Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The Navy’s new boomers will feature the same anechoic tiles featured on the Virginia-class attack subs that make the submarine harder to detect by active sonars. The replacement Ohio-class submarines will also feature “a scaled up version of the large aperture bow sonar array planned for the Block III Virginia boats,” according to the U.S. Naval Institute.

USNI put together a helpful graphic that we’ve attached below that breaks down many of the features of the Ohio-class Replacement Program.

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