SUBMARINE R & D CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES
The last Government Affairs report gave the status of the Authorization Bill for FY86 at about $302.5 Billion after joint House and Senate Armed Services Committee action. Of that, $35.5B was allocated for all of the Defense Research and Development programs. The DoD Appropriations Bill contained a recommended $282.5B, vice the $302.58 in the Authorization Committee version. Almost $36B was for RDT & E, The following is a comparison of R&D funding for the three services:
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The Under Secretary of Defense Research and Engineeringcsupplied to the Congress his estimate that the real growth in RDT & E had increased trom the 12.3S of FY 81 to a requested 20.1S for FY 86. However House action is expected to cut the requested $11.28 to about $10B, reducing the real growth factor considerably.
The submarine-related programs which can be identified in the budget before the House Appropriations Committee are:
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The Navy’s R & D request is organized into three major groupings:
(a) Basic Research and Exploratory Development, at about 7.5J of the total R & D budget;
(b) Development with the bulk or the R & D account of about 87S; and
(c) Management Support.
The programs listed above are Development sector.
For Basic Research and Development, $853.2 H was requested. submarine programs are:
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There were three comments made during the course of Congressional action on the Navy’s R & D request that are worthy of special note.
In presenting the Navy’s R & D program requests to the Senate Appropriation Committee, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Engineering and Systems) cited the ” . . . markedly greater quieting, strengthened double hulls, higher speed, higher reserve bouyancy, and deeper operations” provided the Soviets by their submarine technology. He went on to state that the largest share of the $853 million requested for Basic Research and Exploratory Development is aimed at surmounting that threat.
When acting on this program, the Senate Appropriations Committee noted that the budget request for UnderSea Warfare Weapon Technology was more than 46~ over FY 85. They also noted that an emphasis was given to warhead, fuzing, and torpedo propulsion research and development. In addition, they cited the Navy’s plan to expand the effort to $50 .million in FY 87. The Committee claimed support for research in the underwater weapons field but concluded that the proposed research effort was far too broad and lacking in specific goals and objectives. They therefore recommended a reduction of more than $7 million and suggested that at least $5 million of that cut be for torpedo components.
A second major action by the Committee in the Strategic R & D program was a recommendation for a reduction or $35 million, from the $2.165 B request. The Committee also came out strongly for penetration aids and proposed to OSD that Navy and Air Force programs be merged. The important point, however, is not the 1.6J cut but what the Committee said about the program.
“The Committee strongly supports development or the TRIDENT II SLBM as an integral part of the Strategic Force Modernization Program. The TRIDENT II is a three–stage, 83 inch diameter missile weighing close to 130,000 pounds. It will be capable of carrying a wide range of both high and low-yield warheads, providing optimal targeting flexibility. The TRIDENT II will use stellar-inertial guidance, requiring in-flight updates, making it a markedly different kind of ballistic missile system than Air Force ICBMs. The high yield of the MK 5 re-entry body will give the TRIDENT II a high kill probability against the full spectrum of hardened Soviet targets.
“In the view of the Committee, the TRIDENT II SLBM provides a much needed complement to the MX Peacekeeper and small ICBM programs. The introduction of the TRIDENT II into the ballistic missile inventory will be at a critical time — midway between initial deployment or the MX in late 1986 and the small ICBM in late 1992. Moreover, with the deployment of the TRIDENT II, the Navy is provided the opportunity to exploit the full payload and range capabilities of the TRIDENT Submarine.”
The third major point made during these proceedings concerned the new design SSN or SSN21. The Committee increased one tactical system development program element by $31.5 million and directed that $40 million be applied to fully fund the competitive SSN-21 contract design program. They stated their support for the new Attack Boat as follows:
“The Committee recommends full funding for the new design SSN (SSN-21) at the authorized level. The Navy has initiated a very ambitious SSN-21 program. The new-design SSN would achieve significant improvement in such areas as speed, quieting, and firepower over current SSN-688-class submarines. The Committee supports, in principle, the requirement for a new design SSN — particularly given the fact that the Soviets are now producing or testing nine different classes of submarines with capabilities spanning the entire range of undersea war~are applications.• “However, the Committee continues to be interested in the cost and program management of the SSN-21 program. Testimony before the Committee indicated that the new design SSN will cost at least $1,000,000,000 per copy, which raises serious questions as to atfordability and maintenance of the Navy’s force level objectives of a 100-level attack submarine fleet into the 21st century. The Senate Armed Services Committee has expressed similar concerns regarding the SSN-21 program. This Committee supports Navy efforts to reduce the unit costs of the new design SSN, while maintaining its improved capabilities over the SSN-688.”
The Senate Appropriations Sub Committee for Defense also added $5 million for procurement of long · lead material for an HY-130 hull section and seleotion of a design agent. That effort is to lead design of the HY-130 section and manage its integration into a test ship. By this action, the Committee expressed the hope that HY-130 could be introduced into a fiscal year 1993 authorized boat of the SSN-21 class. That would be a full year earlier than now programmed.
The Senate Appropriations Sub Committee also confirmed the joint House-Senate Conference action regarding SUBACS development. In summary, the Navy originally requested $305 M for a three phase development and deployment program. The first phase was to integrate detection, a digital data bus, UYK 44 computers and new weapons launch, navigation and communications systems and make this integrated system backfittable into the 688s. The follow-on phases were planned to introduce advanced sonar arrays and large scale functional software improvements. But House action deleted that entire line item and substituted instead a new $200 million item for SSN-21 combat systems.
The effort of the u.s. Navy in submarine Research and Development was summed up by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (RE and S) in his statement to the Senate Appropriations Committee as follows:
“In our Advanced Submarine Technology Program we are developing systems and concepts for future attack submarine classes. As required by the FY 1985 budget authorization, our R & D program has approximately $30 M available to advance the state of submarine technology, which can be exploited by the SSN-21 well into the next century. The R & D program also includes a vigorous program to ensure that a follow-on to the new design attack submarine can be implemented as the threat dictates.”
“The key attributes of our future submarines can be defined in terms of their combat control and weapons, quieting, sensors, firepower, speed, depth, survivablilty, and affordability. Major thrusts in the technology base for combat control and weapons include advances in combat information management, development of concepts for quieter, faster, and more potent torpedoes, and development of concepts for Arctic warfare. In the area of quieting, we are concentrating on reducing the noise generated by ducted propulsors, machinery, and weapon launching systems. Reductions in the weight and volume of hull, mechanical and electrical systems will allow our submarines to carry more weapons.”
CAPT Jim Hay, USN(Ret.)