Published on December 23, 2007
Shipbuilding and the Industrial Base:Ready for a Potential Maritime Competition?: Shipbuilding and the Industrial Base: Ready for a Potential Maritime Competition? Robert O. Work Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments April 5, 2006 When I Reread This Brief, I Had a Sudden, Unsettling Vision…: When I Reread This Brief, I Had a Sudden, Unsettling Vision… Me Admiral Mullen Adm Hamilton Adm Crenshaw Adm Nathman Therefore, I’d Like to Make This Disclaimer:: Therefore, I’d Like to Make This Disclaimer: The views expressed in this brief are Ms. Allison Stiller’s and Mike Toner’s. I agreed to present their views in return for a tour of the Exposition and a ball point pen. All subsequent questions should be directed to them. In 1815, After Britain Defeated Revolutionary France, It Found Itself in Command of the High Seas: In 1815, After Britain Defeated Revolutionary France, It Found Itself in Command of the High Seas Key question: how best to sustain maritime supremacy with no clear naval challenger in sight? Had a large fleet of ships designed for the “last war” (first, second, and third rates) which were very manpower intensive Confronted a serious transnational threat (human slavery and piracy) Needed to hedge against the rise of a naval peer competitor Resurgent France? Rising Russia, possibly an ally of France? Rising democratic America? (potential maritime rival with enormous latent economic potential) Faced with relatively tight budgets The Admiralty’s answer: First, fight the war you’re in Declare war on human slave trading and piracy and fight the war with an expanded fleet of small, cheap combatants (frigates, sloops, brigs) Adopt a competitive strategy of the second move (hold what you've got; exploit the Royal Navy’s huge lead) Rely on the (commercial) industrial base as competitive hedge Prepared to make bold moves to quickly advance the lead when necessary (1860 and 1906) Key supporting goal: reduce manpower costs Lay up the big warships In 1989, as the Berlin Wall Came Down, the U.S. Found Itself in Command of the High Seas: In 1989, as the Berlin Wall Came Down, the U.S. Found Itself in Command of the High Seas Key question: how best to sustain maritime supremacy with no clear naval challenger in sight? Had a large fleet of ships designed for the “last war” (108 guided missile ships and general purpose destroyers) that were manpower intensive Confronted with myriad global responsibilities, but no clear naval threat Needed to hedge against the rise of a naval peer competitor Resurgent Russia? Rising China? Rising India—a potential democratic maritime partner or rival? Faced with relatively tight budgets The Navy’s initial answer: Given uncertainty, hold force structure line by emphasizing presence over warfighting Adopt a holding strategy emphasizing carriers & large multi-mission combatants Exploit blue water dominance and platforms by emphasizing littoral strike operations (aviation and guided missile strikes) Cut submarine force and protection of shipping combatants Cut amphibious lift requirement Get rid of small combatants, transfer riverine capabilities to the Marines, transfer PCs to USCG Key supporting goal: reduce manpower and O&M costs Cut the overall size of the force, civilianize the CLF, cut the MLF, move to an all-gas turbine combatant fleet Slide6: These Initial Answers Were Reflected in the 1997 QDR Note: numbers in red did/do not count in the official TSBF The 1997 “300-ship” navy was roundly criticized by Navy leadership; spurred the development of many alternatives Adm Murphy’s 460-ship fleet 360-ship risk reduction fleet 375-ship Global ConOps Navy JCS SSN Study By 2005, the U.S. Still Commanded the High Seas, But it Was Confronted by Two Maritime Challenges: By 2005, the U.S. Still Commanded the High Seas, But it Was Confronted by Two Maritime Challenges Key question: how best to sustain maritime supremacy? Continued to build toward a large fleet of ships designed for the “last war” (84 AEGIS/VLS combatants—94 percent of 600-ship Navy requirement) that were manpower intensive Was tasked with fighting a global war against a transnational threat (radical extremism and piracy) Increasingly concerned over the rise of a potential naval peer competitor Rising China—a potential maritime rival with enormous latent economic potential Faced with relatively tight budgets The Navy’s answer: Fight the war you’re in; really shift to the littorals (reluctantly?) 1,000-ship Navy, NECC, reconstitute riverine, retrieve PCs, new small combatant (LCS), increased support for Naval Special Forces Adopt a competitive strategy of the first move (expand the lead) Prepare immediately for war against a naval near peer Build more capable and more expensive warships, with an emphasis on surface combatants Key supporting strategy: reduce manpower costs Reduce crew size through automation Slide8: The Navy’s Competitive Strategy is Reflected in the 2006 QDR’s 313-Ship Navy Note: numbers in red did/do not count in the official TSBF A “300-ship” navy hailed as a great advance Actually, the plan has six fewer warships than the 1997 QDR! Where Has/Does Industrial Base Planning Fit Into U.S. Naval Competitive Strategy?: Where Has/Does Industrial Base Planning Fit Into U.S. Naval Competitive Strategy? Essentially, it appears to be an afterthought (or at least a very low priority) First reflected in the decisions concerning the submarine design, build, and supplier industrial base in the 1990s During the 1990s, did not authorize new submarine production for six years Will have two yards that will build half a submarine a year for ten years No new submarine design ongoing with attendant problems (personnel, supplier base declining, cost of parts increasing) By 2005, it was increasingly clear that the Navy began to think of the industrial base as just a commercial vendor rather than a valued partner in pursuing its competitive strategy “[The decision to close a shipyard]...is up to industry. We don’t define the industrial base. It’s up to the market to arrive at these conclusions…it’s a commercial world, and they make commercial decisions.” Secretary of the Navy Gordon England January 2005 During the last year of Admiral’s Clark’s tenure, it seemed that the Navy laid most of blame on the Navy’s shipbuilding woes on industry Especially with regard to the escalating costs of ships However, most objective reports link the high cost of ships to Navy design requirements, changes to the shipbuilding plan, and ship change orders Is The Apparent Lack of Concern Over the U.S. Shipbuilding Base Wise Policy?: Is The Apparent Lack of Concern Over the U.S. Shipbuilding Base Wise Policy? Assigning blame on the industry and allowing commercial decisions to drive the character of an industrial base which will have a major that impact on U.S. naval competitive strategy do not appear to be wise choices, especially if we are indeed on the leading edge of a disruptive maritime competition with China Unlike Britain in 1815, we cannot rely on the commercial shipbuilding industry to maintain our naval prowess Moreover, China is the first potential naval competitor we’ve faced since 1890 with an industrial capacity as large as (or potentially larger than) our own By 2004, China had the fourth largest merchant fleet in the world by deadweight tonnage (U.S. was sixth) Like the Soviet model, some of these ships could be “dual use” China is building the world’s largest single shipyard Navy exhortations to the shipbuilding industry to change its “Cold War focus” seems to be a proxy argument directed at Congress Two key questions: Will current shipbuilding plans sustain the US competitive advantage in designing and building naval warships and battle networks over time? If not, what should we do about it? Slide11: According to the DoN, the 2007 30-year shipbuilding plan will cost an average of $15.4 billion a year in constant FY 07 dollars (including nuclear refueling costs) Considerably higher than the average $11 billion annual shipbuilding budgets seen since the end of the Cold War Note: numbers in red did/do not count in the official TSBF The Answers to The First Question Begins to Form by Comparing the 1997 and 2006 Plans and Their Respective Costs To Execute the New 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan, Five Things Must Occur…Simultaneously: To Execute the New 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan, Five Things Must Occur…Simultaneously The Navy’s plan prudently assumes a flat Departmental topline (no real growth). To increase the average shipbuilding procurement budget to an average $15.4 billion a year, the plan makes the following five assumptions: R&D must go down and stay down Is this logical if we are on the verge of a concerted maritime challenge? No real growth in O&M $500 million in back maintenance on the FY 07 Unfunded Deficiency List Rising price of oil No real growth in personnel Navy has a good plan, but its outcome is largely out of the Navy’s hands $250+ million in unfunded “fact of life” increases in FY 07 Unfunded Deficiency List Savings may be diverted to Army and Marines) Must hit “stretch goal” ship cost targets on every ship program—LCS, SSN-774 and 774I, CVN-21, DD(X), CG(X), HSS, JHSV, DDG(X), SSBN(X)…with no cost growth Will “fence” shipbuilding and take up any procurement delta in aviation procurement accounts Two versions of JSF, MV-22 BAMS, ACS, E/A-18G, CH-53K, etc., etc. These Assumptions Have No Historical Precedent: These Assumptions Have No Historical Precedent For example: R&D and procurement generally follow similar trend lines; would be most unusual for R&D to go down while procurement goes up O&M costs generally have not been contained Personnel costs have risen substantially since 1973, and particularly since 1999 Statistically speaking, assuming there is a 90 percent probability each assumption is true, the likelihood they will all come true is 60 percent .9 x .9 x .9 x .9 x .9 = approximately 60 percent If the probability that each assumption falls to 87 percent, the likelihood that the five assumptions all hold true falls below 50-50 Recipe for instability? Slide14: The majority of the cost increase, at least between now and the 2020s, can be explained by noting the differences in the composition of ships in the surface combatant/mine warfare category, and their increased costs Note: numbers in red did/do not count in the official TSBF Setting Aside the Assumptions, Given the Similar Numbers Between the 1997 and 2006 Plans, What Accounts for the Dramatic Planned Cost Increases? A First-Order Reaction: the New Plan Will Put Enormous Pressure on the Two Remaining Large Surface Combatant Yards Already Under Considerable Strain: A First-Order Reaction: the New Plan Will Put Enormous Pressure on the Two Remaining Large Surface Combatant Yards Already Under Considerable Strain Went from a plan that called for 116 large combatants to one that built 88 (all 55 LCSs are to be built in Tier II yards): 116 surface combatants / 35 year ESL = an implied sustained shipbuilding rate of 3.31 ships per year (10 ships every three years) 88 surface combatants / 35 year ESL = an implied sustained shipbuilding rate of 2.51 ships per year (10 ships every four years) But high cost of the ship design (DD(X)) means will build only 13 ships between FY 07 and 15, at a rate of 1.44 ships per year (10 ships every seven years) After that, the sustained shipbuilding rate settles at 2 ships per year (ten ships every five years) Similar calculations can be made for the submarine fleet 48 SSNs / 33 year ESL = an implied sustained shipbuilding rate of 1.45 subs per year This explains Navy’s clear desire to go to one combatant yard, and the logic behind calls to move to one submarine yard Makes sense in terms of efficiency; what about in terms of competitive strategy? In any event, seems clear Congress wants two yards for both warships and subs; But the Impact of the New Surface Combatant Plan Will Ripple Far Beyond the Two Surface Combatant Yards: But the Impact of the New Surface Combatant Plan Will Ripple Far Beyond the Two Surface Combatant Yards In 1997, the plan was to: Build the last of the DDG-51s in 2004 Authorize the first DD-21 in 2004 Build 3 DD-21s per year between FY 06 and 15, then one (the 32nd ship) in FY16; target cost for the fifth ship of the class was for $1.06 billion in FY 07 dollars (objective) Modernize the CG-47’s and extend their expected service lives (ESLs) to 40 years; first would retire in 2023 Build first CG-21 in 2016; skip a year and then build at a rate of 2-3 per year. For this exercise, I assume first ship cost of approximately $3.0 billion in FY 07 dollars In other words, after building 57 DDG-51s, the 1997 QDR plan was to spend $37 billion between FY04 and FY 16 on surface combatants; thereafter continue a high sustained ship rate to replace the Ticos and Burkes as they reached the end of their ESLs Average of $2.84 billion per year Approximate aggregate crew size for 32 DD-21s and one CG-21 (assuming a crew size of 145 per ship) would be approximately 4,785 officers and Sailors Compare These Figures With Those Found in the New 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan: Compare These Figures With Those Found in the New 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan In contrast, the new plan (using Navy planning figures): Built two more DDGs in FY 04 and three in FY 05; average cost of approximately $1.4 billion apiece Builds 55 LCS between FY 05 and FY 2016; average cost for the sea frames is estimated to be $296 million in FY 07 dollars; average cost for two modules per hull is estimated to be $140 million, for a total of $436 million per ship Builds seven DD(X)s between FY 07 and FY 13, at average cost of $2.8 billion per ship Builds six CG(X)s between FY 11 and FY 16, at projected average costs of $2.7 billion per ship Modernizes the CG-52 class but does not extend its 35-year ESL This plan costs $67 billion between FY04 and FY 16 Average of $5.13 billion per year on surface combatants Requires an aggregate crew size of approximately 10,240 officers and Sailors (over 5,000 more than the 1997 QDR plan) When you have had average shipbuilding budgets of $11 billion since 1989, such a dramatic jump has a disproportionate impact on the entire shipbuilding plan The resource planning allocation for surface warships jumps from 26 to 47 percent of the baseline budget The Dramatically Higher Cost of the 2006 Surface Combatant Fleet Shapes the Outline of the Entire 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan: The Dramatically Higher Cost of the 2006 Surface Combatant Fleet Shapes the Outline of the Entire 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan It helps to explain both the high cost of the shipbuilding program as well as its basic outline, which is to: Build cheap seabasing, auxiliary, and amphibious ships up front, and then stop building them—for periods between seven to ten years Rapidly build 55 LCSs by 2016, then stop building small combatants until 2030 Start building the expensive DD(X)s/CG(X)s well over a decade before the first the Ticonderoga-class CGs are scheduled to retire, and slowly move toward a steady-state build rate of only two large surface combatants a year (reached in 2017) There will be seven DD(X)s and three CG(Xs) in the fleet before the first Tico retires, causing the battle line to drive to 95 ships (seven over “requirement”) Then, in the later 2020s/early 2030s, try to simultaneously recapitalize the amphibious, combat logistics force, support vessels, SSGNs, SSBNs, DDGs and LCSs (which have a 25-year design life and must be replaced) The result is that a graph charting the number of ships in the TSBF looks like a roller coaster, going from 281 today to 329 in 2019 to 292 in 2031; steady-state is 293 ships (-18 combatants and 4 SSGNs) Hard to See Any Industrial Base Stability in This Plan (Unless “Stability” is Defined as Developing a Number and Sticking to It): Hard to See Any Industrial Base Stability in This Plan (Unless “Stability” is Defined as Developing a Number and Sticking to It) How do you size the plant and workforce when: Don’t get to two submarines per year until FY 12 (if then) No auxiliaries authorized from FY12 though FY 16 No medium size amphibious ships authorized from FY11 through FY 17 If we build the tenth LPD-17; if not, add two years No large deck amphibious ships authorized from FY 13 through FY 23 Build large surface combatants at a rate of 1.44 ships for the next ten years, then “jump” to 2 per year How will we retain the industrial plant and workforce required to build the large fleet numbers in 2020, much less respond to a concerted maritime challenge from China? Clear that further consolidation will be required; how far do we go? Where is Congress in the debate? Moreover, How Do We Retain Our Design Teams?: Moreover, How Do We Retain Our Design Teams? Consider the British experience with the Astute SSN: “We must not become fully pre-occupied by the industrial base at the expense of our intellectual capital in submarine design. One only has to look at the UK’s automotive and aerospace industries to see that it is the high-value design and intellectual capabilities that have been retained while most manufacture has gone overseas. And while the UK is likely to want to retain an indigenous submarine manufacture capability, we must protect the design resource that ultimately underpins the industrial activity.” (emphasis added). Given our huge maritime lead, but lack of a robust commercial shipbuilding industrial base, is pursuing prototypes and having design competitions aimed at “changing the rules of the game” more important than shifting to a new large surface combatant now? The U.S. submarine design base is already at risk We are “locking in” on a surface combatant design long before the outlines of any maritime challenge is clear What about the design teams for auxiliaries and amphibs? Finally, If R&D Goes Down and Stays Down, Will We Be Prepared to Respond to New Challenges?: Finally, If R&D Goes Down and Stays Down, Will We Be Prepared to Respond to New Challenges? Future Seabasing Operation Slide22: Perhaps We Need to Rethink Our Basic Assumptions and Plans Before Take-off If we are indeed on the verge of a disruptive maritime competition with China, perhaps we should consider a strategy of the second move: less emphasis on expensive new designs that extend an already huge lead and more emphasis on: Strong R&D Maintain industrial base using proven designs (i.e., the DDG-79 and LPD-17) Maintain design teams with prototypes Change the rules of the game! Navy Plan Industrial Base Slide23: I am now going to pick up my ball point. If you have any questions whatsoever, please direct them to Allison and Mike. I will be out of my office until 2020. Slide24: Backups The Programmed Surface Battle Line Will Be, Without Doubt, the Most Powerful in the World, if Not in History: The Programmed Surface Battle Line Will Be, Without Doubt, the Most Powerful in the World, if Not in History These 84 combatants will carry among them: 8,468 “strike-length” VLS missile cells plus 400+ Harpoon ASCMs Each individual cell is capable of carrying four 10-inch diameter local air defense/terminal missiles; or one 13-inch diameter area air defense/ATBM missile or anti-submarine rocket; or one 21-inch land attack missile or ballistic missile interceptor This is a larger missile load than that found on 366 surface combatants in the next 17 largest navies (15 of which are either allies or strategic partners) 106 5-inch naval guns 112 helicopter hangers capable of handling a MH-60R/S Moreover, they will be joined by an increasingly capable allied AEGIS/VLS fleet JMSDF: minimum of six Kongous, with 552 VLS cells South Korean Navy: three KDX-IIIs with 216+ VLS cells (?) Australian Navy: three AWDs with 216+ VLS cells (?) Spanish Navy: six F-100s with 288 VLS cells Norwegian Navy: five Nansen-class with 40 VLS cells (space for 80) These 23 AEGIS/VLS combatants will be joined by dozens more allied combatants armed with hundreds more Mk-41 VLS cells Moreover, the Combatants Will Be Quite Modern, With Decades of Service Life Left: Moreover, the Combatants Will Be Quite Modern, With Decades of Service Life Left The oldest Ticonderoga-class CG in the battle line, the USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), was commissioned in 1986, and is scheduled to retire in 2021 after 35 years of service The last Tico is scheduled to retire in 2029 The oldest Burke-class DDG in the battle line, the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), was commission in 1991, and will retire in 2026 after 35 years of service The last Burke should retire around 2046 As far as the overall fleet, these 84 ships will have been commissioned over a period of 25 years (1986-2011) at an average rate of 3.36 ships per year (ten ships every three years) The average age of the fleet will only be 12.5 -13 years old—less than the average age of the DoN’s aircraft fleet! By the end of 2026, there will be 11 Ticos and 62 Burkes remaining in the fleet By the end of 2031, there will be 44 Burkes remaining From a Standpoint of Competitive Strategy, Improving the 84 AEGIS/VLS Ships is Far More Important to the Navy’s Future Than Building Seven DD(X)s: From a Standpoint of Competitive Strategy, Improving the 84 AEGIS/VLS Ships is Far More Important to the Navy’s Future Than Building Seven DD(X)s Seven DD(X)s represent 245 years of future battle force service; 84 AEGIS/VLS combatants represent 2000+ years of future battle force service The technologies pioneered by the DD(X) program are not unique, and can be transferred According to the Navy, the AEGIS/VLS ships can hold their own against the DD(X). For example, Navy officials say: A DDG is more capable than a DD(X) in blue water area air defense The DD(X) is more capable than the DDG in littoral air defense The ships are equally capable in ASW and blue water counter-cruise missile missions (depends a lot on the scenario and threat) Moreover, the advantages of the DD(X) will largely disappear in a fully networked setting For example, adding the SPQ-9B and the Advanced Hawkeye to the mix helps to close some of the gaps filled by DD(X) A battery of 106, 5”/62s capable of firing ERGM/BTERM spread across 84 platforms is more flexible than and a battery of 14, 6” AGSs on seven platforms Given the lower cost of the DDG (can buy two for the price of one DD(X)) and the fact that it is a better bet should China mount an open-ocean maritime challenge, it is important that the DD(X) not rob money from the DDG/CG modernization programs The Current CG/DDG Modernization Plan Focuses on Improving the Capability of the “Surface Battle Network” and Reducing Fleet O&S Costs: The Current CG/DDG Modernization Plan Focuses on Improving the Capability of the “Surface Battle Network” and Reducing Fleet O&S Costs Includes a HM&E and SMARTSHIP phase All electric auxiliaries Structural modifications Habitability/quality of life upgrades Integrated Bridge Systems Shipboard LANs and fiber optic networks Saves 24+ enlisted billets per CG, 40 billets per DDG (Savings of 3,000 total billets Includes combat system upgrade phase Common Cat-3 compliant hardware/software AEGIS Open Architecture (AOA) VLS Open Architecture Common configuration replaces multiple baseline configurations Common Mk-160 gun computing system May result in even more manpower savings (up to 30 per DDG) Will improve total force networking and enable more rapid force improvements The CG Modernization Plan is Further Along Than the DDG Modernization: The CG Modernization Plan is Further Along Than the DDG Modernization Current plans call for spending $228 million per CG Allows for robust combat capability improvements Surface Grid Lock System Auto Correlation and Common Data Link Management System (AAW) SQQ-89A(V) 15 (ASW) Provides several important self-defense improvements SPQ-9B and ESSM CIWS Blk 1B Non-cooperative ID systems DDG Modernization Program is in the early stages, but current planning figures are relatively modest Currently funded for only $78 million per ship Allows far less in the way of combat capability upgrades. For example: CEC is not included, nor are SPY-1D improvements SPQ-9B and ESSM are not included SQQ-89A(V)15 is not included The relatively low projected costs for the DDG modernization is troubling, given that a key assumption of the current shipbuilding plan is that O&S costs will remain flat Will there be the flexibility to expand the scope of the effort? A Different Competitive Approach Would be to Focus in the Near Term on CG/DDG Modernization and to Simultaneously Position the Navy to Respond to a Maritime Challenge: A Different Competitive Approach Would be to Focus in the Near Term on CG/DDG Modernization and to Simultaneously Position the Navy to Respond to a Maritime Challenge Build two DD(X) technology demonstrators, and shift money toward CG/DDG Modernization Program Start new design effort for CG(X) Maintains design teams; keeps DD(X) R&D stream intact First step: expand the scope of the CG/DDG Modernization Program to outfit all 84 AEGIS/VLS ships with: AEGIS OA, VLS OA, CEC, common system signal processors Mk160 Mod X GCS, 5”/62s, and magazine mods to handle ERGM/BTERM SPQ-9B and ESSM CIWS 1B with full sensor integration A common non-cooperative ID systems A common, upgraded ESM system SQQ-89A(V)15 Would make 84 compatible and interchangeable nodes in a vast mobile missile field that can be tailored to any current threat, and rapidly modernized to meet emerging threat Second Step Would Be To Expand the Combat System Upgrades to Enable the Fleet to Meet the Pacing Threats: Second Step Would Be To Expand the Combat System Upgrades to Enable the Fleet to Meet the Pacing Threats Pacing threat one: ballistic missiles and MaRVs Make every ship in the battle line capable of making mid-course and terminal intercepts of ballistic missiles Currently, 18 of the 84 ships (21 percent) are receiving upgrades to the combat systems to tackle this threat in a cooperative program with MDA Radar improvements, BSP, SM-3 interceptor Why not expand program for all 84 ships? Simultaneously pursue a terminal interceptor (either PAC-3 SME or SM-6?) Pacing threat two: SSN-27 “Sizzler” Three-stage missile; sea skimmer to 20 kilometers from target; pops up for final target acquisition; launches a final supersonic “combat stage” CEC + Advanced Hawkeye + F/A-18F Block II +Navy Integrated Fire Control Counter-air (NIFCA) + SM-6 ERAM + SPQ-9B/ESSM Other improvements? Pacing threat three: silent diesel submarines SQQ-89A(V)15 with MFTA Full MH-60R integration UUVs Third Step Would Be Setting Aside Money For a Competitive Fleet-wide Improvement Program: Third Step Would Be Setting Aside Money For a Competitive Fleet-wide Improvement Program The Navy would promulgate desired combat capabilities; vendors would nominate systems; highest payoff systems would be pursued out of a management reserve C4I Improvements i.e., Common Radio Room Force Protection Improvements i.e., Typhoon remote cannon mounts AAW Combat System Upgrades i.e., Radar transmitter upgrades ASW Combat System Upgrades i.e., Mk 54 torpedo integration Optional and Most Ambitious Step Would Be to Pursue Major System/Hull Rebuilds: Optional and Most Ambitious Step Would Be to Pursue Major System/Hull Rebuilds Primary goal: provide shipyards with additional work during a period of depressed construction i.e., Provide all Flight I/II Burkes with an ability to hanger and operate UAVs or helicopters i.e., Introduce major radar improvements i.e., Transfer DD(X) technologies (autonomic fire suppression system?) Could be complemented by a low-rate production program of one DDG-79 per year, building to the 88 ship requirement, and then replacing the oldest DDG-51s on a one-for-one basis Know When To Hold ‘Em: Know When To Hold ‘Em Play the hand you’ve got! The 84 AEGIS/VLS combatants soon to be in the fleet will constitute the most capable battle line in the world by a wide margin As important as the DD(X) may be, keeping the 84 AEGIS/VLS ships in service for 35 years will be far more so This will require sustained maintenance; HM&E upgrades; and combat systems upgrades designed to tackle the pacing threats If paying for the DD(X) and CG(X) starts to rob or divert money from the CG/DDG modernization effort, plans for a 313-ship Navy will be put at grave risk Best case, the Navy builds to 70 large combatants—18 below requirement If DD(X)s and CG(X)s retire early—or provide no useful combat capability to the battle force—the number will fall much lower
Shipbuilding and the Industrial Base: Ready for a Potential 1 . Shipbuilding and the Industrial Base: Ready for a Potential Maritime Competition? Robert O.