Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Discuss news and reunions from the Mercenary Missileer News pages.

Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby hockey85 on Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:11 pm

CQ Today
March 2, 2010

Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

By John M. Donnelly, CQ Staff

Replacing aging nuclear-missile submarines is expected to cost so much that it could imperil the Navy’s ability to fund the rest of the fleet, according to lawmakers and defense experts.

The Navy is waiting until fiscal 2019 to start building the first of at least 12 new SSBN(X) subs to replace its Ohio-class “boomer” vessels, which are also known as Tridents for the nuclear-tipped missiles they carry. But even though construction is not expected to start until the end of this decade, the issue is a pressing one now on Capitol Hill.

The service is requesting $672 million in fiscal 2011 to design the new subs. Under the Navy’s plan, that spending would grow to $955 million in fiscal 2015. And with each new sub projected to cost more than $7 billion — amounting to a full $85 billion for the whole program — it would devour a substantial portion of the Navy’s annual shipbuilding budget.

The submarine program also could end up crowding out funding needed for aircraft carriers, destroyers, attack submarines and supply ships, officials acknowledge.

Lawmakers say it is crucial that the Navy meet its shipbuilding cost targets before, during and after the period when spending on the new SSBN(X) subs is highest. But escalating ship prices continually threaten the Navy’s ability to pay for the warships it requires.

The rising costs are all but certain to come up at a Wednesday hearing on Navy shipbuilding by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, as it did at Navy budget hearings last week in the House and Senate Armed Services committees.

Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said the SSBN(X) was likely to cost more than projected and “could decimate the shipbuilding program” in about 10 years.

In the coming weeks, the Obama administration is set to unveil the results of both a review of nuclear weapons policy and its negotiations with Russia on a new strategic arms reduction treaty. The upshot is expected to be a reduction in the future size of the U.S. nuclear inventory.

But nuclear-missile submarines, which now carry about half the deployed U.S. nuclear weapons, are expected to retain a central — and perhaps proportionally even more important — role in a downsized U.S. nuclear arsenal, in part because they are less vulnerable to attack than land-based missiles and bombers, independent Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut said at the Senate Armed Services hearing. The Ohio-class subs were built at the General Dynamics Electric Boat facility in Connecticut, and the successor class could be built there as well.

The Ohio-class nuclear-missile subs are nearing the end of their useful lives. The first of them will need to be retired starting in 2027, after more than 42 years of service, the chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, told both Armed Services committees last week.

To fund construction of the SSBN(X) replacements, the Navy’s average annual shipbuilding budget will need to go up $2 billion per year — to a projected $17.9 billion — between 2021 and 2030, according to the 30-year shipbuilding plan the Navy submitted to Congress earlier this year.

Despite the higher projected spending level in those years, the Navy says it will still have to sacrifice spending on other vital warships in this period, although it hopes to make up the difference in the following decade.

“Even at this elevated funding level, however, the total number of ships built per year will inevitably fall because of the percentage of the shipbuilding account which must be allocated for the procurement of the SSBN,” the shipbuilding report said.

Roughead said one of his biggest worries about the Navy a decade from now is the budget.

“As I look to the future and think about the issues my successors will deal with, that’s what I think about,” he told the House Armed Services Committee last week.

House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., asked Roughead if there was a chance the new sub could be deferred to allow funding for other ships. But Roughead said the sub program had to continue apace this fiscal year and beyond in order to replace the Ohio-class subs when they begin to be retired.

McKeon and other lawmakers, as well as many defense experts, worry that it will be difficult for the Navy to meet its goals.

The Navy has 285 ships today, far short of the official goal of a 313-ship battle force. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus testified before the Armed Services committees last week that the service will reach 320 ships by 2024.

But the Congressional Budget Office has “cast doubt on whether the funding in the future year defense plan is adequate to meet” even the 313-ship goal, said Republican Susan Collins of Maine, whose state is home to a large shipbuilding facility, at the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Navy hearing last week.
PAX ORBIS PER ARMA AERIA
User avatar
hockey85
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 983
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 8:56 pm

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby Capt. Bill on Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:03 pm

12 Boomers with 24 SLBMs with up to 12 warheads each, that's 3, 456 warheads.
MM I, DMCCC 741st, 742nd SMS Oct 69 - Oct 71 3 HQs and a Select Crew rating
MM III DMCCC, 742nd SMS Oct 71 - Feb 72
MM III MCCC, 742nd SMS Feb 72 - Aug 72
GT 07,08,09GM - Nov 1971 (key turned all three)
User avatar
Capt. Bill
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1518
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:19 pm
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby SAC Killer on Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:18 am

And they carry itty-bitty RVs. And since the launch platform is moving, cannot possibly be as accurate as Minuteman, unless I'm missing something basic.

And if somebody finds them, they are soft. Really, really soft.
490 SMS
321 SMW Maintenance
AFRPL
User avatar
SAC Killer
5 RVs
5 RVs
 
Posts: 1281
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:11 pm
Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby Capt. Bill on Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:39 am

SAC Killer wrote:And they carry itty-bitty RVs. And since the launch platform is moving, cannot possibly be as accurate as Minuteman, unless I'm missing something basic.

And if somebody finds them, they are soft. Really, really soft.


Remember that close only counts in horseshoes and nuclear warheads.
MM I, DMCCC 741st, 742nd SMS Oct 69 - Oct 71 3 HQs and a Select Crew rating
MM III DMCCC, 742nd SMS Oct 71 - Feb 72
MM III MCCC, 742nd SMS Feb 72 - Aug 72
GT 07,08,09GM - Nov 1971 (key turned all three)
User avatar
Capt. Bill
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1518
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:19 pm
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby pp8010 on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:04 am

Whoops! Sorry about that. That was an honest mistake. I figured that published items would not be a faux pas.

Allow me to re-phrase.

Given the advances in SLBM technology, it would seem that Trident is every bit as capable as Minuteman, save for hardening.

This is not to say I hope Minuteman goes away. The current triad force seems to serve our nation well, and each leg has strengths and weaknesses that are accentuated (or mitigated) by the other two legs.

Better?

Patrick
pp8010
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:57 am

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby notlaw99 on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:57 pm

The Trident II D5 is a good missile and the the RVs are relatively accurate innately. But if we could ever apply GPS JDAM Technology to The Trident II D5 and Minuteman III RVs we could reduce the CEP on both to under 10 meters. That could be a big tactical advantage.

Fins not spinning the RV is the answer. Keep the RV cover in place. Jettison the RV cover in the atmosphere. Install a retrorockets to slow the RV bus down to make it subsonic and more effective to aerodynamic characteristics of JDAM Delivery. For MIRV delivery there should be no reason to gamble the RV Bus prior to each RV Release a synchronous release is better any way and the and the JDAM Technology is going to take care of getting each RV on the target so for air burst you are going to have near synchronise destinations this works in your favor as you get a synergistic effect of vibration shock waves and fire storms allowing Kiloton weapons to be effective as Megaton class weapons against softer targets.
490 SMS June 1970 - June 1974
HQ SAC Command Control War Plans Computer Division - System Supervisors [We were the analyst of the SACCS]
DOD Contractor DRC Database Designer F-15 & F-16 Consolidated Data System and designed the F-117 initial database
User avatar
notlaw99
3 RVs
3 RVs
 
Posts: 346
Joined: Fri May 05, 2006 3:53 am
Location: Northfield, NH 03276-1558

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby SAC Killer on Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:21 pm

The problem with subsonic RVs is they are easier to shoot down, and you don't have much time or footprint to maneuver the RV to make it an "uncooperative target," as we used to call them in electronic warfare at AFFTC, and still whack the target.

Also, the RV has to know somehow that it's being targeted. EW systems take up space and power. Which means either a smaller warhead, or a bigger RV.

Smaller warhead = soft targets or very high accuracy. Bigger RV = bring Titan back. Not that some people would think the latter is a bad thing! :D

I know I skipped pen-aids. Not going there in open forum, but they do cost mass and volume.
490 SMS
321 SMW Maintenance
AFRPL
User avatar
SAC Killer
5 RVs
5 RVs
 
Posts: 1281
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:11 pm
Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby dpan on Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:02 am

notlaw99 wrote:The Trident II D5 is a good missile and the the RVs are relatively accurate innately. But if we could ever apply GPS JDAM Technology to The Trident II D5 and Minuteman III RVs we could reduce the CEP on both to under 10 meters. That could be a big tactical advantage.

Fins not spinning the RV is the answer. Keep the RV cover in place. Jettison the RV cover in the atmosphere. Install a retrorockets to slow the RV bus down to make it subsonic and more effective to aerodynamic characteristics of JDAM Delivery. For MIRV delivery there should be no reason to gamble the RV Bus prior to each RV Release a synchronous release is better any way and the and the JDAM Technology is going to take care of getting each RV on the target so for air burst you are going to have near synchronise destinations this works in your favor as you get a synergistic effect of vibration shock waves and fire storms allowing Kiloton weapons to be effective as Megaton class weapons against softer targets.


I can see you've never been in the missile R&D business. To slow an RV down from mach 25 or so to subsonic speeds will take a lot of energy. To put something that big and heavy on a missile will take mass away from the payload. It's a zero sum game. The high re-entry speed of the ICBM RV makes endoatmospheric interception not the ideal solutioin. And with MIRVs, the best intercept scenario is exoatmospheric, preferably midcourse before the RVs are released. And boost phase intercept would be even better, but access to launch areas is a big problem. With GPS midcourse guidance correction, you can get the CEP down low enough to be sure you can destroy anything with your nuke payload.
David Pan
91 SMW 84-87
485 TMW 87-88
BMO 89-93
NAIC 93-94
DoD civilian 94-present
User avatar
dpan
2 RVs
2 RVs
 
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:56 pm
Location: Washington DC, Northern VA

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby notlaw99 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:33 am

The Mark 11C RV on the F Missile was Sub sonic on reentry and subject to float and the effects of air density and cross winds in the target area and that was the reason we used weather words for a correction factor. The MM IIi has a greater throw weight and range then the F missile. If restricted to a single RV by Treaty constraints either go back to a Megaton+ yield RV or implement a single RV using a JDAM retrofit for the Mark 21 RV, there would be ample space on the RV bus to accommodate a modified reentry package.

I think the concept is at least worth some computer simulation time for a proof of concept. Most of the Laser intercept technology is aimed a boost phase not reentry phase of the missile.
490 SMS June 1970 - June 1974
HQ SAC Command Control War Plans Computer Division - System Supervisors [We were the analyst of the SACCS]
DOD Contractor DRC Database Designer F-15 & F-16 Consolidated Data System and designed the F-117 initial database
User avatar
notlaw99
3 RVs
3 RVs
 
Posts: 346
Joined: Fri May 05, 2006 3:53 am
Location: Northfield, NH 03276-1558

Re: Cost Of Nuclear Subs Could Sink Navy Budget

Postby dpan on Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:46 am

notlaw99 wrote:The Mark 11C RV on the F Missile was Sub sonic on reentry and subject to float and the effects of air density and cross winds in the target area and that was the reason we used weather words for a correction factor. The MM IIi has a greater throw weight and range then the F missile. If restricted to a single RV by Treaty constraints either go back to a Megaton+ yield RV or implement a single RV using a JDAM retrofit for the Mark 21 RV, there would be ample space on the RV bus to accommodate a modified reentry package.

I think the concept is at least worth some computer simulation time for a proof of concept. Most of the Laser intercept technology is aimed a boost phase not reentry phase of the missile.


I think your premise of the need to have JDAM accuracy is a fallacy. Current guidance technology with the Mk21 RVs will allow it to destroy any hardened target given its current CEP, and with the high beta RV design and high re-entry speeds, it maximizes survivability along with a high probability of kill. Any further increase in accuracy is not warranted by a perceived need for greater PK or survivability.
David Pan
91 SMW 84-87
485 TMW 87-88
BMO 89-93
NAIC 93-94
DoD civilian 94-present
User avatar
dpan
2 RVs
2 RVs
 
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:56 pm
Location: Washington DC, Northern VA


Return to News and Reunions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests