The US Navy has admitted that it cannot meet its funding requirements for surface warships and a new class of nuclear-attack submarines between 2025 and 2034, the latest 30-year shipbuilding plan has revealed.
In the congressionally required blueprint, the navy noted that it ‘requires funding at an unsustainable level’ unless spending on shipbuilding is increased.
Furthermore, the report highlights the challenges of increasing the navy’s fleet to 306 vessels from the present 289, while constructing 12 new Ohio-class submarines, which are part of the nation’s nuclear triad of air, land and sea weapons.
The report, quoted by Bloomberg, also adds that after 2019, the US Department of Defense will face a confluence of expenditures, including new submarines, the scheduled full production of Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jet and a new long-range strike bomber.
The average cost of the navy’s plan during the period when the service will invest the most on the new submarines is $19.7bn a year. This also includes more than $24bn in 2032.
With the navy’s historical shipbuilding budget reaching approximately $13bn a year in 2014, the report claims that the budget ‘cannot be accommodated by the navy from existing resources’, particularly if the US remains under congressionally mandated regular cuts, called sequestration.
The report concludes that ‘even if the Ohio-replacement programme is removed’ from the plan, the average funding required from 2020 ‘is as much as $15bn annually’.