US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has detailed the US Navy’s proposed fiscal 2017 budget request.
The request seeks to boost the lethality of military vessels and enhance artillery comprised of submarines, aviation and munitions.
Carter has revealed allotting a "substantial amount" of the budget proposal "because of the centrality of the navy to our strategy."
The budget is anticipated to encompass developments in the SM-6 missile variant, which will enable the equipment to target and terminate enemy ships at sea at an extended range.
The existing navy fleet is expected to increase from 280 to 308.
Around nine new Virginia-class attack submarines are expected to be procured over the next five years.
The procurement of the ships adds an extra Virginia payload module, and fortifies vessels’ vertical launch tube strike capacity.
The Pentagon is anticipated to invest $600m over the next five years to procure variable-size and payload unmanned undersea vehicles. It also plans to buy ten new warships and overhaul and upgrade combat systems on 12 existing ships.
For naval aviation, the department is planning to procure 13 F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters and 16 F-18 Super Hornets.
However, Carter stated that apart from enhancing the fleet in number, the ship’s lethality and capabilities should also be a matter of focus.
He added: "We face competitors who are challenging us in the open ocean, and we need to balance investment in those capabilities, advanced capabilities, in a way that we haven’t had to do for quite a while."
Image: Defence Secretary Ash Carter touring USS Spruance at Naval Base San Diego. Photo: courtesy of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D Godbee.