I have three tasks and 10 minutes-I must welcome you and thank you for your support, deliver a message and introduce our speaker.
First-Welcome and thanks for your support.
Second-For my message I want to speak to this Tango Bravo project.
As I understand it-it is a DARPA led effort to fund five areas in order to develop a smaller, cheaper submarine-one of DARPA’s holy grails.
I certainly don’t object to advancing submarine R&D in this era when Navy is mis-using R&D funds to build ships.
But to specify that the outcome is a half-size, half-price submarine is ludicrous. It is a prime example of the current lack of intellectual rigor that infuses the Navy. This effort is seriously flawed on at least three counts.
First-DARPA has neitherthe experience nor the talent to broker a serious submarine R&D effort.
Second-the amount of money is trivial compared to what would constitute a serious conceptual design effort. The expected results will be too meager to result in a cost estimate. However a cost estimate is being demanded now-even before the studies are complete.
A serious ship design effort starts with a mission, proceeds through ship characteristics studies and a series of design analyses. The winners are then costed out for R&D, construction and life cycle costs. That is the major league-this is the Peewee League.
Finally-this quest continues the mystique that size is the predominate driver for cost. If this were true, why did a Trident submarine, two times the displacement of an SSN 21 cost significantly less in equivalent dollars?
If DARPA will give me a contract I will explain all this to them.
In summation-This is a misguided effort. The money could be better spent developing a mission for the LCS or reducing the burgeoning cost of DDX, which, I am told, now exceeds the cost of a nuclear submarine.
Now to my third task. We are most pleased to have Admiral Donald, Director of Naval Reactors, here to speak to us. While he is still completing his basic engineering qualification card, I have found his insights to be right on. The Navy is fortunate to have a person of his intellect, integrity and industry during these difficult times.