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Thread: Ohio Replacement Program

  1. #16
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    I'd wager the name will stick. Not enough people will make objections to it or tie it with Columbus Day for it to fail.

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  3. #18
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    News reports on adding capacity to design and build Columbia and Virginia classes of submarines.

    17-Year Plan

    by Stephen Singer
    May 02, 2018
    The Hartford Courant

    NEW LONDON - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Tuesday the state will provide nearly $85 million in grants, incentives and loans to help General Dynamics Electric Boat add nearly 1,900 employees over 17 years and expand its Groton site to accommodate the sub builder's rising workload.

    "Our state's partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat will ensure that thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs continue to grow for years to come,'' Malloy said at a ceremony at New London's Fort Trumbull State Park, with EB's shipyard as the backdrop across the Thames River.

    Jeffrey Geiger, president of Electric Boat, told reporters that state support is an important part of a plan to ramp up submarine production. The U.S. Navy "had real questions and concerns about whether or not the work can be executed given the significant increase," he said.

    "The message this sends is not insignificant, that the whole community up here is rallying around being able to ensure we can produce ... what the Navy needs," Geiger said.

    Employment is expected to grow to nearly 19,000 by the mid-2020s, Geiger said. As many as 2,200 jobs are to be filled this year, with 1,000 in Rhode Island and 1,200 at Groton-New London.

    Navy shipbuilding plans call for 29 more Virginia-class submarines and 12 Columbia-class submarines to be authorized over the next 20 years, he said.

    "In order to accomplish this projected work, we need to make investments in our facilities, our workforce and our supply chain," Geiger said.

    EB plans a "substantial increase" in shipbuilding at its Groton site to support the work on the Virginia and Columbia-class submarines, he said.

    The state Department of Economic and Community Development will provide incentives, including a $35 million loan for machinery and equipment through Malloy's First Five Plus Program, with loan forgiveness based on spending on Electric Boat's supply chain and employment. It also will provide up to $20 million from Connecticut Innovations, the state's venture capital fund, in sales and use tax exemptions for capital and new construction on the Electric Boat campus.

    DECD also will provide EB an $8 million grant for workforce development initiatives through community colleges, technical high schools and organizations in Connecticut.

    In addition, the state will provide $20 million for dredging, helping to launch submarines from a new dry dock and manufacturing superstructure being built to support submarine construction.

    Malloy said Electric Boat has agreed to make $852 million in capital investments in coming years and double spending on more than 700 Connecticut-based suppliers.

    The package is similar to deals the Malloy administration negotiated in previous years to nail down jobs and commitments for capital investment from Connecticut's two other conglomerates: United Technologies Corp., which manufactures jet engines, and Lockheed Martin Corp., owner of helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft.

    "We decided years ago to make a concerted effort around advanced manufacturing, understanding that if you're going to make something cheap, you're going to make it someplace else. But if you're going to make something great, you're going to make it in Connecticut," he said.

    The labor force at Electric Boat, which designs and manufactures submarines in Groton and Quonset Point, R.I., surpassed the 16,000 mark last year. It's the first time it's reached that number in nearly 25 years, Geiger said in January.

    About 11,600 of the workers are in Groton, 4,100 are in Rhode Island and 500 work at other sites. With the Connecticut deal, the state labor force will rise to more than 13,000 by 2024.

    Electric Boat, buoyed by a military shift in strategy that relies more on undersea warfare, is on track to build two submarines a year, with a third in design.

    U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said submarines have become an indispensable tool in the Pentagon's arsenal.

    "They are the most versatile, powerful, stealthy weapons platform in the world," he said. "We have an asymmetrical advantage that we can guarantee, that we can put special operators on the ground, we can do surveillance, we can fire missiles, we can deter nuclear attacks, all of it, through submarines."

    "This is a big freakin' deal," said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

    The timing of the state-EB deal is critical because congressional votes are nearing for authorizing federal spending on submarine construction for years to come, he said.

    "It strengthens Connecticut's hand in terms of making the case that these investments that we're about to vote on in the next week should move forward," Courtney said.

    Electric Boat, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp., has previously received hefty state support to help with a $31.5 million expansion to support its growing workforce. The Department of Economic and Community Development announced in 2014 a $10 million loan at 2 percent interest, forgivable if the company's head count remains 200 jobs higher in two years.

    In January 2017, Geiger said EB would spend $1.5 billion in Rhode Island and Connecticut to increase assembly and other space. Construction was set for next year and 2020.

    In March, Congress and President Donald Trump enacted a $1.3 trillion federal spending measure that earmarks $5.5 billion for Virginia class submarines, exceeding Trump's request by $225 million.

    It also includes $1.9 billion for the next generation ballistic Columbia-class submarines being designed to replace the Ohio-class submarine.

    Electric Boat bought a Groton facility from Pfizer to house workers designing the Columbia-class submarine.
    Electric Boat Takes Over Former Pfizer Warehouse

    Close to 600 Electric Boat employees are now working at the company's new facility at 9 Kings Highway, purchased from Pfizer for $5.3 million last year to accommodate growth at the company.

    The growth at EB is being driven by the largest shipbuilding contract in Navy history — $17.6 billion — awarded to EB to produce 10 Virginia-class attack submarines, and significant increases in work on the Columbia Class (Ohio-class Replacement) Program, the next generation of ballistic missile submarines, and design of the Virginia Payload Module, which will enable the next block of Virginia-class submarines to have more payload capacity.

    In the past six months, the 85,000-square-foot former warehouse was converted to office space to accommodate those in the purchasing, engineering and design fields. The building at one point housed a Caldor store, the discount retail chain that went out of business in 1999. Although technically located in the town, the building is a stone's throw away from the border with Groton city, where EB has its main campus.

    Initially, 200 employees moved to the new building, just before Christmas; the move was completed during the company's holiday shutdown between Christmas and New Year's.

    The areas previously occupied by the employees will be retained and repurposed over time, according to Dan Barrett, an EB spokesman.

    EB's purchase and renovation of the building is part of an ongoing $31.5 million project to expand and improve its facilities in Groton and New London. Then, EB President Jeffrey Geiger — flanked by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Governor Dannel P. Malloy — discussed the company's expected growth over the next 15 years.

    The Department of Economic and Community Development provided a $10 million loan toward the $31.5 million project, with EB paying for the remainder of it. Malloy said at the time that the loan would be provided at an interest rate of 2 percent for a 10-year term.

    Despite the company's spending of tens of millions a year on its facilities, Geiger said during the news conference, the build-out and acquisition of the property would not have happened without the state's support.
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  4. #19
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    Just How Many New Columbia-Class Missile Submarines is the Navy Building?

    by Dave Majumdar
    January 22, 2018
    The National Interest

    The United States Navy may build more than 12 Columbia-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). While the Pentagon had previously stated that it needed 12 Columbia-class submarines, the new Nuclear Posture Review sets that number as a floor.

    “The Columbia-class program will deliver a minimum of 12 SSBNs to replace the current Ohio fleet,” a predecisional version of the Nuclear Posture Review obtained by The National Interest reads.

    “If Navy shipbuilding funding was not already insufficient to build 355 ship Navy, then building even two more SSBNs would provide greater margin to ensure the Navy can always maintain the minimum submarines required for uninterrupted alert coverage would be a worthwhile endeavor,” retired U.S. Navy submariner Thomas Callender, currently a senior research fellow for defense programs at the Heritage Foundation, told The National Interest.

    As Callender explained, the Navy needs a bare minimum of 12 Columbia-class boats to maintain 10 available submarines. “Six SSBNs in the Pacific and four in the Atlantic is the bare minimum required to provide uninterrupted alert coverage for the combatant commander. Geography is the reason for six in Pacific,” Callender said. “Twelve gives you 10 later in Columbia’s life when I have SSBNs undergoing depot maintenance. We needed 14 Ohios because they had mid-life refueling which took them out of operations for longer.”

    However, with only a dozen vessels in the class, the Columbia program does not have any margin for failure. “Twelve doesn’t really provide any buffer were something unexpected to occur and take an SSBN out of operations for extended period of time,” Callender said. “This could be a hedge in language to use a bargaining chip with Russians or could signal intent to provide increased margin to operational minimum force.”

    Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association told The National Interest that calling for a floor of 12 Columbia-class boomers could be a way to insulate the program from any potential cuts. “Some military leaders have in recent years referred to 12 as a minimum. This could be a way to counter calls for less than 12,” Rief said. “But one could also imagine several reasons why the might want more than 12, such as delays or changes in scope to the upgrade efforts for the other legs of the triad, uncertainty about force structure requirements in the aftermath of New START, and concern about the future survivability of the sea-leg of the triad.”

    Even if the Navy has good reasons to want more than a dozen Columbia-class SSBNs, the problem will be costly. “The problem, however, is that the cost of the current 12-boat program is already enormous and will be a significant challenge to execute without eating into non-nuclear shipbuilding requirements - to say nothing about getting to a 355 ship Navy,” Reif said.

    Meanwhile, the Navy wants to continue building the Columbia-class past the initial SSBN version with a SSGN cruise missile carrier variant. “Combatant Commanders and SOCOM [U.S. Special Operations Command] have stated a desire to have a new SSGN,” Callender said. “The Virginia class with VPM [Virginia Payload Module] doesn’t provide the concentrated firepower of SSGN.”

    Moreover, the Virginia-class lacks the space needed by the Naval Special Warfare community. ”A Virginia with VPM (Block V) cannot support dual dry dock shelters operations that provides redundancy for SOF [Special Operations Forces] operations,” Callender said. “Not to mention the loss of extra space for larger SOF teams and their equipment. The Tactical Submarine Evolution Plan (TSP) shows where submarine leadership is thinking of potential future submarine classes.”

    The problem for the Navy will be industrial capacity if it chooses to build a new Columbia SSGN variant. “There is currently no slack or industrial capacity to build an SSGN until the 12 submarine Columbia SSBN build is complete,” Callender said. “I think a future SSGN is a possibility, but it will depend on funding and the competing need to build surface fleet to in attempt to reach 355 ships.”

    However, a decision will have to be made relatively soon. “The last Columbia-class SSBN is procured in 2035 per current plan,” Callender said. “That means the Navy could procure its first SSGN in 2036 if the design is mature. That means the Navy needs to decide and begin design no later than 2026 (based on average of 10 years for acquisition program development). They should be able to compress this some since not a completely new design, just modifying Columbia design.”

    But all of that depends on the Congress getting its act together to consistent pass budgets.

    Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest.
    Navy Considering Mid-Block Virginia-Class Upgrades, SSGN Construction in Late 2030s

    By: Megan Eckstein
    November 2, 2017
    U.S. Naval Institute News

    The Navy has developed a Tactical Submarine Evolution Plan that looks at rapidly inserting capability upgrades into the Virginia-class attack submarine mid-contract and considers long-term undersea warfare priorities such as converting the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) production line into a guided-missile submarine (SSGN) line in the late 2030s.

    The Navy’s Undersea Warfare Directorate (OPNAV N97) started the plan under previous director Vice Adm. Bill Merz, who now serves as the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems (OPNAV N9), and has been continued under current acting director Brian Howes.

    Howes, speaking Thursday at the Naval Submarine League’s annual symposium, said the next iteration of the Virginia-class submarine program, Block V, begins in Fiscal Year 2019, but currently if a new capability were developed after the design is complete, it would have to wait to be fielded in the next Block VI in FY 2023.

    “We need to have the opportunity to have mid-block insertions into our platforms,” he said.
    Much like the Submarine Warfare Federated Tactical Systems that inserts combat upgrades into submarines every other year, Howes said the Tactical Submarine Evolution Plan (TSEP) would create “a ready menu of mature and maturing technology that we will insert when ready.”

    Though headed by OPNAV N97, the Program Executive Office for Submarines and the Virginia class program office are involved and wholeheartedly onboard.

    “There’s a continuous conveyor belt running, and developers who have an idea get on that conveyor belt, and if they can develop it and achieve the requisite reliability and producibility by the time that conveyor belt comes around for production then they can get into the next version … that’s going to be fielded. If they miss that one, then the conveyor belt goes back around again and they get another shot at it in two years,” PEO Subs Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley said at the conference of SWFTS and the Acoustics Rapid Commercial-off-the-shelf Insertion (ARCI) program that does the same thing on the computer processor side.
    “So we want to try to implement that into shipbuilding. The time sequence is different of course – we’re somewhat constrained by five-year multiyear procurement contracts, and we have previously tried to hold to a tech baseline letter at the beginning of the block that says the most efficient way to build 10 ships, all per this plan. One of the things that the TSEP looks at is, under the [chief of naval operations]’s theme of getting faster, waiting five years to insert the next technological development may not be the best thing for us to do. So we’re willing to take risk, we’re willing to look at breakthrough technologies that come, and if it makes sense to insert them mid-block then we’re willing.”

    This concept somewhat blurs the lines of future Blocks VI and VII and the eventual move to the SSN(X) attack sub program. The Virginia class has been upgraded in each block to improve manufacturing, reduce lifecycle costs, and add a mid-body Virginia Payload Module with additional missile tubes. Though two more iterations of upgrades are planned, the submarine community is finding they’re running out of space to add more capability.

    “We are running out of design margin in this great platform, and there are some fleet needs which this platform cannot do. So as a result, under Adm. Merz’s leadership, we’ve started the discussion of how we’re going to leverage our block improvement conveyor belt to wring out as much as we can for future blocks of Virginia, while setting us up for success after Virginia,” Howes said. TSEP would identify “capabilities that we are going to demand our shipbuilders inject into this platform, and if it can’t be injected into this platform we’re going to design it into [SSN(X)].”

    Jabaley said the Virginia program had already had its acquisition program baseline extended from 30 boats to the current 48, which the program is scheduled to reach in FY 2033 – but will likely hit even sooner, as the Navy looks at speeding up Virginia-class submarine construction.

    “Then we’ll make the decision, do we extend the APB again or will it be time to move on to a future submarine design?” Jabaley said. Though old assumptions point to moving to SSN(X) in FY 2034, as TSEP inserts more capability upgrades into the subs at a faster pace, “if technology, threat, environment, budget all conspire to say it makes more sense to start it earlier, start it later, then that’s what we’ll do.”

    Howes told USNI News that “there is a need for a dedicated funding line to support this conveyor belt, and we are in discussions inside the Navy and with [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] as to what that would look like. Ideally, first we’d get those resources from within, through cost-savings. One way or another we’re going to start this up – the design effort, the technology development, it gets faster with resources; there is a need for resources and we are having those discussions today as part of our [FY 2019 budget] deliberations.”

    The TSEP doesn’t just look at adding the capability to the Virginia-class subs and its successor SSN(X). It also looks at the SSGN concept: the fleet’s four SSGNs are set to decommission by 2028, and while the Virginia Payload Module and its extra missile tubes are meant to mitigate the loss, they don’t make up for the full strike capability – nor the special operations forces support – the fleet will lose at the end of the SSGNs’ life.

    To address that firepower gap, the TSEP looks at the possibility of using the Columbia-class SSBN design and production line to flow into an SSGN production line in the mid-2030s. General Dynamics’ Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding will build a dozen SSBNs – one in 2021, one in 2024, and then one a year in 2026 through 2035 – and talks are underway about keeping that production line warm by building more guided-missile subs.

    “There is value in keeping two product lines going,” Howes said of the large SSBNs and SSGNs and the smaller SSN and SSN(X) attack subs.
    “You never want to start up and shut down product lines, so the big-volume ship is one we’re interested in exploring after we complete our buy of Columbia. Conceptually, there is a value in recapitalizing our SSGN ship that is a different mission task, and then if you keep the line warm eventually we’ll have to recapitalize the SSBN line. So then you don’t have to start from scratch, which is what [Electric Boat] and Huntington Ingalls are having to do right now with Columbia because the last Ohio [class SSBN] came out in 1998.”

    On top of the TSEP concept, the Navy has also worked on an Alternate Futures Study, Naval Reactors director Adm. Frank Caldwell said Nov. 1 at the conference. The submarine community has worked with the Naval War College to look at future demands on the force, where it might be asked to operate, doing what missions, against which adversaries and with which allies, and more.

    “We will use the Alternate Futures Study to inform our decision regarding future capabilities and operational requirements, not only for the next platform but for other investments in the undersea domain,” Caldwell said, noting the study doesn’t point to a single future but rather a range of 2040 potential futures for which the force can plan.
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  5. #20
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    Rear Adm. John Tammen:
    TWO PATHS FORWARD ON COLUMBIA PRODUCTION LINE

    byJustin Katz
    Nov 12, 2018
    Inside the Navy

    The Navy is planning two different paths forward following the completion of the 12th Columbia-class submarine, both of which involve keeping the line open, according to a service official.

    Rear Adm. John Tammen, undersea warfare requirements director, said the service will base its decision on the needs of U.S. Strategic Command.

    The first choice would be to produce more Columbia-class submarines, beyond the 12-submarine minimum laid out in the latest nuclear posture review.

    If STRATCOM does not request more submarines, then Tammen said the service is developing a "large-volume host platform" which will have "the ability to host vehicles onboard inside that center section" of the submarine. He did not provide further details because the service is still developing the concept.

    "Depending on what happens in the strategic environment, we have two paths forward on the Columbia line," he told attendees Nov. 8 at the Naval Submarine League Symposium.

    Separately, the admiral said the Navy stood up a sustainment working group for Columbia's predecessor, the Ohio-class submarine, citing the fact the Navy has never had a submarine with a 42-year service life.

    The group is "looking at those first Ohio-class [guided missile submarines] and getting everything we can from the maintenance and teardowns we're doing on those, and rolling it forward into the Ohio-class SSBNs to make sure they make the 42-year commitment we've made to STRATCOM."

    That group was established earlier in the year, a Navy spokeswoman told Inside the Navy in a Nov. 8 statement.
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