shipbuilding

An Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

CAPITOL HILL: There is zero room for error in the Navy’s $80 billion plan for nuclear missile submarines, a senior sub admiral said this morning. “We have effectively skipped an entire SSBN generation,” said Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, “but in doing so we have consumed the entire margin for error.” America’s first nuclear missile submarine,… Keep reading →

Navy rail gun test

WASHINGTON: Rail gun bullets move seven times the speed of sound. Laser beams fire at the speed of light. But Pentagon procurement? Not so fast. But with both Congress and the Navy Secretary expressing impatience, the Navy is accelerating its efforts to move both lasers and rail guns from the test phase into the fleet. “We’ve… Keep reading →

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CAPITOL HILL: More ships. More weapons. Less waiting. That’s the essential philosophy of Rep. Randy Forbes, chairman of the House subcommittee on seapower. In the draft National Defense Authorization Act headed for mark-up next week, he certainly seems to have gotten his way — on amphibious assault ships, submarines, land-based cruise missiles, and more. “My… Keep reading →

AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter

PENTAGON: “You ever seen what an attack helicopter does to a small boat? That’s a Cuisinart.” The Navy’s long been nervous about the survival of its high-cost high-seas warships in coastal knife fights. (That anxiety drove the development of the controversial Littoral Combat Ship). Iran, in particular, is notorious for its shallow water mini-submarines and… Keep reading →

The Avenger-class minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground in 2013.

WASHINGTON: Every year, the Navy releases its 30-year shipbuilding plan. Every year, budget analysts decry it as unrealistic and sea hawks decry it as underfunded. Last year, the Navy dropped all pretense and agreed with the critics, saying its own modernization plan was “unsustainable” — especially if additional funding was not forthcoming for the new… Keep reading →

The new carrier USS Ford is afloat but still unfinished.

NAVY YARD: At almost $13 billion, the cutting-edge aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78) has become a byword for military overruns. With the Ford‘s cost now stable and the costs of the second ship, Kennedy, coming down, however, the Navy seems convinced it’s got the money problem under control. Now they can talk about the… Keep reading →

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Jan. 26, 2013) Huntington Ingalls Industries celebrated significant progress today as the 555-metric ton island was lowered onto the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) at the company's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division. The 60-foot long, 30-foot wide island was the 452nd lift of the nearly 500 total lifts needed to complete the aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Huntington Ingalls Industries/Released)

WASHINGTON: “About half” of the shipyards building US Navy vessels are “one contract away” from leaving the business, the Navy’s top procurement officer told the Senate today. After decades of decline due to foreign competition, the US shipbuilding industry has become so fragile and so dependent on government contracts that the Navy is taking unprecedented and… Keep reading →

Senate side of the capitol

WASHINGTON: The hearing season is roaring ahead at full tilt, with senior officials at five defense hearings on Wednesday. Here’s our preview of some of the likely topics and issues. The most interesting to Breaking Defense readers probably will be the unique pairing of the four Army and Air Force leaders before the full Senate… Keep reading →

John Lehman fleet

It’s fair to say that John Lehman is the most influential Navy Secretary of the last half century. Under President Ronald Reagan, Lehman “had an almost revolutionary impact on the Navy,” according to naval expert Norm Polmar. Lehman drove hard and pushed to build what has become known as the 600-ship Navy. Lehman knows how a… Keep reading →

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