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Navy League 2024: Submarine builder cites need for Virginia-class equipment orders with proposed budget cut

Submarine equipment funding is being sought after the US Navy cut an attack submarine from future procurement. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

Following the US Navy (USN) decision to cut an expected Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN) from its proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget proposal, Chris Kastner, the president and CEO of submarine builder HII, has called for the USNto maintain the supply chain for that work by buying submarine materials anyway.

“We need to make sure that we order a full ship set of material for that other submarine so we keep the supply chain healthy,” Kastner noted during a roundtable media discussion on 4 April in advance of the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2024 global maritime exposition, which started on 8 April in National Harbor, Maryland.

“It won't necessarily impact us if we only order one [FY 2025 SSN], but then we need to keep the supply chain healthy and order a full ship set material,” Kastner said.

The Viriginia-class funding is “about a billion dollars short” of the money needed to maintain that healthy supply chain, Kastner said.

Supply-chain issues have already led to delays for Block IV and Block V Virginias, according to Kastner. “The supply chain has labour challenges as well,” he said. “It's both. We had a pandemic, which created significant challenges in the labour force and the supply chain.”

Submarine procurement is going to remain strong, he said, especially with the AUKUS partnership of the US, Australia, and the UK to help Australia develop a nuclear submarine-building infrastructure and fleet.

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