What I’d like to do tonight is talk about a question Rick Newman poses in a recent article he wrote for Air Force Magazine.
Rich Newman is the senior editor of U.S. News & World Report and apparently Mr. Newman wrote this article to stimulate discussion within Air Force ranks. As Figure 1 shows, the question Mr. Newman posed is, “How did the submarine community get to the front of the requirements queue?”
I find it interesting that Rick Newman would write this for Air Force Magazine. But I think the article does present the facts correctly. In essence, what the article says is that we got to the head of the military requirements queue by simply telling the truth. And those of us who have been associated with this business for more than a few years know that’s pretty high praise-that you can win by simply telling the truth.
So, if I may, I’ll present the case we’ve been making for the past two years, which I believe led to Mr. Newman’s article.
Last year, we rode the euphoria of the Submarine Force’s Centennial year and all that was involved with that wonderful year
of celebration. And many of you were involved with one or more pieces of that great year: beginning with the New Year’s Day parade-with the two submarines being interviewed at sea, underway, making way; and with a contingent of submariners marching in the Rose Bowl parade.
So we did have last year’s public affairs opportunity to leverage, but we also had the simple truth. And here’s the story.
Figure 2 shows that there is an honest-to-goodness requirement for these submarines. And that requirement has been validated over and over and over, since the Berlin Wall came down back in 1989, by almost everybody willing to do a legitimate study.
If you look carefully at this information, you’ll see a couple of the studies listed at the top that look like the numbers are not quite what we recently saw from the Joint Staff study and from the Defense Science Board proclamation back in 1998. But there’s an explanation.
When those earlier studies were done in 1992 and 1993. the Joint Staff incorrectly applied the submarine utilization factor (k-factor). Utilization factor merely says how many submarines do you need in the overall inventory to have a submarine on station. The folks doing those early studies assumed that there was no time during a deployment when the submarine wasn’t on station. That is, there were no port calls and no maintenance avail-abilities-so a submarine out there was a submarine on station. Those first studies also incorrectly applied the turnaround ratio requirements that we have to factor in to the utilization factor.
If you use the right utilization actor or k-factor. the number of submarines in those early studies-52-68 and 51-67-come out in the same ballpark-68 SSNs-that the Fleet CINCs have been saying all along.
Then last year-really at the end of 1999, but rolled out in January 2000-the Joint Staff conducted yet another study that said we need 68 attack submarines to do our nation’s peacetime presence in 2015, and we need 76 by 2025. That study was done differently from the others. It was done by actually polling the unified commanders: General Tony Zinni, the Marine Corps general in CENTCOM; General Wes Clark. the Army general in EUCOM; and Admiral Joe Prueher, the Navy admiral in Hawaii watching over the Pacific. Those unified commanders said that these are the kinds of numbers we need. Truth be known, the original numbers that came in from that polling were much. much higher than 68 to 76. But through negotiations, the Joint Staff worked down to the more realistic numbers reflected in the final version of the study.
So, I say, let’s not do any more studies: Submarine Force structure has been studied and validated to a fare-thee-well. There’s no need to question whether this requirement is legitimate. The requirement is there, it’s solid and it’s meaningful.
Another reason that the submarine requirements have gone to the head of the military requirements queue is that we have also been telling the truth about the reality of reaching those kinds of large numbers. And I’m going to present to you tonight a case that says it’s not realistic for us to think we can get to 76 attack submarines in 2025. We can’t do that without exhausting the treasury. We would consume about two times what today’s SCN budget is in the Navy if we tried to do it on the back of the new attack submarines. We just can’t get there from here.
So, I’m going to show you what is possible if we pull out all the stops. We could take an approach that we have to have 76 attack submarines by 2025 and run around in tight little circles, waving our arms until we get our way. But of course that’s not a realistic or responsible approach, so I want you to know what is possible.
First, there are only five Los Angeles class submarine that are available to refuel that we don’t plan on refueling already. If we refuel those five, it will give us a total of 20 of the first half of the 688 class-that is, out of the first 31 688s, which all had 20 year cores, we will have refueled 20 if we refuel these remaining five submarines. The other 11 are gone-they’re decommissioned, inactivated, being cut up. So we have a total of 20 that we can play with.
Then we have a possibility of adding to the SSN numbers by refueling and converting Tridents, as they go out of service, to SSGNs. I emphasized SSN numbers because we all know that SSGNs are not really SSNs. But I would argue that those SSGNs would free up one SSN each if they were on station with a load of Tomahawk missiles, so that SSN, which is on station today with her Tomahawk missiles, can go do other SSN things. So, I accepted that argument and said that we will count those SSGNs in the attack Submarine Force structure numbers.
Finally, increasing the Virginia class Build rate to match the build rate that was sent to the Congress in June 2000, I think is the panacea. I don’t think we can go beyond that. If we do those three things-if we refuel all five of the 688s that are available, convert all four of the SSBNs to SSGNs, and go to this increased build rate-we still will not reach the number of attack submarines -68 and 76-contained in the Joint Staff study. So, what can we achieve then?
The choices are few. We can scream bloody murder. We can hold our breath, kick our arms and legs, say the requirement, the requirement, the requirement, … we’ve got to have this money, … we’ve got to have this money or democracy as we know it will fail, … and all that stuff. Or we can look at what else is in our toolkit that we can do as a community to ease the tension between the nation’s valid requirement for attack submarines and the reality that we can achieve. We can look at what can we do, without passing the hat again, without asking to get rid of the DD-21, without asking to get rid of the school teachers in Omaha or police and firemen in Denver, without asking for anything that’s going to test the national budget.
That’s what my last few sentences are about. Let’s recognize that there is a delta, a difference between the attack submarine force structure requirement and reality. We can fix some of this delta through this utilization factor that I’ve already talked about. We can fix it by making every one of our SSNs a little bit more effective. And we might even be able to help by making the Virginia class submarine cost less that we have been talking about.
Now, I want to go back and build my case in chronological order so we’re in synch with where we are today. Consider a year or two ago, following the Quadrennial Defense Review, which said the Navy only needed 50 attack submarines but included an important contingency statement that allowed for re-evaluation of attack submarine force structure based on changing peacetime security requirements. That was the genesis of the 1999 Joint Staff study.
Following the Quadrennial Defense Review in 1997, the Defense Planning Guidance (SECDEF’s marching order to the Secretary of the Navy) said to reach and maintain 50 attack submarines. So the Secretary of the Navy passed that guidance to his planners and said, “Decommission submarines as necessary. Continue to build at a reasonable rate that keeps industry on track and at a rate that modernizes the Force. But get to and achieve 50 submarines as quickly as possible.”
At that time, the QDR required the build-rate numbers shown at the bottom of Figure 3. That build rate included a number of years of three Virginia class submarines per year, just to maintain 50. I’m sure some of you are asking, “What changed from the build rate at the bottom of the slide to the build rate just above it?” Very simply, the submarine community undertook a study in 1999 to determine if we could extend the life of these attack submarines by three years-10 percent in other words-from 30 years to 33 years. We found out that we could, and it’s a powerful accomplishment.
Look at the differences between the build rate requirement to maintain 50 if you go to 33 years (for those submarines that can get to 33 years) versus the build rate to maintain 50 if you don’t go to 33 years. The years requiring a build rate of three Virginias per year went away and made everybody breathe a sigh of relief.
Chronologically, the next thing that happened, shown in Figure 4, was the spring 2000 rollout of the Joint Staff study. And here are the numbers that we’ve already mentioned. You can see the 688 SSNs in 2015 and the 76 SSNs in 2025. Here is a number I haven’t mentioned yet-also required in the Joint Staff study-18 Virginia class submarines specified in that study by 2015. And you can also see where we would be with the build rate that was rolled out in June 2000, the one that I mentioned earlier that went over to Congress. This figure suggests that if the Joint Staff study is true, The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) needed to reconsider their force structure guidance provided in the Defense Planning Guidance. And that’s exactly what they did in May of 2000. The revised Defense Planning Guidance said, “You don’t have to constrain yourself to 50 submarines; you can go to 55.”
Fifty-five seems to have magic to it, because it’s both the war-fighting requirement that came out of the Joint Staff study-and it’s also a number that the Joint Staff study says, below which, the nation will have no flexibility to handle contingencies and world situations. It does not imply that there is an acceptable range from 55 to 68; but nonetheless, the number 55 has incorrectly taken on that kind of meaningfulness to some people.
But in any case, the difference between Figure 4 and the previous Figure 3 is that the Navy can now maintain 55 submarines. And in doing so, we will allow every one of our current inventory of Los Angeles class submarines, that has the fuel to get there, to go to 33 years of service life.
But now look at what happens in the out-years. We see that allowing those submarines to go to 33 years doesn’t help, and we drop back down to below 50 for a long, long time. The Defense Planning Guidance said, “That’s no good-we need 55 attack submarines.”
Therefore, the only way to stay at or above 55 SSNs is through a new build rate. Notice the difference between Figure 5 and the previous Figure  is a new line. This line reflects a Navy Force Structure 30-year build rate that the Secretary of Defense sent to Congress in June 2000. It includes a Virginia class build rate of three ships per year in some years. Also notice that in the outyears, where we were previously dipping down to 50 and 49 attack submarines, we’re no longer doing that.
This is about all we can hope for from the Virginia class build rate, I think. There are a couple of puts and takes that I’ll talk about a little bit later that might improve the situation, but I don’t think we can do much better than the Naval Force Structure build rate that was rolled out in June of last year.
Now, let’s take a look at that same profile in Figure 6 and add those five 688s that I talked about-and then, on top of those, add the four SSGNs. This is about all we can do to fix the delta
between our valid requirement and what is realistically possible given a limited budget. This is the pulling out all the stops.
Figure 6 uses all the 688s that are currently not scheduled for refueling; it uses the four SSGNs; and if you look at the line at the top, you can see that it also still uses the Naval Force Structure build rate that I talked about. Unfortunately, as you see, we don’t get to 68 attack submarines here either. Plus, we don’t get anywhere close to 76 submarines in 2025. This is the crux of the problem. Figure 6 clearly shows the requirement-versus-reality dilemma that I talked about at the beginning.
What can we do about that? As a digression, I want to show you how impossible our task would be, if we were really wedded to those two force structure numbers: 68 and 76. Take a look at the hypothetical build rate shown in Figure 7 that would be required to pass through 68 and 76 if we were to go ahead and do the other two things that I said-refuel all five of the 688s and convert the SSGNs.
I call this build rate unrealistic. You can see that this unreachable build rate would require us to build four Virginia class submarines per year. I don’t see the Navy building four Virginia class submarines a year in my lifetime, unless we come up with some miraculous improvement in contracting and a new method of reducing the cost of those submarines.
So, just to remind us, Figure 8 is the more realistic Naval Force Structure build rate. It’s pulling out all the stops, with five 688 refuelings and the four SSGNs. So, this is what we’ve already looked at-just to remind us that there is a delta .
Given that we have this delta between force structure requirements and what we can realistically achieve with today’s limited resources, what more, if anything, can we do to help? We’re not going to pass the hat, and we don’t want to destroy the rest of the Navy’s force structure, … or wreck the Army’s modernization plans, … or destroy the social plans that are all so important in this country. What’s left?
Well, shown in Figure 9 are three things that people have suggested we should look at. And we are evaluating the merits of all three of these. One of them in particular is very appealing-the homeporting of attack submarines in Guam-and has now been approved by Secretary Danzig as one of his last official acts before leaving office. I’ll talk more about Guam in a few minutes.
ALTERNATIVES TO INCREASING BUILD RATE TO 4 PER YEAR
1. EXTEND LIFE-BEYOND 33 YRS
2. FORWARD BASING Guam
3. DUAL CREWING
4. SOME COMBINATION OF ABOVE
First, I want to discuss the prospect of extending the life of our current submarines beyond 33 years. We might be able to do this with the submarines that have enough fuel to go beyond 33 years. Remember that the Seawolf and Virginia classes are built with life-of-the-ship cores that were originally designed to support a hull life of about 30 years. So they’re not going to go beyond 33 years to 38 years. Therefore, it’s only those 15 to 20 Los Angeles class submarines that I mentioned earlier, which will have been refueled, that would fall into this group. Those 15 (almost guaranteed because they’re paid for) to 20 could go out to 38 years. We ought to look at it and we’re going to.
Figure 10 shows some of the technical issues that we need to address as we work through this concept. Sorry for the details withheld on this slide because of classification. That’s all Naval Reactors stuff. It’s problems having to do with neutron embrittlement, with thermal fatigue, with cyclic stresses, with things that the U.S. commercial nuclear plants are looking at in trying to extend their lifetimes. It’s not a walk in the park, but we ought to look at the engineering feasibility of it and do what’s best for the Navy and the country.
On the non-nuclear side, Figure 10 also shows a list of problems. In essence, it has to do with the impact fatigue cycling has on the hull. It’s all about making sure that our submarines can safely continue unrestricted operations throughout their life, and I’m not sure the engineering analysis will prove we can get there, either. I’m not sure that there is any more blood in that turnip to squeeze out that might give us some more life from those 15, and hopefully 20, refueled 688s.
Now, here’s a concept that we like. We asked ourselves, what could we do to improve this utilization factor-that, in essence, won’t cost you, … won’t cost me, … won’t cost the taxpayer a penny, … and won’t cause us to have to go back and re-work other people’s programs. But something that would also make sense, … that our people can live with because we’re not going to solve this problem on the backs of our people, either.
So the question became, “What if we took some number of submarines and put them out on Guam?” And we started pursuing that. Putting submarines on Guam, of course, in this day and age, would help a heck of a lot. Many people believe the majority of the security challenges we’ll face over of the next several decades will originate in the Pacific. And the Joint Staff took this into consideration as they did their recent study. If you look into the details of the study, you ’11 find that a considerable portion of the 68 and 76 numbers are based on Pacific Rim scenarios. It’s some of the new countries that we’re paying attention to a whole lot more today than we used to in the Cold War. And Guam is heck of a lot closer to those areas of interest than San Diego, or even Pearl Harbor.
In fact, it’s so much closer, and you get so much out of this, that-depending on how you operate these ships-you get about a factor-of-three improvement in their mission/days on station.
So if we put three of these submarines in Guam, it would look like close to nine submarines operated out of San Diego. That adds almost six to that delta that we generated earlier, and that’s not bad. Plus, it adds those six equivalent submarines to our force structure all the way through their life and Figure 11 shows that improvement.
We asked ourselves, should we do that? What are the Guamanian going to think about it? And, why Guam? Figure 12 shows some of the answers to that question. We decided to do this and the Navy’s senior leadership is completely onboard with it.
I went to Guam last fall. I talked with the Governor of Guam, I talked with the Speaker of the House of Guam, and I talked with the Agana Chamber of Commerce. They were very supportive of the concept of once again homeporting submarines in Guam. So, it was not only “yes,” it was “Heck, yes, please come on in! ..
We happen to have a submarine tender in Guam. That’s nice. We happen to have a history of prior submarine culture in Guam. I lived there two years myself when I served on the Squadron 15 staff. So it’ll work. And it’s going to happen pretty soon. The new commodore of Squadron 15, Dick Corpus, was in my office today. He’s en route to Guam, and most of his staff is already there. The first ship will be there in April 2002; the second ship will be there about seven months after that; and the third ship will be there sometime after that.
Each of these three ships that we’re sending to Guam, forward deploying on Guam, will have just completed a refueling overhaul. So they will have already left their previous homeport for about two years’ worth of shipyard overhaul. They have already cut ties with that previous homeport, and instead of sending them back to their old homeport, we are going to drive them to the Pacific.
Are there any questions about this, because we are going to do it.
Question: Admiral, with a factor of three and one could get from 68 to 76. would it make sense at some point, if it worked well, to consider making it six submarines in Guam?
That’s a good question. I should have said something about that. When we first started to look at this issue, Admiral Al Konetzni, SUBPAC, was talking about putting as many as five submarines in Guam. During my visit to WESTPAC last fall, Admiral Joe Krol, SUBGRU 7, and I looked carefully at the shorebased infrastructure on Guam. We determined that the current facilities on Guam could support three submarines, but if we wanted to put more than three submarines on Guam, it would be necessary to increase the infrastructure, which would generate a big MILCON cost. The housing is suitable for, and can accommodate, three crews’ worth of 50 percent married Sailors and 50 percent non-married Sailors. Likewise the Naval Hospital and DoD school can handle three crews’ worth of Sailors and dependents. If you go just a little bit beyond these three times 140 people or so, you start generating a big MILCON bill. That’s why we drew the line at three.
Now, even with the cost of that big MILCON bill, if you compare that cost to the $1 .8 billion it costs to build a Virginia class submarine, it might still be a better deal. So we haven’t ruled out that we may eventually put more than three submarines on Guam-absolutely not. But for now, we plan to go easy and not disturb the equilibrium. This is essentially free.
We’re also going to put 220 extra people onboard USS FRANK CABLE, the submarine tender that’s in Guam, because the tender now spends 50 percent of her time out of Guam at other ports in WESTPAC, servicing the surface ships in WESTPAC. As a result, we’ll need a more permanent maintenance capability on Guam. So, we are going to put 220 extra people onboard the tender to allow them to stay behind to take care of submarines while the tender’s at sea.
Question: Is there any possibility of qualifying the shipyard at Guam?
I looked at that. I crawled through the shipyard. Tom Beckett, my deputy is here tonight-he also crawled through the shipyard and looked at the infrastructure. That infrastructure has crumbled a good bit since we last had SSBNs refitting on Guam 20 years ago. Right now the plan would be to have submarine maintenance done completely by the tender. Flyaway teams from Puget Sound or Pearl Harbor would do any non·routine maintenance that comes up and is beyond the tender’s capability, which is just like we do it today.
Question: Is there an existing shore-side IMA structure for these 220 folks you would leave behind?
There is. And the good news is that, again, there is a zero MILCON bill to do this because, already in the budget is a MILCON funding line to make that shore-based infrastructure a little bit better. When I was stationed on Guam in the early 70s, there were T-sheds and Quonset huts and that kind of thing to use for storage and temporary maintenance facilities. They were destroyed by one of the two super-typhoons that hit the island in the years since then. So there was already a MILCON proposal to erect shore-based maintenance support structure, so the answer is yes.
Question: The lack of a drydock scared me when I was a squadron engineer out there.
You bet. And it bothers me, too. What we have agreed to do, and what we have done for the last several years in WESTPAC, is if something should happen that requires drydocking a submarine, we send the submarine back to Hawaii on the surface. That’s not an ideal situation, but fortunately we haven’t had to exercise that option very often.
So forward basing was a good idea. Figure 13 shows an idea that’s not good in my view.
Dual-crewing-at first blush, it really seems keen, it really seems nifty, and of all warfare communities who might know how to make dual-crewing work, the submarine community ought to know all about it. Because, after all, we have been doing this from the very beginning on our SSBNs.
And that’s part of the problem, indeed, we have been doing this from the beginning on our boomers because we recognized at the start of the SSBN program that we needed a sizable infrastructure ashore for training during the off-crew period. And it’s worked well. However, we don’t have that luxury with the SSNs. We
can’t replicate the missions of the SSNs ashore for the off crew’s training without a hefty MILCON bill.
Furthermore, the off-crew time for a SSN is longer than it is on an SSBN. The off-crew on an SSN could be as long as a year if we don’t change the way we operate today. Six months’ worch of POM work-up to hone the crew’s war-fighting skills, which has gotten even more important in recent years because of our better integration with to the carrier battlegroups, and then six months’ worth of deployment.
How do you keep an off crew gainfully employed for a year, … back on shore, … without a pretty robust training infrastructure – simulators, trainers that we don’t have.
Furthermore, and this is somewhat counter-intuitive, we don’t get twice as many mission-days on station from two crews over the single-crew situation. In fact, you only get on the order of 40 percent more. So you get a factor of about a 1.4 mission-time-onstation improvement by going to a dual-crew system for our attack submarines-not two times.
Plus, where are you going to start? I don’t have, and nobody else has, an extra set of submarine crews in his bottom desk drawer to throw at this problem. When the British submarine community looked at doing this, not too long ago, … for three ships, … for only three ships, … they figured it was going to take them 8 years to recruit, train, and get into the assignment queue people that could be applied to the problem.
So, it’s not a walk in the park. Figure 13 identifies some additional concerns that I just think make dual crewing not appealing, … not attractive. So, right now, we’re not pursuing it, but we’ll continue to maintain an open mind, of course.
Now, I want to move beyond a strict discussion about Submarine Force structure and talk about how the Submarine Force is going to harness the technology that’s on the horizon. Figure 14 gives a list of submarine effectiveness measures. Those of you who have attended these seminars in the last year will recognize that these words are from the Future Studies Group work-that group of submarine captains that got together to help than the community’s course in the 2111 century.
FUTURE STUDIES GROUP EMPLOYMENT CONCEPT
• GAIN & SUSTAIN BATTLEFORCE ACCESS
– UNDER ENEMY DEFENSIVE UMBRELLA
• DEVELOP & SHARE KNOWLEQGE OF BATTLESPACE
– COVERT ANO CONTINUOUS
– BOTH AS AN ADJUNCT TO WARFIGHTING ANO,
IDEALLY, AS AN ALTERNATIVE TOWARFIGHTING
• PROJECT POWER WITH SURPRISE FROM UP CLOSE
– NECESSARY BUI NOT SUFFICIENT
• DETER & COUNTER WEAPONS OF MASS QESTRUCI!ON
– ACTIVE PREEMPTIVE MEASURES
The big word here is access, … guaranteed access. If I went back to my very first Figure, which said, “How did the submarine community get to the front of the requirements queue?” I would say it’s because people are beginning to recognize that in this day and age of cheaply linking satellite surveillance with surface-to-surface missiles, the submarine represents a platform that can guarantee access to denied waters for all our forces.
And so, it’s access, … it’s access, … it’s access. I think that the brochures, or information guides, that the Submarine League printed start off with, “Submarines matter because access matters.” And that really is what it’s about. You’ve heard me say in some of my speeches that there is no such thing as “enemy-controlled waters” in the submariner’s mentality. And I do say that in a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek manner, but those of us who have been there, you know what I’m talking about. We’ll go. If we need to go, we’ll be there. So the guaranteed access part is key.
The next part of this Figure may look like something we have always been doing: develop and share a dominant knowledge of the battlespace. It’s not. This is talking about linking sensors and information systems like we have never linked before, both from a communications standpoint and from a sensor/tactical standpoint. How about these things that DARPA is developing at the micro-, and even nano-scale that can swim ashore, fly ashore, link back, and send video? This is not too far off.
Microprocessors today cost pennies, … pennies. You open up one of those calling cards, it sings “Happy Birthday” to you-that’s a microprocessor. That’s not exactly the level of sophistication that we’re looking for, but the cost for such items continue to go down, so we’re going to be able to do this. What l mean by this is that we are going to be able to provide, covertly and continuously, the battle force commander and the National Command Authority guaranteed access to figure out what’s going on ashore. The access to get into the bad guy’s do-loop, … his thinking loop, … and then link that information back to the decision makers. That’s the second bullet.
The third bullet is projecting power. Now, this is almost like what we’ve been doing, but it’s not exactly. Because we are talking about projecting power from under the other guy’s defensive umbrella, knocking down key nodes, recognizing where those key nodes are, and again, trying to deter, deter, deter, before we ever have to really pull the trigger.
And that deterrence generated by the possibility of a submarine lurking inside the defensive umbrella of a potential bad guy can even extend to weapons of mass destruction.
The four points made on Figure 15, all gets, support these four elements of this future submarine world: getting connected, payload, modular, and electric. They intertwine. The connected is not just about radio communications, it’s about linking to those sensors I talked about. It’s about getting knowledge and not just a data stream of zeroes and ones. We’re headed in this direction, and we are very serious about it.
• GET CONNECTED
– REAL TIME
– KNOWLEDGE – NOT JUST DATA
• GET PAYLOAD
– MORE OF IT ANO MORE VARIED
– TO INCLUDE SENSORS, AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES, WEAPONS
• GET MODULAR
– FLEXIBILITY AND ADAPTABILITY KEY TO MAINTAINING
WARFIGHTING ADVANTAGE AND MEETING EVOLVING GLOBAL
• GET ELECTRIC
– KEY ENABLER FOR ALL THE ABOVE
– ONLY WAY TO ACHIEVE NEXT LEVEL OF STEALTH IMPROVEMENT
The DARPA/N77 partnership that was formed with the two industry partners this last year and half, I think was dynamite. And we are very, very serious about proceeding down the path that those two teams developed. It represents a great number of you in this room: I know that. I was very, very happy with what we saw.
The 2006 or so appropriated Virginia class submarine will slart seeing things like I’m going to show on Figure 16.
We’re going to look very carefully at, and in fact, likely will change the sail design completely from anything that I’ve seen since I have been doing this for 35 years. More room available for the payload that the payload study ralked about. More opportunity to put additional things of value in this unusable volume that the Defense Science Board brought to our attention in their 1998 study. Look at USS JIMMY CARTER, if you think we’re not serious about this. We’re delaying the delivery of JIMMY CARTER by almost two years, so that we can prove the concept of finding volume that hasn’t been used before for payload. And this is one example of where we’re going in the bow and the sail.
How about a bundle, called here a bustle for missiles that could be specifically tailored for the mission at hand? And where could they go? Is there room? Are there buoyancy and volume and weight accommodations on today’s Virginia class design to pull this off! The answer is, yes, we have the design flexibility to do this. So this idea would incorporate exactly some of the thoughts that came from the DARPA/N77 partnership that we worked on this last year and a half.
How about a hangar bay for an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) or two? That might make sense. Or even Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)? I still have a challenge out to my aviationindustry friends to build these UAVs so that they can be launched and recovered from a submarine. There’s no reason they can’t do that. UAVs are that small already, and it’s a simple matter of adapting the technology to make a UAV work from a submarine. So, we’re headed off, looking at this as a conceptual study.
Lots going on in the sensor world, too-these are organic sensors, obviously. We still care about maintaining an acoustic advantage. One way to do it is to get quieter, and another way to do it is to hear him better and process that information better. So, the Wide Aperture Array and this Large Flank Array are just around the comer on this 2006-timeframe submarine.
The 2010-timeframe submarine, shown in Figure 17, is a larger step forward. It’s a bigger deal, also, and it has dollar signs attached to it. But this 2010-timeframe appropriated submarine is our target. It’s our target for instituting electric drive, an integrated electric ship with an integrated propulsion system. We may also look at a larger hull diameter than the current Virginia class submarine, if the larger hull diameter is the right answer to support the advances in payload and acoustic stealth we think are possible.
The last thing I want to talk about is the cost of the Virginia class submarine. If you follow the dotted line up at the top of Figure 18, it says if you build Virginia class submarines at one a year, you will achieve some savings over time as a result of a learning curve. We get smarter with each one and there are fewer design changes, so we’ll get the kind of savings shown just through learning as we go.
If, however, you depart from a one-a-year build rate and move to the Naval Force Structure build rate that I’ve talked about, which has us going to two submarines a year in 2007, . . . two a year in 2008, … and three a year in 2009, you achieve these additional economies as you build submarines. This additional savings is the result of getting the learning curve down faster, but also for the same reason we buy stuff at Costco’s-it’s cheaper when you buy in quantity. If we were to shift the two a year first appearance from 2007 to 2004, we would achieve the lower line additional efficiencies and improvements in cost.
If you couple some of these notions with what’s being talked about on the Hill and other places, and think about different ways to buy submarines through multi-year procurement, batch buys with economic ordering quantity, you get the even more impressive savings shown in Figure 19. In fact, Electric Boat and Newport News, who have studied these ideas, have said that you get about one free Virginia class submarine for every nine to ten that you buy, if we pull out all the stops and maximize our savings through making the most of these efficiencies.
In summary, what have I said here? I’ve said that there’s a legitimate requirement for attack submarines that has been validated through numerous studies, and that this requirement can’t quite be reached, even if we pull out all the stops of refueling the five remaining 688s and converting the four SSGNs. However, it is imperative that we do those two things to get as close as we can, cheaply-and that we go to the accelerated, or the 30-year force structure build rate. And even doing all those things, we are going to fall short. And therefore, it behooves us, … it is incumbent on us, … to go look at other ways we can improve the efficiency-the operating efficiency and the deployment tactical efficiency-of these
submarines. And then finally, can’t we make these things a little bit cheaper just by looking at the contracting methods? And the answer is: you bet-a lot cheaper. A 15 percent savings starts mounting up on a bill of almost $2 billion.
And I think that answers Rick Newman’s question. This is our story, we stuck to it and we told the truth. And this isn’t going to change.
RADM Ralph Carnahan, USN(Ret.)
W .F. Donnelly
CAPT Francis J. Farino, USN(Ret.)
RADM Harry Hall, USN(Ret.)
CAPT Donald Henderson, USN(Ret.)
LCDR Hugh F. Glynn, USN(Ret.)
CAPT Allen E. May, USN(Ret.)
CDR Kevin Rogers, USN(Ret.)
CAPT William Rosebrough, USN(Ret.)
LCDR Kar Sax, II, USN(Ret.)
Roger F. Smith
COB Marshall T. Steves, Sr.
CAPT George H. Whiting, USN(Ret.)