Submarine launched cruise missile

WASHINGTON: Two years ago, Capt. John Zimmerman and his award-winning Navy team were testing a software upgrade for submarines when they ran into a surprising problem. When they changed the code controlling the Tomahawk missile launchers, the torpedo tubes stopped working. Fortunately, this all happened in a laboratory ashore before the upgrade got anywhere near the… Keep reading →

US and Russian warships

WASHINGTON: “We are observing the manifestation of a more aggressive, more capable Russian navy,” the US Navy’s top commander in Europe said today. And if that fleet is Putin’s seagoing hammer, missile bases ashore are his land-based anvil. Complementing Russian naval modernization, Adm. Mark Ferguson said, we have seen “the construction of an arc of… Keep reading →

Rear Adm. David Johnson

WASHINGTON: When the Navy named its next top sub-builder, Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, back in July, I wondered where the submariner he was replacing would surface. Now we know: The Pentagon announced late yesterday that Rear Adm. David Johnson will pin  on his third star and become the top uniformed acquisition official in the Navy… Keep reading →


CAPITOL HILL: Adm. John Richardson sailed through his Senate confirmation hearing this morning. But two ominous issues breached the surface, hinting at growing conflict between the administration and Hill Republicans over how to handle China. Richardson, an experienced submariner nominated for Chief of Naval Operations, deftly dodged the difficult questions from Senate Armed Services Committee: Does US-China… Keep reading →

RDML Jabaley, Michael

WASHINGTON: Submariners come under a lot of pressure — up to 100,000 pounds per square inch, to be exact. Now sub program managers ashore are under intense pressure too, as the Navy tries to squeeze three major sub initiatives — including the enormously expensive Ohio-class replacement (ORP) — into a tightening budget. That’s the challenge career… Keep reading →

Test of a Navy Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

CAPITOL HILL: As the Air Force train pulls out of the station, the Navy’s running alongside asking to be pulled aboard. Both services will need to replace aging nuclear missiles sometime ca. 2030. They could save money by coordinating their modernization programs — but the Air Force is on a tighter schedule and the window… Keep reading →

Rep. Randy Forbes

UPDATE: Forbes’s amendment passed the House Wednesday night, by 321 votes to 111. WASHINGTON: Two powerful committees are headed for a rare House floor fight over a controversial fund to build new nuclear missile submarines. Rep. Randy Forbes and Rep. Joe Courtney, the chairman and top Democrat of the House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower,… Keep reading →

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 →

UUV with USS PONCE 130514-N-PX130-142

Think it’s hard to find a place to charge your smartphone at the airport? Try finding a power outlet in the ocean. Imagine you’re a robotic Navy mini-sub whose batteries are running low after a long mission monitoring, say, traffic around Chinese artificial islands in the South Pacific. Currently, you’d have to recharge at a land… Keep reading →

Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo

WASHINGTON: As nations like China build up their anti-access/area denial defenses to keep the US out, “the submarine force is the key that unlocks that A2/AD bubble,” Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo once said. “We’re the folks that are expected to get in underneath.” As the two-star director of Undersea Warfare on the Navy’s Pentagon staff… Keep reading →

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