Admiral Reynolds, thank you for that kind introduction. Today, I would like to provide you with an update on Submarine Force programs and issues that are important to our Navy, Industry, and to members of the Naval Submarine League.
First of all, the Submarine Force continues to have a great year.Since I last spoke to you in this forum, USS VIRGINIA (SSN 774) completed her first deployment in October 2005, and all four SSGNs are either well into their conversion, or have already been delivered back to the Navy. USS OHIO (SSGN 726) returned to service on February 7, 2006, and USS FLORIDA (SSGN 728) returned to service on May 25, 2006. USS MICHIGAN (SSGN 727) will complete conversion in late 2006, and USS GEORGIA (SSGN 729) will complete conversion in 2007. TEXAS (SSN 775) completed Sea Trials in May 2006, will be delivered to the Navy on June 20, 2006, and then be commissioned on September 9, 2006 in Galveston, TX.
We currently have 53 SSNs in the force, comprised of 49 LOS ANGELES Class (688), three SEA WOLF Class, and one VIRGINIA Class. We also have four SSGNs and 14 SSBNs, and these numbers will remain steady pending any changes to the Nuclear Posture Review. We have two SSBNs undergoing two-year refueling overhauls. USS HENRY M. JACKSON (SSBN 730) started her overhaul in 2005 , and USS ALABAMA (SSBN 731) started her overhaul in 2006. We will continue overhauling SSBNs at a rate of one per year until all of the SSBNs are completed. USS ALASKA (SSBN 732) will commence her overhaul in 2007.
Let me take a few moments to discuss SSN force posture. Today, the majority of SSN requirements reside in the Pacific. Our current force distribution of about 53% SSNs in the Pacific and 47% SSNs in the Atlantic is not optimal to meet all of PACOM’s requirements. In fact, over the past two years, three Atlantic based SSNs have deployed to the Pacific in support of Combatant Commander operational requirements. To better align the Submarine Force with joint warfighting requirements, the Navy has decide to split the SSN force with 60 percent in the Pacific and 40 percent in the Atlantic. In support of the 60/40 split, all three SEA WOLF Class SSNs will be collocated in the Pacific Northwest. This collocation plan allows the force to take advantage of the maintenance efficiencies gained by having all three SEA WOLF Class submarines in one geographical area. USS JIMMY CARTER (SSN 23) is already homeported in Bangor, WA, and USS SEA WOLF (SSN 21) and USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) will change their homeports to Bremerton, WA in 2007.
Last year, the CNO approved the repair of USS SAN FRAN- CISCO (SSN 711) using the bow section of USS HONOLULU (SSN 718) after she arrives in Bremerton, WA following the completion of her final deployment. SAN FRANCISCO will undergo repairs at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, and then return to service in either San Diego or Pearl Harbor. To restore the Pacific Area of Responsibility (AOR) SSN operational availability, USS BUFF ALO (SSN 715) will transfer from Pearl Harbor to Guam to replace SAN FRANCISCO, and USS HAMPTON (SSN 767) will transfer from Norfolk to San Diego. These two change of home ports will take place in 2007.
Let me talk about submarine tenders. Many of you are aware that the Italian Minister of Defense has asked the U.S. Department of Defense to withdraw the Submarine Tender EMORY S. LAND (AS 39) from La Maddelana, Italy. As a result of this request, the Secretary of Defense has ordered the withdrawal of EMORY S. LAND from Italy. The timetable for this withdrawal is still under development, but the Navy is aggressively working on the Submarine Tender Transition Plan. The bottom line is the Navy is commit- ted to maintaining two forward deployed submarine tenders in the fleet. USS FRANK CABLE (AS 40) will remain home ported in Guam, and EMORY S. Land’s future home port is still to be determined.
Let me touch on POM 08, some of the program challenges we face, and my priorities. First and foremost, POM 08 will be a tough fiscal environment. I can honestly say our resources will be pressurized more this cycle than any other cycle with which I have been involved. Despite these pressures, my number one priority is getting VIRGINIA cost down to $2 billion (FY05$) per hull, and achieving a build rate of two ships per year no later than 2012. I am sure Admiral Hilarides will talk more about VIRGINIA Class cost reduction initiatives during his brief tomorrow.
Another one of my priorities is modernization. I think the Submarine Force deserves a pretty good pat on the back for the way we have modernized our ships. Today, USS LOS ANGELES (SSN 688), the first 688, commissioned in 1976, is as modem- maybe even more modem-than USS CHEYENNE (SSN 773), which was the 62″u and last 688-class submarine that we built, some 20 years later. Later in my brief, I will talk in much greater detail about our modernization programs.
Another top priority is Comms at Speed and Depth. We are committed to delivering to the Submarine Force the capability to communicate at tactically relevant speeds and depth. Comms at Speed and Depth will provide the theater or tactical commander with the ability to communicate with his assigned submarines while they are deep, and allow the submarine to be an active participant in FORCE net, exchanging tactical information with other operating forces. Comms at Speed and Depth will ensure the Submarine Force remains relevant in today’s ever increasing netted force.
Let me shift topics and discuss the SSGN conversion program. The SSGN conversion is truly remarkable considering the program did not receive its first SCN funding until January 2002. To meet the desired Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of 2007, the design, manufacturing, and conversion were conducted concurrently using many of the same design tools and processes pioneered by the VIRGINIA Class Program. As I mentioned, OHIO and FLORIDA have already returned to service and are currently undergoing modernization and maintenance periods in their respective home ports of Bangor, WA and Kings Bay, GA. OHIO will conduct a SOF Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) in early 2007, and then deploy later in the year. FLORIDA will conduct a Strike OPEVAL in 2007, and then deploy in early 2008.
The SSGN is an outstanding example of the Navy’s commitment to getting everything possible out of the existing submarines in the force. In addition to carrying as many as 154 TOMAHAWK land attack cruise missiles in its Multiple All-Up-Round Canisters (MACs), it can carry two Advanced SEAL Delivery Systems (ASDS), each a 60-ton ship, or two Dry Dock Shelters (DDSs), or a combination of one each, plus up to 102 Special Operations Force (SOF) personnel, including all of their ordnance.
Let me give you an idea of just how much SOF equipment an SSGN can carry in addition to the two SOF delivery vehicles. An SSGN can carry 26 combat raiding craft, 150 6-gallon fuel bladders, 39 outboard motors, small arms weapons and over 8,700 pounds of high explosives. Carrying up to 8 SOF Stowage Canisters and dual Lockout Chambers for SOF egress and ingress further enhances the SSGN’s warfighting capabilities. With this kind of manning, equipment, firepower, and payload, an SSGN can support a SOF campaign, with multiple, simultaneous operations taking place. This represents a significant improvement in SOF capability over that of a 688 Class submarine.
As I mentioned earlier, I am committed to modernizing the force. Today, we are aggressively installing over 15 new or improved systems into our submarines fleet-wide, and continue the develop- ment of numerous others that will reach their initial operating capability in the not too distant future. Let me take a few minutes to discuss some of the programs and initiatives that are rapidly delivering capability to the fleet.
First and foremost is ARCI. You are all aware that ARCI, and more importantly, the ARCI business model we follow, led the way for rapid capability insertion into our sonar systems. Today, we are applying the ARC! business model to the BYG-1 Combat Control System, BLQ-10 ESM System, navigation and radio systems, and our torpedoes. This process enables rapid capability insertion, as well as cost-effective sustainment of these systems for the life of the ship.
The next system I would like to talk about is the Electronic Charting Display and Information System – Navy, or ECDIS-N. ECDIS-N is comprised of hardware and software that is integrated with the Voyage Management System that is already installed on our submarines. ECDIS-N will give our submarines the capability to conduct paperless navigation; from chart preparation and voyage planning, to piloting and open-ocean navigation. Certification of ECDIS-N and electronic navigation onboard submarines is sched- uled for November 2006. By 2007, all SSNs and SSGNs will have ECDIS-N installed, and by 2009, all SSBNs will have this capability.
We are also continuing to develop new acoustic sensors, and improve our towed arrays. For example, the Sparsely Populated Volumetric Array (SPVA) is a much more capable replacement for the WLR-9. Unlike the WLR-9, the SPVA provides instantaneous bearing and range to active sources, and with three SPY A sensors instead of the two WLR-9 sensors, there is no shadow region/blind spot. SPY A is a great tactical control tool for operating in high contact density environments. This system will reach its Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in 2007.
Another new acoustic sensor is the Low Cost Conformal Array (LCCA). LCCA is comprised of three sonar arrays mounted on the front and sides of the sail providing 360 degrees of active and passive HF coverage. LCCA is another tool to provide increased tactical control while operating in high contact density environments. In June of this year, we successfully tested LCCA onboard USS CHEYENNE (SSN 773), and this system is scheduled to reach its IOC in 20 I 0.
Similar work to improve our towed arrays is ongoing. The next generation fat line towed array, the TB-34, will replace the TB-16. The TB-34 provides increased frequency coverage and improved performance against diesel submarines, and is scheduled to reach its IOC in 2008. The TB-33 thin line towed array, a replacement for the TB-29, has the same performance of the TB-29, but addresses its poor reliability. The TB-33 reliability will be improved through the use of fiber optic technology, and by reducing the number of electrical connections within the array from 70,000 in the TB-29, to 300 in the TB-33. We successfully tested the TB-33 in December 2005, and we expect the TB-33 to reach its IOC in 2009.
Finally, I would like to talk about the Thin Line Twin Line (TLTL) towed array. The TL TL towed array has numerous advantages over a single line towed array; significantly improved detection ranges, longer hold times, and the ability to instantaneously resolve bearing ambiguity, to name just a few. We currently have TLTL towed arrays on our SURTAS ships, and are enjoying excellent success with this system. We clearly desire this capability on our submarines- not necessarily in a system with the complexity of twin towed arrays, but an engineered solution that provides similar capabilities.
Earlier, I mentioned the importance of the submarine remaining relevant and being connected with the netted force. The Common Submarine Radio Room (CSSR) is another system that will help us stay connected. The CSRR uses upgrade able, scalable, open architecture hardware to enable joint communications for U.S. submarines. The CSRR is being installed on SEA WOLF, VIR- GINIA, SSGN and SSBN Class submarines, and represents the Navy’s evolving approach to network centric, IP-based, secure communications. We recently completed a Quick Reaction Assessment of the CSSR on board USS SEA WOLF (SSN 21) in support of her summer 2006 deployment, and we are on track to complete the OPEVAL for the other classes of ships scheduled to receive the CSSR.
Another system that has reached its IOC recently is the Integrated Submarine Imaging System (ISIS). ISIS IOC’d onboard USS HAMPTON (SSN 767) in June 2006. ISIS incorporates infrared imaging from the NIGHT OWL System, radar range finding information from the PA TRI OT System, and real-time digital image processing from the Type-8 and Type-18 periscopes. The ISIS data is shared throughout the Combat System, and provides the Command Team, Officer of the Deck, and watch standers in Control with a set of extremely effective contact management tools. ISIS, NIGHT OWL, and PATRIOT radar are three extremely effective systems that provide our crews with the tools necessary to maintain absolute tactical control while operating in high contact density environments.
We are also delivering improved weapons capability to the fleet. The MK 48 Mod 7 heavy weight Advanced Capability (ADCAP) torpedo, CBASS, which is short for Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System, will IOC in 2006. What makes CB ASS different from previous ADCAPs is rather than transmitting and receiving at a specific operating frequency, CBASS transmits and receives at an operating frequency that generates the highest target signal-to-noise ratio. This capability improves its shallow water performance, clutter and false target rejection capability, and enhances the torpedo’s ability to defeat countermeasures. The Advanced Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) Guidance Control System leverages advanced COTS processors, and uses open architecture and software portability to support AR CI-like Advanced Processor Build (APB) processes for future software torpedo improvements. We have just finished operational testing of the Mod 7 weapon, completing over 30 successful shots in shallow and deep water, against both diesel and nuclear submarines.
Another weapon I would like to discuss is the Tactical Toma- hawk land attack missile, or TACTOM. TACTOM provides tremendous capability improvements over the Block m missile. Let me highlight a couple of noteworthy points. It’s about half the cost of the Block IIl missile. It has about one fourth the number of parts, which contributes to its improved reliability, and it has a 15-year maintenance cycle time compared to 8 years for the Block Ill. It has a two-way satellite data link, which allows flexible in flight re targeting. The Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System greatly simplifies strike coordination and planning, and supports overland mission planning onboard the submarine. Although T ACTOM has been in the fleet for about a year, this summer, USS BOISE (SSN 754) will be the first submarine to deploy with both TACTOM and the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System. This combination provides the Combatant Commander with a significantly improved, stealthy and persistent strike capability.
The last time I spoke to this audience I discussed the Mission Reconfigurable Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (MRUUV). As many of you remember, MRUUV is a 21-inch diameter UUV launched and recovered via the submarine’s torpedo tubes. MRUUV will be capable of conducting autonomous, clandestine mine countermeasures (MCM) and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions with approximately two days endurance, and ranges up to 30 nm. In late January 2006, final MRUUV launch and recovery testing was conducted onboard USS SCRANTON (SSN 756). During this testing, the MRUUV success- fully homed on, and docked in the recovery arm. Considering the complexity of this system, and the requirement for the MRUUV to be able to overcome the hydrodynamic forces of the recovery submarine making way, this is a real success story. This final test brings to a close the propulsion, launch and recovery phases of the MRUUV program; however, work continues on the mission and payload phases of the program.
Let me shift gears and talk a little about submarine rescue. The latest addition to the Navy’s submarine rescue equipment is the Atmospheric Diving Suit, or ADS. ADS is really not a diving suit at all, but rather, it is a one man submersible that allows the operator, or pilot, to remain at one atmosphere of pressure regardless of operating depth. Unlike the typical surface supplied diving suit that was used in the rescue of the SQUALAS, ADS can dive as deep as 2000 feet for up to six hours without any of the physiological hazards of depth, such as the bends or nitrogen narcosis.
Once a disabled submarine has been located, ADS will be the first piece of rescue equipment to arrive on the submarine. ADS will conduct an initial survey of the submarine while providing the rescue team with video, sonar and personal observations. The primary task of ADS is to clear debris from the submarine hatch, remove the hatch fairing and connect the down haul cable from the submarine rescue chamber to the submarines hatch, or prepare the disabled submarine for the arrival of the Submarine Rescue Diving and Re compression System (SRDRS), which I will discuss next. ADS is scheduled to IOC in this year.
The US Navy’s approach to submarine rescue is moving from the sea-surface-independent, Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicles (OSRV) like MYSTIC and AV ALON, to a new, tethered, remotely operated, mobile, pressurized rescue module called the Submarine Rescue Diving and Re compression System, or SRDRS. The primary elements comprising SRDRS are the Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM), and the Submarine Decompression System (SOS). The PRM, remotely controlled from a topside control console located onboard a vessel of opportunity, will descend to the submarine, mate with the escape hatch, and transfer the crew under pressure, if necessary, from the disabled submarine to the SOS. The entire system is designed to be air transported anywhere in the world to effect emergency rescue operations. SRDRS is scheduled to IOC in late 2007.
An area that I have not discussed in this forum in the past has been school house trainers. This is an area that deserves some discussion. I recently attended USS FLORIDA’s return to service ceremony in Kings Bay, GA, and while at Kings Bay, I had the opportunity to tour the Trident Training Facility. I can tell you the trainers I saw in operation there were nothing short of spectacular.One of the trainers I saw was the Fleet Interactive Display Equipment Training Simulator, or FIDE. FIDE is a full scale, completely interactive trainer that gives operators realistic, real-time experience in the normal and casualty operations of the ship’s nuclear propulsion plant. Instructors are able to program the trainer with specific casualties that cannot be simulated on the submarine. The trainer then responds to the operators’ reactions to the scenario with typical nuclear plant responses, and also replicates the sounds, temperature and humidity for the operators inside maneuvering as if they were actually in the engine room. FIDE invokes in the operators the seamstress and sense of urgency experienced operating an actual propulsion plant, and is an excellent addition to our training program. Currently, there are two trainers in operation, one in Bangor, WA and one in Kings Bay, GA. Additional trainers are scheduled to come on line in all fleet concentration areas over the next several years.
Another trainer worth mentioning, although not yet installed in Kings Bay, is the Submarine Multi-Mission Team Trainer(SMMTT) (Phase 3). SMMTI 3 is a completely integrated Submarine Attack Center that can be reconfigured for almost any combination of Sonar and Combat Systems. With SMMTT 3, gone are the days of attending attack centers that use sonar and combat systems different from those found on your ship. SMMTI 3 provides a totally immersive, realistic and complex operating environment that uses the actual tactical software found on your ship, real world ocean environments, and extremely accurate modeling and emulation for sonar and weapons performance. In fact, the trainer’s Weapons Control System can be linked with the Weapons Analysis Facility at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, RI, to monitor actual weapon’s performance. By the end of FY 2007, all training centers throughout the fleet will have SMMTT 3 systems installed.
In closing, you can see the Submarine Force has made good progress over the past year. VIRGINIA completed her first deployment, OHIO and FLORIDA have been delivered, and TEXAS has completed sea trials. We have a clear way ahead for delivering Comms at Speed and Depth to the fleet, and we remain committed to modernization. Numerous programs are at or approaching their IOC, and we continue to deliver tactically relevant warfighting capability to the fleet.