Navy makes its case for new boomers

Navy leaders continue to make their plea to keep the replacement program for the Ohio-class submarine fleet a top priority despite the coming defense budget cuts.

Adm. Kirk Donald, the director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, said there “can be no excuses” when it comes to replacing and upgrading the Navy’s ballistic missile submarine fleet. Navy submarine admirals argued at the 2012 Naval Submarine League Symposium on Oct. 17 in Arlington, VA that the subs will benefit from the technological advances from the Virginia-class attack submarines .

Officials have already delayed the replacement program two years setting back the delivery date for the submarine fleet to 2027 with construction starting on 2021. The delivery date coincides with the retirement of the first Ohio-class submarine.

Navy leaders are under intense pressure to reduce the price of each submarine. Price expectation have dropped from up to $7 billion per copy to $4.9 billion reducing the expectations on the advances made with the replacement fleet.

A major change coming with the replacement fleet is the reduction in ballistic missile tubes from 24 to 16. It will be designed to continue carrying the Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The Navy’s new boomers will feature the same anechoic tiles featured on the Virginia-class attack subs that make the submarine harder to detect by active sonars. The replacement Ohio-class submarines will also feature “a scaled up version of the large aperture bow sonar array planned for the Block III Virginia boats,” according to the U.S. Naval Institute.

USNI put together a helpful graphic that we’ve attached below that breaks down many of the features of the Ohio-class Replacement Program.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Lance

    I like it. Only thing I dont like is less Missile tubes, prefer more if a enemy can take out GSC and our bomber bases be up to them to take Russia or China glow in the dark. I dont see any new sub coming till the 2020s though sub production even in attack subs is super SLOW, only few VA class subs in service, alot of LA Class subs in use for some time.

    I do say we can save by cutting crappy Army programs. And sending extra money to boost our boomer fleet.

    • Tiger

      With arms treaty cuts, fewer missiles were coming any way. A D5 can still have up to 10 warheads. So just how many times do you have to kill a nation? I’m no hurry to see the Movie “On the Beach” turn into a reality. As far as the Triad goes? The B-2’s are the only ones still capable. The B-52’s & B-1B’s are conventional only. As for the Land based missiles? Just how many do we even still have active?

      • Lance

        Russia is ignoring the treaty and is building more missiles and launchers. The B-52 is also apart of GSC and is part nuclear arm. The B-1 is not the B-2 is too. Not updating and getting teeth into our Nuclear deterrent only make enemy’s like China and Russia more bolder to do as they please.

        Also on the Beach was crap made by anti military nuts the air of the planet cannot be poisoned forever by a nuclear blast sorry.

        • Belesari

          People are clicking it down but its true.

          Also ask yourself why the new russian Baluva? sub launched missiles have 6 warheads while ours are allowed 4-5.

        • MoozGoing

          Russia is replacing older launchers with new ones, they are not increasing size of their arsenal.

        • Anonymous

          “Not updating and getting teeth into our Nuclear deterrent only make enemy’s like China and Russia more bolder to do as they please”

          Blah blah. We have more than enough capability to blow up the world over a couple dozen times. China and Russia knows this. Spending more money isn’t going to change a darn thing.

          • blight_

            The World is not enough

          • HiPowerGuy

            OH…thats a bunch of…………….MOONRAKER!!!! :-)

        • Tiger

          All B-52G’s & B-1B’s are for non Nuke missions only now.

          • tiger

            52 h

      • Allen

        What a moronic thing to say (people need to do their research before looking foolish), the B-52’s with the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB are slated for the nuclear mission (B-52’s at Barksdale AFB are not, though they are capable of taking on the nuclear role if needed). Those 52’s, along with the B-2’s at Whiteman AFB are all that is left of the air-breathing triad.

    • blight_

      I’m tempted to go for two solutions: Exit INF treaty and put IRBMs onto smaller submarines, or to design a conformal ICBM pod that can attach to surface ships or submarines and give conceivably any or every navy surface unit nuclear strike capability.

      The safer alternative would be to continue to design SSBN’s that are either cheaper and less capable than the next generation of hunter killer, but would be reasonably plentiful in quantity, or super-expensive stealthy SSBN’s that can’t be purchased in sufficient quantity to fulfill the deterrent mission in the first place! We can’t have a deterrent force with three super expensive submarines (like the Seawolf, for instance). At some point we need some quantity there, unless you expect some pretty insane MIRV capability or limited strike against your targets.

      Then again, I suspect that many targets in an enemy country don’t need to be nuked if you can destroy them with a GPS-guided weapon…but you still need nukes for stuff buried under a mountain with rebar and hardened concrete.

    • wpnexp

      OK sure, lets cut Army programs to pay for the Navy programs. That is the same type of hogwash that gets us involved with inter-service rivalries. Lance, unless you want to send your son to war in an old M-113 APC or operating a 1960 M-109 style howitzer, you better hold your tongue. Our service members deserve the best systems possible regardless the service they are in. It’s like saying we should stop the Virginia class program so we can buy a new tank and just keep the old LA Class out to sea. Stop being childish.

  • DGR

    With this new class can we please get some legit BA names again? Another USS PIKE, or USS BLACKFIN? Or id even be happy with the USS F U……

    • Drew

      I’m with you, but I doubt it would ever happen. It is possible though, VMAQ-2 took their name from a football team. Why can’t a U.S. ship be named after a Halo capital ship? The U.S.S. Who’s Your Daddy. It would be AWESOME!!!

  • BlackOwl18E

    As long as these new boomers are refitted to pack a few Tomahawks each I have only five words: Give ’em what they want.

    • Belesari

      Then no. These wont have TLAMs. The Boomer has 2 missions. Thats it.

      No one knows where you are at any time and to rise to launch depth and fire nuclear warheads on X target in the event of a nuclear war or some other presidential order.

      To launch TLAMs means they will find the ships.

  • stephen russell

    Must adapt boomers to VA class, dont like cutting missile tubes down
    Use 3D printing for project & save.

    New class names:
    USS Shark
    Threasher 2?
    Scorpion 2

    • Menzie

      I think that many of those name are menacing name, part of the mystique of the boomers is that they are silent and deadly yes but notice the names have been far from menacing. It is better to have them represent courage and resolve not menace. Kind of united we stand. I know I wouldn’t want to have something with weapon names or lethal vengeful names. I think the current use of United Stated of America City names is perfect.

    • @TerrantheEmpire

      USS Monitor!
      Use a Scaled up Virginia Class too save cash, and build the missile tubes too allow plug and play SSGN conversion keep the missile load at 16 max but if we need too cut back due too future SALT’s then we simply Swap out a few ICBM’s well still allowing us too build a full load out and keeping them in service

    • Nadnerbus

      Not sure that naming two of them for subs lost at sea in accidents would be particularly good mojo.

      • HiPowerGuy

        I hear that.

  • tmb2

    The Navy has built its Virginias on budget for some time now. Every copy gets a few million cheaper. Hopefully whatever they’re doing can be applied to new boomers too.

  • arp32

    Can someone explain the difference between a 10 mast sail and a 6 mast sail? Is it the placement of the sail or the height?

    • moose

      Submarine “sails” are the big fin on top. Submarine “masts” are the extendable booms which come out the top of the sail to be raised above the water without surfacing the sub. Think periscopes for electronics. Each carries something like ECM equipment, radar, cameras, comm gear, etc. The graphic is saying they’ve reduced the number of planned masts to 6 from 10, meaning some have been combined or some gear that was planned has been deleted.

      • arp32

        Oh, it’s the number of masts. I thought it had something to do with the height ratio. Thanks for clarifying

  • Bill

    IMO, ICBM subs are more important than aircraft carriers - a bit cheaper, less manpower to operate, lower perceived threat than carriers, and visual stealth.

    As long as the active sonar panels improv/ work and missile delivery is made more and more affordable, Ohio class (or the like) may be used more. After all, boomers are the biggest secret of the US Navy, even if enemies know they exist, they are very hard to touch.

    • riceball

      The problem with subs is that they can’t be used a show of force like a carrier can. In the past, whenever we wanted to make a show of force somewhere we’d park a battleship off of their coast and that would send a message, don’t mess with us. Since retiring the battleship we send a carrier, same principle, big ship capable of bombing the crap out of nearly anybody sitting right off your coast.

      Subs can’t do show of force since subs rely on stealth, being underwater and unseen, to be effective, as soon as it surfaces it becomes vulnerable. Keep it underwater nobody can see it and it becomes much less of a threat because you don’t know that something’s actually out there, sure we say that we’ve parked a VA or Ohio off of their coast but how do we prove it? Have it surface and become vulnerable like I mentioned before? Tell them where exactly it’s sitting and at what depth? Once again no good because it, once again, makes the sub a target.

    • octopusmagnificens

      Both are obsolete. Carriers should be replaced by attack submarines, and ballistic missile submarines should be replaced by ballistic missile trains.

      • blight_

        A seawolf carries 50 torps+TLAMs. A VA carries 12 TLAM in VLS, and an 688i carries about the same.

        That’s a pretty expensive single-use land attack capability.

        I agree that carriers are vulnerable, especially since naval aircraft don’t exactly have the legs to push beyond anti-ship cruise missile range. In WW2 they were awesome because they outranged enemy guns. Today they don’t have the range advantage against cruise missiles…

        • octopusmagnificens

          I must admit my ignorance. I do not control the abbreviations and I do not know what you are talking about.

          • blight_

            Fair enough.

            Seawolf carries a combination of fifty torpedoes and cruise missiles that can be fired out of its eight torpedo tubes. A Virginia class submarine and the Improved Los Angeles class have twelve Vertical Launch System tubes to fire cruise missiles out of (and can conceivably fire cruise missiles from torpedo tubes), but I believe they both carry ~35 torpedoes.

          • octopusmagnificens


  • Tad

    I’m thrilled to read that someone is pleading for something military-wise that actually makes sense and actually does keep the US safe from harm. I am so sick of hearing how we need LCS’s, or MRAPS, or high-priced planes that have some very nasty habits. We don’t seriously “need” any of those things. “Need” is a word that gets over-used but really does apply when we’re talking about boomers, IMO.

  • bobbymike

    Neptune Class? But not only Boomers we need a new ICBM and Next Generation Bomber plus restart advanced nuclear warhead research and ultra accurate MaRVs. The rest of the world should have no doubt of our commitment to defend this nation.

    • oppervlakkig

      You know we’re not living in the Cold War anymore, right?

      • oppervlakkig

        Lol, I’m probably getting downvoted by Americans. Believe me guys, “the world” doesn’t have any doubt of ‘your’ commitment to defend your country. Remember Afghanistan and Iraq? Iran is still shitting their pants because of them. Adding to that, in Europe most people think you guys are a bit too fond of your country. When Bin Laden was shot dead and people in the streets were shouting: “USA! USA!” and celebrating, we were like: WTF?

        But ok, let me ask: why would you need to restart research on advanced nuclear warheads and ultra accurate MaRVs? What do you need advanced nuclear warheads and ultra accurate MaRVs for? What big difference will that make in respect to nuclear deterrence?

        • blight_

          There’s a big concern that other nations are also investing in missile defense systems. The Russians have a working system, but like our early Safeguard, it relied on a small nuclear warhead to compensate for the challenge of hitting a bullet with a bullet.

          MIRVs are pretty accurate, but don’t need to be made /that/ much more accurate unless you’re hitting a smaller target, or unless you are shrinking the size of the MIRV to increase MIRVs/missile, in which case payload suffers which places greater importance on accuracy.

          • oppervlakkig

            Hadn’t thought of missile defense systems disturbing the nuclear deterrence balance, so point taken on that one ;-)

          • blight_

            Perhaps I should revise my reply.

            The Russians are investing tremendously in new ICBMs to penetrate an anticipated national missile defense. By analogy, the United States cannot and should not anticipate that the Russians will place all their deterrence hopes on missiles that /should/ penetrate the missile shield…and should anticipate that the Russians will adopt missile defenses. Additionally, the People’s Republic should also anticipate that once you get nukes you can expect to be nuked, and the same logic applies to them: that they need either a early or midrange missile defense system.

            The United States’ NMD system is midrange, meant to knock out a missile before MIRV separation somewhere over the Pacific. We field PAC-3’s with theater missile defense against Scuds. but against MIRVs the jury is out.

            The Navy’s SM-3 has ABM and anti-sat capability.

            The demise of the ABM treaty frees Russia (China was never a party, nor anyone else) to build a TMD system and possibly sell an export grade system. It hasn’t happened yet, but waiting for the Russians to announce a system out of the blue and start selling it is the /wrong/ time to start designing more advanced nuclear weapons systems and MIRVs.

        • Matt

          Ah, so your condecension naturally devolves into some good old fashioned America Bashing, Euro-Trash style.

          You don’t understand. You dont have to understand. You live in a socialist shithole. You will never understand. We subsidize your defense. We give more to global charity than your banana republic turns over in GDP.

          • oppervlakkig

            Lol dude, I was purely explaining that the notion bobbymike raised, namely that the US needs to show to the world it is willing to defend itself, is in fact totally not needed. For Iran and others, Iraq and Afghanistan are the testimonies. For Europe it is Americans themselves. Most Europeans think Americans are, what patriotism concerns, idiots. Patriotism of the kind Americans have is non-existent in Europe. This has nothing to do with America-bashing, that’s merely stating a fact. We in Europe have absolutely no doubt Americans will do everything to defend their country.

            Although I have to admit I have trouble taking you very serious because of you calling Europe a ‘socialist’ craphole, I have to admit you have a point concerning the US subsidizing our defense. You are absolutely right on that point. I think it’s morally wrong of Europe to cut in defense budgets and go way under the 2% agreed with NATO, and I think that either we have to admit NATO doesn’t work this way anymore, and we have to find some other arrangement, or we have to raise the defense budgets. It’s just way unfair to let the US pay for our military security.

          • blight_

            Much of it depends on how much trust the NATO countries have that Russia won’t come for them again. At every point of peaceful history, people assume that the future will be peaceful: until it isn’t.

          • Matt

            Right. Your society is built on daddy providing defense so you can focus on things like femenist literature, welfare adventurism, pacifist multiculturalism, and a long standing tradition of soft-to-hard socialism. Of course you have no understanding. You are dumbfounded. You have no words to express what Americans feel. Most likely your country was rolled or surrendered in WW2 and your past and honor was destroyed. If I had to start over, I would focus on fluffy happy things too.

          • oppervlakkig

            Ok now I have trouble taking you seriously again. Maybe if you stop using Republican populist terms to qualify Europe, because right now you’re confirming a lot of stereotypes Europeans have of Americans. And it doesn’t make you look good.

            But actually, again you raise an interesting point, but I would rather do it the other way around: you have no idea what Europeans feel. Europe has experienced the destruction of (total) war. That’s why Europeans in general don’t like war, going to war or a military. Don’t forget, Europe was absolutely destroyed during WW2. Europe was fed up with war and that’s why we started to focus more on pacifism, economic cooperation and the welfare state.

          • blight_

            Europe’s been trashed more than once. Most European cities have an old city built around walls, reflecting that sack, rape and plunder has been on the agenda for centuries.

            (And of course, the industrial warfare of WW1 and the systematic occupation and destruction that came with WW2)

            Generally, Europe’s at a time and place that at least Western Europe can trust that their neighbors won’t sack and invade tomorrow. Russia is still the wild-card, mostly because they aren’t integrated into Europe, but not for want of effort on the part of West Europe.

  • octopusmagnificens

    These submarines are a waste of money. Their work can be performed by ballistic missile trains and dispersion of static silos.

    • Menzie

      Alot has to to do with the perception of them Eventually you could track the rail lines used for missile trains and even if they move you know the track they take. As far as dispersion of the static silos that too is something that can be targetted. A nuke boat is one hell of a shadow to target. Can it be found? By comparable sonar tech there is a slim possibility yes but again we come back to perception. “If yo nuke us then there is f all you can do a bout a response.”

    • Matt

      Umm…. trains go on things called rails. If the rails are destroyed, the train cannot move. Furthermore, a train is limited to point A and B. Water and Air offer open environments with unpredictable pathways for forces. Figured we learned this in ww1 and 2 and it became common sense.

    • blight_

      It would require a fairly advanced understanding of the American rail system to completely decapitate it such any rail-based system would be trapped between destroyed railway switches and nodes. It’s not infeasible, but it adds to the amount of nukes you need, and subtracts nukes that would otherwise go to military bases, government communications centers, continuity of government targets, rail yards, ports, shipping terminals…

      That said, a static silo system suffers the vulnerability of being immobile…and must launch before being destroyed in place. The same is essentially true of rail-based missile trains caught in the open.

    • Mastro

      Missile trains are a horrible idea- the Soviets went with it because their boomers were always tailed by our subs- AND they could drive around Siberia.

      In the US Russian or Chinese “tourists” could track the trains/trucks unless they were deep in White Sands or maybe Area 51- targets the enemy could nuke.

      • octopusmagnificens

        I think the cost-effectiveness favors the train over the submarine.

    • Ole Veteran

      Ballistic missile trains are limited to existing track lines, static silos can’t move. They may be hard to take out, but can necessarily be far from a desired strike zone. The time from launch to arrival is probably long enough to fire anti-missile defenses. The advantage of ANY sub is being able to go anywhere there is sea or ocean access (this doesn’t HAVE to be near, but could be) hide, and launch missiles OR Tomahawks covertly, hide again, move, launch more, giving short spans for possible anti-missile reactions. Best of all, there is that constant POSSIBLE menace! You NEVER know where they are! AND, they are EXTREMELY difficult to take out!

      • octopusmagnificens

        That may be true, but in my opinion the factor to consider is the cost–benefit. Submarines are very expensive to build and maintain.

        • SubSailorsSon

          Well, to make your toy missile train idea work, you will need high speed rail trains to escape the radius of an unexpected attack, very high level of security in electronics and manpower, redundancy in equipment and high maintenance expenses in all of them. Not to mention the difficulties of acquisition and cost of land and specialized construction. I’ll take the proven effective tried and true US Navy Submarine.

          • octopusmagnificens

            To be honest, I think a steam locomotive can do the job.

    • Elmer

      Okay how did an Air Farce guy get involved in this discussion? The US Navy is at least cutting costs unlike the recent mess with the overpriced and unreliable F22 that many pilots refuse to fly because of the mechanical problems. Don’t get me started on the mess the Air Force made of the GPS Program where they so mismanaged the last generation of satellites so much that many of them failed prematurely, and then the replacement program which is years behind schedule become more important due to expected gaps in coverage starting next year and expecting to last at least 24 to 36 months before the complete capabilities enjoyed now are sustainable.

  • Tom

    oppervlakkig-Given the long lead time and the risk we run if we’re not right, it makes sense.

    • oppervlakkig

      I agree that foreign politics are hard to predict, but that still doesn’t make them more important than carriers. It would be like saying “Ok look, so we have a lot of nails here to get in the wood the coming days, and MAYBE we have to demolish a building. Just maybe. It could be. Granted, the chance isn’t very big, but we have to calculate it in our building plan, because it is possible. So the huge wrecking ball is more important than the multi-functional hammer.”

      I don’t deny boomers are important for (future) nuclear deterrence, I just think that saying that they are more important than aircraft carriers is a bit nonsensical, especially when we look at the status of the world today, the good use aircraft carriers have been in the last 20 years, and their future potential.

  • Menzie

    It would be nice to retain a few Ohios and fit them with TLAM or even TASM missiles. Place them around the PAcific Basin as an option for the Navy to use during the coming war with China.

    • Big-Dean

      Hey Menzie, fyi, we’re already doing that, we started converting a few years back
      they are called “SSGN” and we currently have 4 of them

      yes, they are a great idea,the ultimate strike platform and they’ve already in “used”

    • Nadnerbus

      By the time they retire them as Trident carriers, they will not have enough hull life left in them to justify the conversion. The current SSGNs were retired early from their deterrent mission, freeing them up for the conversion.

      Also, if there is any way to avoid one, I would prefer no “coming war with China.”

      • MckGyver

        Is these Tomahawks modified so they can be launched submerged? Or do they have to be surfaced?

        • blight_

          Tomahawks can be fired through torpedo tubes submerged, but have to be fired in a special canister that floats to the surface and launches from there. I suspect something like it is required with SSGN’s.

    • anonymous

      TASM is way long gone; TLAM-Ns are the laughing stock of the bomb shops.

  • Nadnerbus

    Test comment

    *edit* Why are half my posts auto-deleted?

    • tmb2

      The website looks for key words and auto deletes if there’s something it doesn’t agree with (foul language, OPSEC, linking other websites). Unfortunately none of us know what those words are. Keep rewording your post and trying until it takes.

    • Joe

      Chinese hackers.

  • Joe_0319

    We are not fighting Russia or China. Wake up, plz! We need like one boat to watch out for the nomads in Pakistan, IMHO. 7 billion for a sub, lol. Sounds like a waste of materials and we can’t afford it. I loved the first sentence as framing the Navy leaders in a “plea”. I picture them almost in tears. “Mommy please!”

    • jarhead89

      Why aren’t we fighting Russia or China, again? Is there some fundamental law of physics that prohibits it?

      • ltfunk3

        Because the russians and chinese are conquuering us economically. The lifetime costs of every sub is equivalent to another US industry moving to China. Every new Ohio replacment is another chinese economic victory.

      • tiger

        Simple economics. They need jobs for a billion people making stuff for us to buy. We need folks to make our Dvd’s & ipod’s. War makes no sense. Neither side would win.

        • jarhead89

          Please name a war, at any point in human history, that was stopped because of economic interdependence of the two belligerents. I’ll wait.

          • blight_

            A little paradoxical, because if the hypothesis was true you would not witness an event that was stopped.

            Members of the Eurozone aren’t killing each other anymore, so that could be a war “stopped because of economic interdependence”

            But conversely, Japan was happy to go to war with the US despite a dependence on oil and scrap metal, the Germans fought the Soviets who gave them raw materials..

    • Ole Veteran

      In case you hadn’t noticed, the Iranians are working on missiles AND nuclear material! ALL they need do is get ONE ‘dirty’ missile through, whereas we must intercept ALL of theirs! Pakistan ALREADY has the A-Bomb, and missiles! Unless we are able to target and destroy ALL their missile launchers, we are in danger!

      Russia and China at least have some materialistic motives, and know retaliation would be swift and complete, ending their current standards of living for some time.

      Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and some other third-world countries are ruled by socio-religious cultures, and are raised in a culture valuing little of individual life!

  • blight_

    Best option might be an extension to the VA or something like it.

    MIRVing will give good striking power with less missiles…though we should invest in next gen Trident and design the sub to accommodate.

    • anonymous

      Which sounds better to you: Having all of the missile’s warheads detonate on one target, in spaced succession… or having the extra warheads “dudded” to follow a single armed warhead in, with no guarantee they’d be destroyed? Just a thought exercise on MIRV-capable platforms.

  • blight_

    I find it funny that many of the design improvements were tested on experimental subs in the 70s…

  • Sergei

    7 billion one sub u fiance or chine finance?

    • blight_

      That’s a great question. Let’s say that the PRC is financing SS and Medicare, and the taxpayer will do defense.

      • ltfunk3

        Ah yes another one of our patriots who wants to sell America out just so he dosent have to wait tables at arbys.

        • blight_

          Arbys doesn’t have a wait service, but point taken.

        • Matt

          While debt is bad, if someone is willing to finance it, why not pawn it off on them? Renegotiate payment and interest terms down the road, what they gonna do, start reposessing property? Its a win-win. The more economically intertwined we are with China the less likely a hot war breaks out, and the more favorable our negotiating terms become in the future. “Look we have already given you 20 trillion in business, with a potential 30 trillion in future revenue, what do ya say we forgive the interest payments”

          • blight_

            The alternative is economic Mutually Assured Destruction when the US refuses to honor any debts to the PRC, in which case our credit is called into question internationally. Once the PRC puts a tariff on exports to the US it’s pretty much game over in the US and the PRC. For the US, we lose access to cheap electronics assembled by slaves. It puts many vendors who are otherwise not Chinese but use Chinese factories for assembly on the spot: either you continue to do business in China to ship goods to Europe, or you move your factories out of the PRC to preserve the American business.

          • Matt

            Way to many assumptions with your pre-determined outcomes are made in this theory.

            All it is is equalization of wages and economic standards, the global economy. Of course the China labor situation will never last. But there is a reason American cars are made in both Canada and Mexico. Its cheaper than paying shipping from China. China is not the end all factor in the equation. They never were.

          • blight_

            Because American auto companies need to move everything to the PRC, not just final assembly. With the PRC, most of the manufacturers of cheap consumer goods are already in the far east, making it incredibly inexpensive to ship parts by train from factory to factory, then final assembly, then load it aboard a ship for transport to the US.

            There’s a reason that Japanese auto companies don’t move all their auto production to the US: because all of their suppliers are in Japan. Shipping parts to the US and doing final assembly there doesn’t give you any gains.

            But when the entire supply chain is potentially in flux, down to the last plastic casing maker, hard drive screw maker and copper wire twister….

  • TonyC

    Sounds like the US Navy has got a workable plan. Boomer’s are part of the nuclear triad and the only survivable platform. The Ohio’s are being converted to special operations boats, alot of room and reasonable stealth.

    • blight_

      We should use a Seawolf to test the x planes…testing electric drive would require a small scale mini sub prototype. Luckily LAB, tiles and pump jets are already in the fleet…

      However, sometimes something near scale is required for real testing and to determine r and d hurdles, so maybe detach a VA SSGN with many of these design changes before new Ohio?

  • Mastro

    Looks reasonable- My one fear is the remote underwater UUV’s- if I was a foreign power- China maybe- I’d send out a hundred- heck a thousand of these off the US coast with sonar to locate the boomers-

    We might actually have to go quantity over quality.

  • Rob

    I hope their smart when they finally agree on a design there going to go with.
    All-Electric drive may have its advantages, but i still think Direct-Drive more repliable and less prone to software problems than mechanical.

    As for the limited number of tubes, i do think their trying abide by the National treaties. Plus less missiles per boat MAY keep cost down. There stuff that not spoken of to the general public. Frankly i hope they leave room to allow the ships to be converted if there need for them become something else. Ohio’s converted SSGNs were boon for the US Navy. I’d rather see dedicated SSGN ship with more missiles then limited number they have currently have now.

    • Guest

      The SSGN’s carry up to 144 at a time. Is 144 Missiles not enough for you?

      Or are you wanting more hulls?

      • blight_

        “I’d rather see dedicated SSGN ship with more missiles”

        I guess ~144 missiles isn’t enough.

        • Rob

          Ticonderoga Class Guided Missile Cruiser has two Mk 41 launchers with 61 tubes, but can total of 122 missiles roughly fitting into those same tubes.

          With no reloads at sea and likelyness of having less SSGNs out there, having more than 144 tubes would be plus if can only have single ship out there in total stealth (till it fires its missiles..) You have less of chance of it being shot at verses a couple Burke Class ships and few remaining Ticos.

          • blight_

            The Navy needs to invest in faster ways to resupply, and especially to reload VLS tubes at sea.

            Maybe something like those semi-submersible ships that can “pick up” a ship (like the Cole or Samuel B Roberts); then act as a platform to load VLS tubes.

  • Lone Wolf

    I thought Obama said they Navy didn’t want anything new?

    • Todd

      It’s his guy that he put in…What do you think??..I laughed so long and hard when he said that….

      • Profligate

        Just put it on the credit card.

  • Joe

    A deterrent force needs to work as a second strike option in the event that BMD improves to the point where an opposing force MIGHT just think they can strike first. Not possible now, but 40 years from now, damn likely.

  • blight_

    These Ohio replacements are going to be ~2ktons heavier for less tubes.


    • Todd

      right, keep the 24 tubes….you never see a Aircraft Carrier go smaller..SMH

      • blight_

        I’m leaning towards the loss going towards a dive locker or somesuch, to keep with the Navy fad of deploying SEALs even from the most secretive of platforms.

  • dddddd

    Rather than build stupid submarines, we should get rid of the ocean! It’s the perfect plan!

  • Willard schoeffling

    The new sub will have 16 missle tubes instead of the 24 tubes on the present subs. Why does the new sub have to be larger ? This is the type of thing that gets the Navy in trouble with each new class of ships.

    • blight_

      We’re going to look silly when we use Cold War era ICBMs on shiny new subs.

      Now that we’re out of ABM and START II, we can start MIRVing again. Exciting!

      • anonymous

        (cough) That applied to the Air Force, yes.

    • tiger

      Needed to add crew space for females.

      • blight_

        It’ll be like Star Trek…we’ll have *FAMILIES* aboard. lul

  • David Hil

    They should be called the Rayburn Class. After RADM. “Red” Rayburn. The Godfather of the Polaris Submarine Program. A fitting regognition.

  • blight_

    As long as nobody has crazy plans to put in special operations capability onto every freakin’ submarine.

    You know, just in case a SSBN is the closest submarine to insert people with. In which case, we are overdesigning them.

    If you want to play with unproven technologies, build your prototype one-offs. The Navy had a number of experimental submarines during the Cold War, and used them to absorb the oftentimes shocking R&D costs associated with proving new technologies.

  • SubSailorsSon

    If your naming them after states, would ya slap Kansas on one of them, it’s been a hundred years since the battleship BB21 sailed with the great white fleet and no other ship has born the name. If we’re not using state names, go back to the big performers in WW2 Gato, Balao class boats. I know its a “different” Navy now, but a little bit of traditional/historical reference would go a long way. After all these are built for combat, I mean they are fighting ships…err….boats of the Navy right??

    • Guest

      As Rear Adm Lockwood once said.

      With these new Fleet Boats, Our subs can run with the fleet and cross the Ocean without having to be hoisted aboard a tender.

      We are truly ships and boats no longer!

  • clarkgee

    If they cut the number of tubes from 24 to 16, should the new sub still be considered the Ohio class?

    • blight_

      There was no way any new sub could be considered the same “class” as an older sub, even for similar missions. Short of building them to exact same specifications…

  • Skipper 65

    With the newly reelected CNC, the Navy can forget about ANY new Boomers! obama’s goal of only 300 nuclear warheads will surely all but eliminate ALL FBM submarines!! Thank you American voters!!

    • blight_

      It will probably mean a smaller FBM force, but if we are pushed to shove, the best choice will always be an FBM force over siloes. Our missile fields are probably more optimal to strike Russian targets than say, Chinese targets. Or Iranian targets.

      As long as we still have those fields, the Russians will know that we take mutually assured destruction with them very, very seriously. There is only one purpose for those fields…

  • spriddler

    I am not generally one for force reductions, but the odds of a successful premptive strike on our nuclear forces would seem to remain nil even with a significantly reduced capacity on our part. Also the dynamic of ideoligically oppossed systems backed by large conventional forces that made MAD necessary are long gone. If saving money on new boomers could mean enhanced capability for our carrier strike groups, it seems to me to be a trade worth making.

  • Fred

    If the Trident D5 could get some sort of MARVs (E2/LETB have been successfully tested with a CEP of around 30 ft), less missiles per sub would not be a problem.



    You are very wrong in your fact-less based conclusions. We have been fighting LAND wars on LAND for the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should not be cutting the Army. we should be cutting the Navy and the Air Force.

    The Navy s a full blown cluster@uck right now. They have the brand new LCS that was just found to “not be survivable in combat”, and the F-35 that flies like a penguin.