First appeared at VPK-news
The US industry is capable of implementing a new plan to create additional submarines with careful planning and sufficient funding. This was reported by the publication Naval Today referring to the report of the US Navy, who went to Congress.
The document considers plans to increase the underwater forces for the period from 2017 to 2030. The main topic of the study is whether two of the largest enterprises of Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics Electric Boat will be able to transfer two multipurpose submarines of Virginia type each year (Virginia) even after the construction of new strategic missile carriers of the Columbia type in the early 2020s .
Earlier it was assumed that because of the beginning of the program for the construction of new nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles, the US Navy will receive only one Virginia-type submarine per year. However, the command has now revised the industry’s capabilities and concluded that Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics Electric Boat will be able to keep the pace of work and transmit two Virginia. True, to accomplish this task, additional production capacities and personnel issues will be required.
If Congress supports the proposals of the Navy, then the number of multi-purpose submarines of the type “Virginia” in the period from 2017 to 2030 will increase to 28 units instead of 22.
In the longer term, notes Naval Today, these measures will allow the Navy to ensure by 2048 the presence of 66 submarines.
According to the media, the search for opportunities to optimize production is connected with the demand of President Donald Trump to increase the number of warships from 272 to 350, while Barack Obama’s plans envisaged an increase in the fleet to 308 ships. In one of his campaign speeches in October 2016, Trump said that the plan to create a fleet of 350 ships would be the largest restructuring of the US military since the days of Ronald Reagan. According to him, this will require efforts throughout the country. The number given by Trump, as the media reported, was last noted in the US Navy in 1998.
Note that in the fall of 2016 in Congress actively discussed a specially prepared report on 350 ships, in which experts focused on new surface ships of the ocean zone and multipurpose submarines. In December 2016, Navy Chief of Staff Admiral John Richardson said that the US military industry is ready and capable of increasing ship production if Donald Trump fulfills his promise to expand the US Navy.
The Navy has so far introduced 13 Virginia-type submarines. The tasks of these multipurpose nuclear powered vessels are to conduct operations against enemy underwater and surface ships, strike sea-based cruise missiles (SLCMs) against ground targets, and provide anti-submarine defense (ASW) for warships, including their SSBNs. And also – the secretive conduct of special operations due to the possibilities to use submarine saboteurs, says Andrei Frolov, research officer at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, editor-in-chief of the magazine Export of Arms.
“It’s hardly appropriate to ask whether Americans can surrender two Virginia a year, while building new strategic missile carriers.” Nobody doubts the possibilities of their shipbuilding industry, especially since they built the entire fleet of the post-Soviet period without any interruptions and downtime.
Recently, the French magazine “Defense & Securite Internationale” published material on the state of the Russian submarine fleet. Although the material was not without flaws, for example, it did not take into account the six 636.3 Varshavyanka submarines under construction for the Pacific Fleet under construction and a number of promising programs, nevertheless the French as a whole correctly noted the trends. The Severodvinsk nuclear submarine of Project 885 Yasen, laid in 1993 and handed over to the fleet in 2014, is the only multi-purpose submarine accepted into the Russian Navy’s combat composition since 2009 (at that time the Nerpa nuclear submarine was introduced, later transferred to the Navy leasing India).
So, our response to the construction of the Americans is reduced to the completion of the submarines under Project 885, the modernization of several multipurpose submarines of Project 971 “Pike-B”, the compliance of which with the American nuclear submarine “Virginia” and “Sivulf” in its capabilities is in question. Our response capabilities are rather limited, even taking into account the number of “Virginia” that the US is building.
However, it is important for the United States to project force in all regions, including to contain China and the DPRK. This factor allows the Russian fleet to be not so patrolled by the US Navy, although, of course, it is not worth it to rely on. As for the Russian underwater system of hydroacoustic tracking, some elements of which, according to some sources, are already functioning, it, first of all, is defensive in nature. If your submarines are a limited number, then it is rather problematic to conduct any operations and protect your other ships. As the saying goes, no matter how good the ship is, it can not be in two places at the same time. And that the boat was in the sea, you must have two more – one replaces it, the other – is under repair. That is, if we have 10-15 multi-purpose submarines for two fleets, then objectively, only five of them will be able to be in the sea. Americans are guaranteed to “cut” the already existing number of submarines, not counting all sorts of shock uninhabited vehicles, including drums.
“It is clear that the pace of building ships comparable to the American one can not be provided for us, and we have less shipyards,” said Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis. – It is difficult for Americans to answer here because of the geographical location of the country, since our navy is scattered over several theaters of military operations (TVD), which do not unite at all with each other, and no one else has such a problem. The only thing in our fleet that can be compared with the US is the submarines. Of course, it’s bad that we are lagging behind in this respect, although on the other hand Russia is a continental power and we can not have complete symmetry with the US, but it is not really needed – the Americans are unlikely to compare with us on tanks.
“Even if the US will take two multipurpose submarines a year, it’s likely that there will not be a sharp increase in the number of multipurpose submarines in the US Navy, because the Los Angeles-class submarines built in the 1980s are systematically being written off, – says Corresponding Member of RARAN, captain of the 1st rank of the reserve Konstantin Sivkov. – That is, the new “Virginia” will simply replace the park “Los Angeles”. And the construction of multi-purpose submarines of the new generation of SSN (X), for which the OCD, are scheduled for the period after the 2030s. By the way, the number of new-generation SSBNs that will carry 16 Trident-2 D-5 missiles on board, in turn, rests on the START-3 treaty.