In February, the US Department of the Navy submitted its long-range ship acquisition plan to Congress as part of the National Defense Strategy to reach a 335- ship fleet by the early 2050s.
The 30-Year Ship Acquisition Plan describes the Navy’s long-range shipbuilding plans for 2019-2048. It calls for more lethal ships built more quickly and affordably and places top priority on sustaining the US industrial base needed to build them.
The plan supports the Navy’s effort to build what is described as “the Navy the Nation Needs to protect the homeland, defend the interests of America and its allies abroad, and preserve America’s strategic influence around the world.” The plan addresses the Navy’s most critical shipbuilding needs by:
- Building CVNs (aircraft carriers) four years apart after CVN 82 instead of five to support a 12-ship CVN force;
- Building 12 Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines in support of deterrence requirements;
- Building two attack submarines a year and address their long-term replacement.;
- Building 2.5 Large Surface Combatants (destroyers) a year, plus an additional ship in 2022;
- Building two Small Surface Combatants (Literal Combat Ships (LCS), frigates) a year starting in 2022, accommodating the transition to the new frigate FFG (X);
- Increasing the pace for amphibious ship production to support a 12-ship amphibious assault ship force.
Meanwhile, five US shipbuilders have each been awarded $15mn US Navy contracts to provide conceptual designs for the FFG (X) that will follow the LCS.