U.S. Military Cuts Could Shelve The $7 Billion Next Generation Nuclear Sub


Photo: cdrsal via flickr

As military budget cuts loom, there are a handful of large projects most likely to hit the chopping block.With their bloated price tags and immense upkeep, submarines are a natural choice.

In defence of subs, the Navy will surely point out the need to provide a strategic deterrent to China’s expanding nuclear arsenal.

On the drawing board is the SSBN-X ballistic submarine and the Navy’s hoping to arm it with 16 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) that will lurk off mainland China as a nuclear deterrent.

Based on the Ohio-class platform, but completely stealthy, Congressional Research Services reports that the projected cost of each sub will be about $7 billion.

The Navy is looking to acquire 12 SSBN-Xs for $84 billion, and hoping to sail them in 2029 when the current generation of Ohio-class subs retire.

Procurement officers are hoping to bring the price down with alternate development methods like those being used for new Virginia-class submarines in 2011.

(The next post on this topic will cover the Air Force’s next generation stealth bomber.)

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