Monday, April 10, 2017

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement

The Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines since FY1998. The two Virginia-class boats requested for procurement in FY2017 are to be the 25th and 26th boats in the class. The 10 Virginia-class boats programmed for procurement in FY2014-FY2018 (two per year for five years) are being procured under a multiyear-procurement (MYP) contract.

The Navy estimates the combined procurement cost of the two Virginia-class boats requested for procurement in FY2017 at $5,408.9 million, or an average of $2,704.5 million each. The boats have received a total of $1,623.3 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding and $597.6 million in prior-year Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2017 budget requests the remaining $3,188.0 million needed to complete the boats’ estimated combined procurement cost. The Navy’s proposed FY2017 budget also requests $1,767.2 million in AP funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future fiscal years, bringing the total FY2017 funding request for the program (excluding outfitting and post-delivery costs) to $4,955.2 million.

The Navy’s proposed FY2017 budget also requests $97.9 million in research and development funding for the Virginia Payload Module (VPM). The funding is contained in Program Element (PE) 0604580N, entitled Virginia Payload Module (VPM), which is line 128 in the Navy’s FY2017 research and development account.

The Navy plans to build some of the Virginia-class boats procured in FY2019 and subsequent years with an additional mid-body section, called the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), that contains four large-diameter, vertical launch tubes that the boats would use to store and fire additional Tomahawk cruise missiles or other payloads, such as large-diameter unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

The Navy’s FY2017 30-year SSN procurement plan, if implemented, would not be sufficient to maintain a force of 48 SSNs consistently over the long run. The Navy projects under the plan that the SSN force would fall below 48 boats starting in FY2025, reach a minimum of 41 boats in FY2029, and remain below 48 boats through FY2036.

Potential issues for Congress regarding the Virginia-class program include whether to procure an additional Virginia-class boat in FY2021 and, more generally, the Virginia-class procurement rate in coming years.

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