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  • Ohio Replacement Program - District of Columbia Class SSBN

    The Navy has completed the specifications and has set the length for its next generation nuclear ballistic missile submarine, the head of the Navy’s submarine construction program told attendees at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition 2014 at National Harbor, Md. on Monday.

    The Ohio-class Replacement Program boats (ORP, formerly known as SSBN(X)) of 560 feet about the same length as the Ohio-class (SSBN-726) but with eight fewer missile tubes than the service’s current boomers, said Rear Adm. David Johnson Program Executive Officer (PEO) Submarines for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

    The extra length — in relationship to the number of missile tubes — was included in the design to improve on stealth, cost and maintainability of new SSBNs.

    “We included the requisite stealth technologies to insure the ship’s survivability for its 42-year service life,” Johnson said.
    The more than 20,000 ton submarine will be the largest submarine the Navy has ever constructed — about half the size of the Soviet designed 45,000-ton Typhoon boomers and roughly the same tonnage as the Russian Navy’s new Borey-class (Project 955A) SSBNs.

    In cooperation with the U.K. Royal Navy Successor-class of SSBNS, ORP boats will field 16 missile tubes armed with Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

    The latest Navy figures estimate the boomers will cost $110 million a year to operate with a second through twelfth ship with an average cost of $5.36 billion a hull — both in 2010 dollars.

    The Navy’s goal — set by the Office of the Secretary of Defense — is for $4.9 billion per boat.

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

    With the specifications locked in, the Navy will now work with lead ship designer — General Dynamic Electric Boat — to squeeze every dollar it can out of the design to hit the cost target set by OSD.

    Under the terms of the latest START treaty, the SSBN force will carry about 70 percent of the U.S. strategic nuclear warheads, placing a greater emphasis on the Navy for the strategic nuclear mission over the Air Force’s nuclear bombers and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) forces.

    “It’s not whether or not we’re going to build the strategic deterrent. We’re going to do that. We have to,” said Rear Adm. Joseph Tafalo, the service’s head of submarine warfare (N97) said at the same panel.
    “It’s out turn. This is something you do every 50 years and we’ve rung every single once of efficiency from this program.”

    Tafalo pointed to the reduction from a SSBN force of 41 from its first five classes of 1960s and 1970s era boomers, to the 14 SSBNs of the Ohio-class and the 12 planned ORP SSBNs.

    Despite the historic reduction in the number of boats for the strategic mission, the $100 billion program will be among the most expensive shipbuilding undertakings in the Navy’s history.

    Tafalo’s N97 predecessor, Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, told Congress the Navy would need almost $60 billion dollars in funding — from outside the Navy’s budget — over the course of 15 years to prevent an impact to the Navy’s other shipbuilding accounts.

    The Navy plans to start construction of the first ORP in 2021 with a first planned patrol to start in 2031.

    The service included $1.2 billion in research and development funding for ORP as part of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget, released earlier this year.

    The ship design effort will borrow extensively from developments in the Virginia-class submarine attack boats (SSN-774) and the Seawolf-class (SSN-21) programs, service officials said.

    Some of the innovations planned for the new hull include an entirely new electric propulsion system and a life-of-boat nuclear reactor that will significantly reduce the time the boomers will spend in maintenance.
    Navy Has Finalized Specifications for New Ohio-Replacement Boomer | USNI News

  • #2
    NATIONAL HARBOR: This is rocket science. As the US Navy tries to keep its crucial 1990-vintage Trident D5 nuclear-capable missile viable for decades to come, it’s working with everyone from the Royal Navy to the US Air Force to NASA to keep costs down and technology up to date. Meanwhile, the design team for the new nuclear missile submarine that will carry those Tridents after 2031 is already down in such low-tech weeds as salvaging launch tube doors from the existing Ohio-class nuclear subs as they retire from service.

    “The issue with NASA [is] it takes 10 Trident missiles to make up one Space Shuttle booster,” in terms of the rockets’ relative size, explained Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, Navy director of Strategic Systems Programs, when I asked him about it after his remarks this morning at the massive Sea-Air-Space conference. “So when NASA dropped the Space Shuttle program [in 2011], the industrial base took a significant impact,” the admiral said. There’s no way the Navy’s much smaller demand for nuclear missile boosters can make up for the loss of Space Shuttle booster business.

    Because the industry builds fewer missiles, each booster the Navy buys carries more overhead costs and a heftier price tag (though Benedict didn’t say how much). For now, said the admiral, “through a lot of concerted effort with industry we’ve been able to maintain costs at what I’ll call an acceptable level.”

    In the longer run, however, the viability of the rocket booster industrial base and the affordability of the Navy’s nuclear missiles depends in large part on the decision NASA must make circa 2016 about how (or whether) to replace the shuttle. Benedict and his staff are “working closely” with NASA, but ultimately it’s not the Navy’s decision to make.

    Meanwhile, while NASA wrestles with going to the Moon or Mars, Benedict’s busy just getting back from the UK. Just two weeks ago he was in London, consulting with the British on the Common Missile Compartment (CMC) that will hold the launch tubes for both the US Ohio replacement and the British Vanguard replacement. (The British also use the Trident). The Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine program is under heavy fiscal pressure and may be cut from four boats to three — not quite enough to keep one sub continuously at sea — but Benedict assured the audience at Sea-Air-Space that “there’d be no impact” on the US sub program if the UK buys one less missile compartment.

    Then there’s the Air Force. Launching a missile from a silo in North Dakota is a lot easier than launching one from a submarine underwater, but once the missile is in the atmosphere, the technical challenges are the same. Benedict has personnel on all of the Air Force’s analysis-of-alternatives (AOA) teams for sustaining the ICBM force, and the two services have identified areas they can both buy the same components, from test range equipment to electronics hardened against the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) of a nuclear attack. (Obviously we never want to have to use that last one). The two services are already developing a common “fusing and firing circuit” for the updated Mark 5 warhead the Navy plans to build in 2019.

    Meanwhile, Benedict’s counterpart for the sub itself, the Program Executive Officer (PEO) for submarines, is working on less apocalyptic issues like pumps and access doors. Last year, the service finalized general specifications such as length — 560 feet — and displacement — over 20,000 tons — but there are innumerable specifics yet to work out before production begins in 2021. That may seem like a lot of time, but every month counts in the marathon to replace the Ohios on sea patrol by 2031. That schedule will already require building the first Ohio Replacement in an unprecedented 84 months, less than historically required for submarines half the size, said Rear Adm. David Johnson, PEO-Submarines.

    “We are looking at everything,” Johnson told reporters, “all the way down to trying to reuse the doors on the missile tube access covers from the Ohio” as those subs go out of service. “Those doors are dry” — i.e. they aren’t exposed to the ocean — “so they really see no wear,” he said.

    It’s relatively easy to reuse missile tube parts because the tubes themselves are the same size on both the Ohios and the future missile sub, which will also carry the Trident for at least the first part of its service life. (An all-new nuclear missile is a notion for the distant future). But nobody’s building Ohios any more, so Johnson’s priority is taking advantage of the Navy’s ongoing Virginia*-class attack sub program.

    The service is steadily buying two Virginia submarines a year to add to the 10 already in service. By contrast, the entire Ohio Replacement Program (formerly known as SSN(X)) will be 12 subs, so any way to piggyback off the higher-volume program will save money. Johnson wants to bundle procurement of at least some materials and components that will go on both submarines.

    So how many components will the Virginia and the ORP have in common? There’s not even an estimate yet, Johnson said. “It’s not like ten percent, it’s not like 75%, it’s somewhere in the range there,” he said. But as the Navy and industry design the replacement for the Ohio-class, he said, with every component, “we see if we can make it fit using a Seawolf or Ohio or Virginia-class pump, valve,” etc.

    But since the new nuclear missile submarine will be larger than anything now in service — the biggest submarine ever built in the US, said Johnson, roughly twice the size of the Virginia — a lot of its components will have to be bigger, too. Even with those scaled-up parts, though, the admiral said, the same factory can often build a big version and a little version of a given component, a pump for example, at a lower cost than two companies building entirely different designs.

    Johnson has to squeeze out every dollar he can, because the Ohio replacement is a potential budget-buster, so much so that the Navy can’t fit it in its current shipbuilding budget without sacrificing almost everything else. (The service wants extra funding from the Defense Department on the grounds that nuclear deterrence is a national priority, not just a Navy one).

    Setting aside research, development, and design, just building the first Ohio replacement will cost an estimated $6.8 billion. Just as with any other manufactured product, though, the cost per sub will drop over time. The Navy has orders to get the average cost of SSBN(X) 2 through 12 down to at least $5.6 billion, with a target of $4.9 billon. (All these figures are in 2010 dollars, since that’s the year the program’s Acquisition Decision Memorandum, the ADM, was issued).

    Johnson currently estimates the design team’s already cut the cost by almost four percent, to $5.36 billion — but that’s still comparable to an aircraft carrier. So the submarine, like the missile it will carry, still has a long way to go.
    Navy Seeks Sub Replacement Savings: From NASA Rocket Boosters To Reused Access Doors « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary


    • #3
      The U.S. Navy must have the first replacement for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine on duty by 2031.

      “It seems like a long way away,” Rear Adm. David C. Johnson, program executive officer of submarines said April 7 at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Md. “It really is a today issue. It’s not something that can be deferred, delayed, cut or re-planned.”

      Johnson said 2031 is just around the corner when it comes to developing and building a new class of submarines.

      Fiscal year 2031 is when the fifth Ohio-class SSBN retires, leaving the Navy with a force of nine ships. If the lead replacement sub is not ready to take over by that date, it would leave the Navy one below its mandated requirement to have at least 10, he said.

      As the first ship in its class, it will need a three-year test-and-evaluation period to assess its performance, including shake down deployments to spot and then correct any shortcomings. There must be independent certifications of the readiness of the crew and weapon systems, he said.

      That takes the timeline back to about 2027, he said.

      It will take seven years to build the lead ship. That is an aggressive schedule given the Ohio-replacement will be the largest submarine ever built in the United States, he said. That time frame is shorter than the previous three lead ship submarines builds: the Ohio, Seawolf and Virginia classes.

      The lead Virginia-class ship was 40 percent the size of the Ohio replacement and it took 86 months to build, Johnson noted.

      The construction phase takes the program back to 2021. “Now we’re a mere six and half years away from today.”

      In the next six and half years, the program must execute the design phase, carrying out research and development and construction preparation activities. About 83 percent of the designs must be complete at the start of construction, he said.

      The program is now almost four years into development. It is laying the foundation for the ship construction design phase to begin in 2017. The early stage work done in that period is crucial to deliver the first submarine on time and on budget, he said.

      “The scope of Ohio replacement’s design is unparalleled. It is the largest design effort in the Navy’s shipbuilding history,” Johnson said.

      “Successfully prototyping … is critical for assuring cost effective ship construction,” he added.“The Ohio replacement program has to stay on track."

      The scope of the design effort is 50 percent greater than the Virginia-class, he said. The Ohio replacement will feature advanced silencing, a new propulsion and a first of its kind electric drive. The length of the ship is 560 feet.

      Rear Adm. Joseph E. Tofalo, director of the Navy’s undersea warfare division, said recapitalizing the strategic sea-based deterrent of the nuclear triad is something that only happens every five decades. “This is a solemn duty that falls to every other generation. And it is our turn.”

      The funding is flowing for the research and development phase so far, Tofalo said. There is $1.2 billion for R&D in the fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, he added.

      The problem on the horizon is the acquisition costs in the 2020s. It will gobble up 50 percent of the Navy's shipbuilding budget and severely impact other programs, he said.

      “We cannot afford to have the Ohio replacement negatively impact the rest of the shipbuilding community,” Tofalo said.

      Under the New START Treaty, SSBNs will be responsible for approximately 70 percent of the nation’s deployed nuclear warheads, he noted. “Seventy percent is a big number. We have got to get this right,” he said.
      2031 Just Around the Corner for Ohio-Class Replacement Sub - Blog


      • #4
        Here is the current procurement schedule.


        • #5
          Here is a link to a circa 2012 article by SSP Public Affairs published in Undersea Warfare about the Trident II D-5LE (life extension).

          Last edited by JRT; 31 May 14,, 22:30.


          • #6
            'the Navy’s SSBN force will drop to 11 or 10 boats for the period FY2029-FY2041.'



            • #7
              Posted: October 23, 2014 4:44 PM

              CNO on Ohio Replacement Submarine: ‘We’re Going to Build It’

              By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

              ARLINGTON, Va. — The chief of naval operations (CNO) affirmed to a fraternity of current and former submariners that the Navy is committed to building the next generation of ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN).

              Speaking Oct. 23 to an audience of the Naval Submarine League in Falls Church, Va., ADM Jonathan W. Greenert said the replacement to the Ohio-class SSBN “is our No. 1 program. That is the one we have to get right.”

              “There is a strong commitment for Ohio Replacement,” said James Thomsen, principal civilian deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, noting that the Navy-industry team has the strong peer-to-peer relationships necessary to build and run a stable program.

              Greenert acknowledged the budget challenges of building the first Ohio Replacement (OR) SSBN, noting that the approximate cost to design and build the first boat will be $9 billion, and $6.5 billion for the second, but that the third and follow-on SSBNs will be held at $5 billion each, a third of the Navy’s shipbuilding budget.

              “But we’re going to build it,” he said, noting that the strategic nuclear deterrence that the SSBN provides is the Navy’s primary mission for the nation. “The pressure is on the other shipbuilding programs.”

              Fifty percent of U.S. nuclear weapons reside in the current SSBN force, a number that will increase to 70 percent when the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is implemented in 2018.

              The future shipbuilding programs also putting pressure on the budget include the LX(R) amphibious warfare ship, a replacement for the current dock landing ships, for which the Navy has stated its preference for a ship based on the hull of the San Antonio-class amphibious dock ship; a new large surface combatant, needed to follow the current cruisers and destroyers; and the Gerald Ford-class aircraft carriers.

              “We’ve got to control the cost of the Ford aircraft carrier,” Greenert said.

              Funding and controlling cost in the OR program “is a tough problem that will require our best efforts,” said RADM Dave Johnson, program executive officer for submarines.

              The first OR will be started in 2021 and have to be built in 84 months, with the submarine in the water by 2028, and a 36-month post-delivery period before beginning its first patrol.

              The OR needs to begin its first ballistic-missile patrol in 2031, Johnson said.

              The OR will be the first U.S. submarine with a fly-by-wire control system and the first since USS Albacore to use X-plane control surfaces. It also will be powered by an electric drive system without reduction gears.

              Johnson said the Navy is starting to look at the concept of the next-generation attack submarine, SSN(X), that will follow the current Virginia-class SSN after the Block V versions are built.
              SEAPOWER Magazine Online


              • #8
                Posted: October 29, 2014 3:32 PM

                Energy Undersecretary: SSBN(X) Key to Maintaining Sub-based Leg of Nuclear Triad

                By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent

                WASHINGTON — Building a replacement for the nuclear-powered Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines is “a program of highest national interest,” the Energy Department official who oversees the Naval Nuclear Reactors effort to produce a new nuclear power plant for the future strategic deterrence boats said Oct. 29.

                “It’s very, very important that we maintain this, the most survivable leg, of the [nuclear deterrence] triad,” said Frank Klotz, the undersecretary of Energy for Nuclear Security and head of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

                Klotz, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who had commanded the Air Force Global Strike Command, which manages the land-based Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles and the nuclear-capable bombers, said “the other two legs of the triad are equally important for the synergistic effects that they bring to the force. But this is one that we absolutely must get right.”

                In a breakfast session with the Defense Writers Group, Klotz also talked about his agency’s efforts to extend the life and modernize the two types of nuclear warheads for the Trident D-5 strategic ballistic missiles that now arm the Ohios and will be used for the future strategic submarines.

                In describing the array of programs he manages, Klotz said he has “special responsibility for Naval Reactors, which was started largely by ADM [Hiram] Rickover and still bears much of his imprint. It has been producing naval reactors for aircraft carriers and submarines for several decades now and continues to do that in an exemplary manner and safely.”

                Naval Reactors, officially known as Naval Nuclear Propulsion and currently commanded by ADM John Richardson, was created in 1946 as part of the Manhattan Project and was led by Rickover for more than three decades.

                “I will say, as a former Air Force officer, that I am extraordinarily impressed by both the capability and performance of America’s sea-launched nuclear deterrent force: the people, the equipment, the weapon system,” Klotz said.

                The Navy has listed the Ohio-replacement program, commonly known as SSBN(X), as its “top priority” in shipbuilding and initially planned to start building the first submarine in 2019. But the program has been revised to start construction of the lead boat in 2021 and scaled down to building 11, or even only 10, instead of 12 new submarines to replace the 14 Ohio-class “boomers.”

                The smaller force is considered adequate because the plan is to produce a reactor that can last for the life of the boat, which could be 30 years or more.

                Klotz said the life-of-the-ship reactor “is extraordinarily important on two levels. It’s extraordinarily important on cost, because one of the largest elements of the total operating costs of a nuclear submarine over its life has been replacing the (reactor) core when that has come due. That’s very expensive.

                “The other aspect of that is when you go into the deep overhaul that is necessary to replace the core, you’re taking a submarine out of service, for a long time. And so, if you have a life-of-the-sub core, you avoid both cost and you avoid extensive down time as you refuel the reactor.”

                Klotz said his “great concern on the Ohio replacement — and for the elements of the other two legs of the triad — is the enormous cost that will be involved in those programs.”

                The Navy has estimated the lead SSBN(X) could cost $12.4 billion, including $4.8 billion in non-recurring engineering and design work. NAVSEA officials hope to get the cost of the follow-on boats down to $4.9 billion. But that still would be more than one-third of usual annual shipbuilding budget.

                Other elements of Klotz’s organization are working on programs to reduce the size of the nuclear weapons stockpile, while extending the life and improving the safety and reliability of the existing warheads.

                Two of the nuclear warheads in that effort are the W-76-1 and the W-88, which can be used in the independently targeted re-entry vehicles in the Trident missiles.

                Klotz said the W-76s are halfway through a life-extension program to keep them operational for another 20 or 30 years, while the W-88s are in an alteration program that “will replace the arming, fuzing and firing assembly,” which was produced decades ago. “It’s time to refurbish that part of the overall system. And there also will be some limited life component changes made.”

                Production has not started on the W-88 modernization, but testing has been completed on the new components.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by surfgun View Post

                  The Navy has listed the Ohio-replacement program, commonly known as SSBN(X), as its “top priority” in shipbuilding and initially planned to start building the first submarine in 2019. But the program has been revised to start construction of the lead boat in 2021 and scaled down to building 11, or even only 10, instead of 12 new submarines to replace the 14 Ohio-class “boomers.”

                  I had seen where some anti-defense spending type politicians had been pushing to reduce the BNR ( Ohio replacement ) numbers below 12, but this is the first time I had seen lower numbers reported as already being part of the planning. I'm very curious to know if that is factual, or just somebody's error.


                  • #10
                    I believe the outcome of the 2016 elections will figure largely into if 12 or as few as 10 boats get built.


                    • #11
                      which was started largely by ADM [Hiram] Rickover and still bears much of his imprint.
                      "Hiram"? :red:

                      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


                      • #12
                        PENTAGON – Continued work on the Ohio replacement nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) will cost the U.S. Navy about $10 billion over the next five years as part of budgeting in the Navy’s Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP), a senior service budget official told reporters on Monday.

                        “This FYDP plan funds both the advanced procurement [for ORP] at about $5 billion and [research and development] of about $5 billion,” said Rear Adm. William Lescher, the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget in a late afternoon briefing to reporters.

                        The total includes $1.4 billion in the Fiscal Year 2016 request in the Department of the Navy’s R&D budget line, according to the Navy’s budget documents.

                        Those funds – over five years – are split between a $3.18 billion budget line for the research and development for the development of the submarine, $1.8 billion for nuclear technology development and $5.66 billion for long lead items from the Navy’s shipbuilding account, according to Navy budget documents.

                        The single largest line item is an anticipated $2.77 billion shipbuilding expenditure in Fiscal Year 2019.

                        ORP – an estimated $100 billion program to replace the service’s 14 nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) – is the Navy’s number one priority and the service has raised concerns without additional relief, the new class of 12 boomers could take funds away from other shipbuilding programs in the service’s shipbuilding account (SCN).

                        “They will get built,” Lescher said.
                        “[But there’s] very much a concern the impact of the broader shipbuilding approach absent the relief that we think is required to do this.”

                        The Navy thinks it will need the relief to preserve the rest of the shipbuilding budget when the first ORP boomer starts construction in FY 2021.

                        “The new construction SCN averages about $15 billion per year and these boats per year – past the lead boat – will be about $10 billion per year. So it requires two-thirds of the SCN absent relief, Lescher said.
                        “The department’s strong view is when the construction cost with the first boat in ’21 – particularly when it gets to a boat every year from 2026 to 2035 – that additional topline relief is required. “

                        In 2013, the former Navy director of undersea warfare Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge said the relief needed could be more than half the cost of the program.

                        “$60 billion over 15 years is what we need,” Breckenridge said before the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

                        To that end, Congress has established a fund for a seabased nuclear deterrent but has yet to deposit any money in the account.

                        Programs in the Navy’s long-range outlook have already been affected by the anticipated costs of ORP.

                        An anticipated Flight IV of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer (DDG-51) – that would have replaced the Ticonderoga-class cruiser’s (CG-47) air defense commander role – was deemed unaffordable during the Ohio replacement period.

                        The class of 12 ORP boats will displace more than 20,000-tons and be the largest submarines the U.S. has ever constructed. The boomers will each field 16 Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missiles to replace the 14 existing Ohio-class boats.
                        Navy Budgeting $10 Billion for Ohio Replacement Program Over Next Five Years - USNI News


                        • #13
                          So it would appear according to this article the Ohio replacement will be the Columbia Class.



                          • #14
                            Originally posted by surfgun View Post
                            So it would appear according to this article the Ohio replacement will be the Columbia Class.

                            Just as most Americans expect, the folks in DC will herald in the end times. :D


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by surfgun View Post
                              So it would appear according to this article the Ohio replacement will be the Columbia Class.

                              I'll be curious to see if that name indirectly honoring Christopher Columbus lasts into the annual political controversy surrounding the Columbus Day holiday.