Navy Maps Out Details of Future Ballistic-Missile Subs

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 8, 2014, 9:51 a.m.

The U.S. Navy has planned out phys­ic­al di­men­sions and oth­er key fea­tures for its fleet of next-gen­er­a­tion, bal­list­ic-mis­sile sub­mar­ines, USNI News re­ports.

A seni­or of­fi­cial in­dic­ated on Monday that each of the dozen fu­ture Ohio-class Re­place­ment Pro­gram ves­sels would weigh in at over 20,000 tons, mak­ing them lar­ger than any oth­er U.S. Navy sub­mar­ine to date, ac­cord­ing to the pub­lic­a­tion by the non­gov­ern­ment­al U.S. Nav­al In­sti­tute.

The planned di­men­sions would make the Ohio-class re­place­ment sub­mers­ibles roughly half the size of the Typhoon-class, bal­list­ic-mis­sile sub­mar­ines con­struc­ted by the So­viet Uni­on, and about equal in weight to Mo­scow’s new­er Bor­ei-class boats.

They are to hold eight few­er mis­sile launch­ers, but re­tain a 560-foot length sim­il­ar to the size of the na­tion’s cur­rent nuc­le­ar-armed Ohio-class subs. Each of the fu­ture “SSBN(X)” sub­mar­ines would con­tain 16 launch tubes with Tri­dent D-5 bal­list­ic mis­siles.

Hold­ing the size of the sub­mar­ines re­l­at­ively con­stant while cut­ting back on the num­ber of launch tubes re­portedly would carry eva­sion and sus­tain­ab­il­ity be­ne­fits while lim­it­ing ex­penses.

“We in­cluded the re­quis­ite stealth tech­no­lo­gies to en­sure the ship’s sur­viv­ab­il­ity for its 42-year ser­vice life,” said Rear Adm. Dav­id John­son, the Navy’s head of sub­mar­ine ac­quis­i­tions.

The Pentagon has set a cost tar­get of $4.9 bil­lion for each of the forth­com­ing sub­mar­ines, but the Navy has es­tim­ated that their cost could av­er­age out to nearly $5.4 bil­lion per ves­sel.

“When do we ac­tu­ally have to be at $4.9 bil­lion? To be de­term­ined,” John­son told journ­al­ists.

The first SSBN(X) sub­mar­ine is slated to enter as­sembly in 2021 and go in­to ser­vice one dec­ade later. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fisc­al 2015 budget re­quest calls for $1.2 bil­lion in re­search-and-de­vel­op­ment funds for the planned ves­sels.

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