skip to main content

US Navy plans to augment submarine-building potential through ‘strategic outsourcing'

The US Navy is considering recruiting non-traditional submarine builders, like Austal USA, to complete some of the submarine work to meet future build-rate requirements. (Austal Ships)

To ensure it can reach a submarine-build rate of one Columbia-class strategic ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and two Virginia-class attack boats per year, the US Navy (USN) is considering using private shipyards that have not traditionally built such ships to do some of the construction, according to Rear Admiral Scott Pappano, program executive officer, Strategic Submarines.

The USN may have to make some “improvements to drive the one Columbia plus two Virginias per year … through strategic outsourcing”, Rear Adm Pappano said on 12 May during the Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center Virtual Forum on ‘Understanding the Modernisation of the Sea-based Leg of the US Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, USS Columbia-Class Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN 826) & the Trident II D-5 Missile'.

That outsourcing would involve moving some of the construction to yards that have not traditionally done naval nuclear submarine work, he said.

The navy has more potential Columbia work than can be handled by General Dynamics' Electric Boat, Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ (HII's) Newport News Shipbuilding, and other traditional submarine-building yards, Rear Adm Pappano noted.

The step being considered by the navy would shift some of the construction, such as modules or modular work, to another yard that has the necessary capacity and capability, he said.

“Think Austal [USA], down on the Gulf Coast, they transition to the metal trades,” said Rear Adm Pappano.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...