Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Navy's Latest 5-Year Plan Cuts 1 Sub, Rumor Says

A Bloomberg article today by Tony Capaccio advises the U.S. Navy has proposed a budget through 2015, that would cut 1 of 10 planned Virginia-class submarines. Read the short article, it is loaded with interesting naval tidbits.
This submarine cut is more spin than news, however. How do we know? Three factors play prominently in our disbelief.
1- Our submarines are VITAL to national defense and intelligence gathering, these days. No combatant ship has a higher deployment rate than our subs. As remaining Los Angeles class boats near the ends of their commissioned lives, they must be replaced to make such deployments (and reliefs therefrom) possible.
2- Virginia class subs are built jointly by Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics in states with strong support for and from their influential, Democrat congressional delegations.
3- Internal training and certifications to bring Grumman inspectors and welders up-to-speed on minor disciplines like subsafe quality and actually performing inspections will delay production by one boat in the next 5 years, anyway. Why should the Navy not use a potentially embarassing production slip to its fiscal advantage? That is what we thought!
Since General Dynamics is best known to submariners by the historical name Electric Boat, Juan Caruso wanted to know if Northrop Grumman has yet earned a derisive name among submariners. Perhaps Wired Certs would be fitting for Grumman, he offered.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



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