Why Has The Navy Upped Its Shipbuilding Plan?

In our new age of warfare, there is special attention being paid to cyber defenses, robotic capabilities, and battlefields that are found in a digital realm. However, there is still room for improvement and expansion on more traditional fronts, including land, air, and of course, sea. The Navy is a unique branch of our military, requiring a range of specialized weaponry and transport capabilities that must be kept current.

ship plan

Updating A Vital Fleet
The U.S. Navy has a big task ahead of it in replacing an aging fleet of ships and submarines. A previous goal of constructing 306 new vessels, which will consistently replace regular submarine retirement through 2027, has now been upped to 308. Just how do those 308 amphibious forces break out in terms of specific ships and why has the Navy slightly boosted its goal despite funding concerns?

Increased Strategic Capabilities On The Seas
The new goal has reportedly been adjusted due to the need for increased strategic vessels, which will hopefully help naval forces evolve to meet real-world defensive changes.  However, if funding sources needed for this major overhaul are not secured or face sequestration pitfalls, the shipbuilding rates would need to be reduced. Some fear that would render our navel battle forces inadequate, which could easily become a reality if the Budget Control Act (BCA) is not rescinded.


What Are The New Vessels?
The newly updated 308 ship plan breaks out to a diverse series of vessels, including 12 fleet ballistic missile submarines, 11 aircraft carriers and 48 attack subs—all nuclear powered—88 large multi-mission surface combatants, 52 small multi-role surface combatants, 34 amphibious warfare ships, 29 combat logistics force ships and 34 support vessels.  The two added vessels are a twelfth LPD 17-class amphibious transport dock and a third Afloat Forward Staging Base.

It’s projected that these vessels will give the U.S. Navy essential strategic and modernized capabilities, which will become increasingly important as conflicts change and evolve across the globe. Do you think this current approach will be adequate and give us the naval advantages for which U.S. forces are aiming? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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James Spader

Comes from a long line of American manufacturers and small business owners. His passions have always been journalism and World War II history. When not working, he enjoys cooking and competing in amateur chess tournaments.

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I think the BCA is a bunch of BS because I don’t believe the U.S. military leaders nor the Department of Defense has any intention of limiting their military might. In fact, they are covertly increasing the amount of resources they are spending in their quest to maximize their military might. There is a difference between the amount of money the leaders spend on military research and development and what figures policy makers decide to disclose to the public and to the press.


The Navy already extended the life of its Ohio-class fleet of submarines, which carry nuclear missiles, from 30 years to 42 years. But experts say the extension can go no further because of the extreme pressure placed on the hulls by the ocean depths. The Navy’s Trident missile submarines used to be a high-tech wonder. Now, as the subs head into their fourth decade of service, I imagine they’re getting a little creaky.


I recall how the U.S. Navy’s new 30-year shipbuilding plan for 2013 showed few unexpected changes at that time, and projected a slightly smaller average fleet size and slightly reduced shipbuilding rate back then. The plan, sent recently to Congress, projects an average fleet size through 2042 of 298 ships, a drop of seven ships from the previous year’s 306-ship standard. The force is projected to rise from today’s 282-ship level to 300 ships by 2019.


The U.S. force includes 10 Nimitz-class carriers. No other country has more than two aircraft carriers. Just for comparison, the Chinese Navy, who earlier this year announced plans to build a second aircraft carrier, was reported in 2012 to have over 500 combat vessels and almost 150 major combat vessels, although some of these ships rank equally with what the U.S. would classify Coast Guard vessels.


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