Sea Platforms

Surface Navy 2020: US Navy eyes smaller vessels for surface fleet

14 January 2020

In re-examining its 355-ship goal, the US Navy (USN) must consider how to shift costs away from high-end platforms to a larger number of smaller but still highly capable ships, said Acting USN Secretary Thomas Modly affirmed in his 9 January service Vector memorandum.

“In [Fiscal Year 2018] dollars, the average cost of a ship during the Cold War ‘600 ship Navy’ era was approximately USD1 billion,” Modly said in the memo, released prior to the Surface Navy Association 2020 Symposium, which started 14 January. “It is now twice that.”

The USN must shift the cost curve on its ships and that course change could allow broader presence, reduced manning, and longer reach through a significant increase in hypersonic weapons, greater stealth, and advanced anti-ISR capabilities, he said.

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