U.K. Defence Equipment Plan 2022-2032

The following is the U.K. Ministry of Defence 2022 Defence Equipment Report released in November. From the report The 2022 Equipment Plan comes at a pivotal point in time for Defence, one where we are entering a new age of warfare and defensive planning. The Ministry of Defence has become increasingly in the spotlight over […]

The following is the U.K. Ministry of Defence 2022 Defence Equipment Report released in November.

From the report

The 2022 Equipment Plan comes at a pivotal point in time for Defence, one where we are entering a new age of warfare and defensive planning. The Ministry of Defence has become increasingly in the spotlight over the last year, as have our spending plans and capability investments been scrutinised in the wake of the Ukraine Russia conflict.

The events of the last few months have demonstrated the instability and unpredictability of the threat to our nation’s security but have also exemplified the ability Defence has to react and adapt rapidly to those emerging risks. Despite the turbulent climate, we are confident that the spending decisions outlined in the following Plan remain relevant and resilient to the changing nature of Defence.

The uplift received from the 2020 Spending Review meant we were able to rectify an existing deficit and instil stability and confidence in current and future spending forecasts. This has enabled us to invest in cutting edge capabilities that ensure we are threat ready and resilient against emerging risks. Within this Plan, we have continued the task of developing investment decisions from the integrated review into detailed spending plans. The 2021 Equipment Plan was the first in five years that was not described as unaffordable by the National Audit Office (NAO). We have retained an affordable position for the 2022 Plan and continue to hold a contingency to ensure resilience against emerging financial pressures.

There has been significant change, both in Defence and the world since the publication of the last Plan. We are experiencing a period of rising inflation, we are witnessing large scale conflict in Ukraine, and we have welcomed two new Prime Ministers. It is paramount therefore that the decisions reported each year are sustainable and resilient against current and future pressures. While this report is based on data that closed in March, and so will not reflect for the most part the impact of recent pressures, we nonetheless remain aware and responsive to their significance, particularly as we move forward into the next planning cycle.

In the Autumn Statement the Government has recognised the need to increase Defence spending. The case for this will be set out in the Integrated Review which will consider the response to the emerging threat. The outcome of this will be represented in future Equipment Plans.

The Plan is not immune to risk, we have set ambitious savings targets and made hard decisions in spending priorities across the Commands. We are confident however that the capabilities we are investing in, and spending decisions made in the last year, remain in line with the developing defence landscape and ensure we have a stable financial footing for this and future Plans.

[signed]

The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Secretary of State for Defence

Download the document here.

Pentagon: Chinese Navy to Expand to 400 Ships by 2025, Growth Focused on Surface Combatants

China is building more modern surface combatants and expanding its aircraft carrier and logistics force to grow its naval influence further from shore, according to the Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military power. By 2025, the People’s Liberation Army Navy is expected to grow to 400 hulls, up from its fleet of 340, according to […]

People’s Liberation Army Navy aircraft carrier Shandong berths at a naval port in Sanya, China. PLAN Photo

China is building more modern surface combatants and expanding its aircraft carrier and logistics force to grow its naval influence further from shore, according to the Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military power.

By 2025, the People’s Liberation Army Navy is expected to grow to 400 hulls, up from its fleet of 340, according to the Pentagon’s annual China military report estimates released on Tuesday.

“The PLAN is an increasingly modern and flexible force that has focused on replacing its previous generations of platforms that had limited capabilities in favor of larger, modern multi-role combatants,” reads the report.
“As of 2021, the PLAN is largely composed of modern multi-role platforms featuring advanced anti-ship, anti-air, and anti-submarine weapons and sensors.”

The report, which sums up Chinese military developments in 2021, pegs the growth to the PLAN adding more major surface combatants. The ship total dipped last year from 355 due to a transfer of more than 20 older corvettes to the China Coast Guard.

“At the close of 2021, the PLAN was building an aircraft carrier, a new batch of guided-missile destroyers (DDG), and a new batch of guided missile frigates (FFG),” reads the report.

The bulk of the surface expansion is contained in two programs, the 7,500-ton Luyang III guided-missile Type-52D destroyers and the larger 13,000-ton Type-55 Renhai-class guided-missile cruisers, according to the report.

Renhai-class cruiser

The Luyang III destroyers are built around a dual-band active electronically scanned array (AESA) air search radar and a 64-cell vertical launch system for multiple missiles similar to the Mk-41 VLS on U.S. surface ships.

The Renhais are much larger with a similar radar and 112 cell VLS cells “and can carry a large load out of weapons including [anti-ship cruise missiles], surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), torpedoes, and anti-submarine weapons along with likely [land-attack cruise missiles] and anti-ship ballistic missiles when those become operational,” according to the report.

As of May, the Chinese have five of the Renhai-class cruisers in commission, according to the South China Morning Post.

The newer classes of ships, with a variety of anti-surface and anti-air missiles, allow the PLAN better protection as its task groups venture farther from the protective umbrella of its shore-based air defense systems and mimic the basic construct of the American Aegis Combat System.

The emphasis on the platforms are anti-surface weapons, according to the report.
“The PLAN recognizes that long-range ASCMs require a robust, over-the-horizon (OTH) targeting capability to realize their full potential. To fill this capability gap, the PLA is investing in joint reconnaissance, surveillance, command, control, and communications systems at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels to provide high-fidelity targeting information to surface and subsurface launch platforms,” reads the report.

The PLAN is developing new submarines more slowly than it’s developing surface ships, “as it works to mature its force, integrate new technologies, and expand its shipyards,” reads the report.
“The PLAN currently operates six nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN), and 44 diesel-powered/air-independent powered attack submarines (SS/SSP). The PLAN will likely maintain between 65 and 70 submarines through the 2020s, replacing older units with more capable units on a near one-to-one basis.”

The Pentagon speculated in the report that China is developing a nuclear guided-missile submarine that would field both anti-surface and land-attack cruise missiles, a new addition this year.

Type-093A Shang-class attack submarine

“By the mid-2020s, China will likely build the SHANG class (Type 093B) guided-missile nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSGN). This new SHANG class variant will enhance the PLAN’s anti-surface warfare capability and could provide a clandestine land-attack option if equipped with land-attack cruise missiles,” reads the report.

In terms of amphibious ships, the report highlighted not only the rapid development of the Yushen-class of big-deck amphibious warships, but also the increased use of civilian roll-on/roll-off car carriers that can go into service for military operations.

“This flexibility decreases the requirement to build additional PLAN amphibious ships to successfully assault Taiwan. This operational flexibility also provides operational and logistics units within the [PLAN Marine Corps] the training and proficiency to move between military and civilian vessels not just in a Taiwan scenario, but in any maritime environment where civilian transport vessels are available to the PLANMC and PLAN amphibious ships are not,” reads the report.

In late August, the PLAN held a major amphibious drill using civilian ferries to launch landing craft from sea, USNI News reported.

The PLAN has two operational aircraft carriers, Liaoning and Shandong, based on the Soviet Kuzenetzov, a short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR). Both carriers have been active in the Western Pacific. A third carrier, Fujian, will feature a catapult launch and arrested landing and is expected to be operational by 2024.

“This design will enable it to support additional fighter aircraft, fixed-wing early warning aircraft, and more rapid flight operations and thus extend the reach and effectiveness of its carrier-based strike aircraft,” reads the report.

The PLAN continues to refine its carrier aircraft – primarily the Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark, which is an unlicensed copy of the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 fighter.

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) during a December 2021 deployment. PLAN Photo

“In addition to the standard J-15 fighter that currently operates from PLAN carriers, there is a catapult-capable J-15 variant in development,” reads the report.
“The aircraft is currently testing from land-based steam and electromagnetic catapults. A third J-15 variant, the J-15D, is a two-seat aircraft equipped with wingtip electronic support measures/electronic intelligence gathering pods as well as several conformal antennas. The aircraft is intended to fill a dedicated electronic attack role. China is also developing a carrier capable variant of the fifth-generation J-31 fighter.”

All told, the report concludes that the PLAN is working toward deploying an operational carrier battle group in the next several years beyond the first island chain that doesn’t need the shore-based defenses of the rest of the PLA.

“The PLAN’s ability to perform missions beyond the First Island Chain is modest but growing as it gains more experience operating in distant waters and acquires larger and more advanced platforms,” reads the report.

2022 Pentagon Report on Chinese Military Development

The following is the Nov. 29, 2022, Pentagon’s report to Congress, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China. From the report The 2022 National Security Strategy identifies the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the only competitor with the intent and, increasingly, the capacity to reshape the international order. The Department of […]

The following is the Nov. 29, 2022, Pentagon’s report to Congress, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.

From the report

The 2022 National Security Strategy identifies the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the only competitor with the intent and, increasingly, the capacity to reshape the international order. The Department of Defense (DoD) annual report on military and security developments involving the PRC charts the current course of the PRC’s national, economic, and military strategy and offers Congress insight on the tenets of Beijing’s ambitions and intentions. The PRC’s strategy entails a determined effort to amass and harness all elements of its national power to place the PRC in a “leading position” in an enduring competition between systems. As expressed in the 2022 National Defense Strategy, the PRC presents the most consequential and systemic challenge to U.S. national security and the free and open international system.

In this decisive decade, it is important to understand the contours of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) way of war, survey its current activities and capabilities, and assess its future military modernization goals. In 2021, the PRC increasingly turned to the PLA as an instrument of statecraft as it adopted more coercive and aggressive actions in the Indo-Pacific region. Having purportedly achieved its 2020 modernization goal, the PLA now sets its sights to 2027 with a goal to accelerate the integrated development of mechanization, informatization, and intelligentization of the PRC’s armed forces. If realized, this 2027 objective could give the PLA capabilities to be a more credible military tool for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to wield as it pursues Taiwan unification.

In addition to the development of the PLA’s conventional capabilities, the PRC has continued to accelerate the modernization, diversification, and expansion of its nuclear forces. The PRC has stated its ambition to strengthen its “strategic deterrent,” while being reluctant to discuss the PLA’s developing nuclear, space, and cyberspace capabilities, negatively impacting global strategic stability—an area of increasing global concern.

As the PRC seeks to achieve “national rejuvenation” by its centenary in 2049, this report highlights Beijing’s ambition to reform the prevailing international rules-based system. This objective requires an external environment supportive of the PRC’s strategic goals defined under the concept of a “community of common destiny,” led by Xi Jinping’s initiatives such as the Global Security Initiative and the Global Development Initiative.

This report illustrates how the CCP increasingly turns to the PLA in support of its global ambitions, and the importance of meeting the pacing challenge presented by the PRC’s increasingly capable military.

Report Scope: This report covers security and military developments involving the PRC until the end of 2021.

Download the document here.

Japan Considering Buying Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles as ‘Counterstrike’ Capability, Say Reports

The Japanese government is considering buying Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles from the United States to establish a “counterstrike” capability to deter enemy missile attacks, according to domestic press reports. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces could deploy Tomahawks faster than its own domestically produced long-range cruise missiles, according to public broadcaster NHK. The Japanese Ministry of Defense […]

USS Monterey (CG 61) fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 13, 2018 against land targets in Syria. US Navy Photo

The Japanese government is considering buying Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles from the United States to establish a “counterstrike” capability to deter enemy missile attacks, according to domestic press reports.
The Japanese Self-Defense Forces could deploy Tomahawks faster than its own domestically produced long-range cruise missiles, according to public broadcaster NHK.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense is currently in the process of extending the range of the domestically made Type 12 surface-to-ship missiles deployed by the Ground Self-Defense Force, from the current 125 miles to a maximum range of 750 miles. However, the enhanced Type 12 SSM will not be ready until 2026 — too late to respond to the expanded threats from China and North Korea. The MoD is considering deploying Tomahawks from the land, sea and air as well as considering submarines as a launch platform, according to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

At present, it is unclear which variant of the Tomahawk cruise missile the Japanese government may introduce: Block IV, which is currently in operation by the U.S. Navy and others, or the Block V, which was delivered in 2021.

Although the Type 12 SSM will have its range extended, its original purpose is to attack ships. The introduction of the Tomahawk, a mainly land-attack cruise missile, would allow Japanese forces to attack enemy bases and other targets overseas, which could be controversial given Japan’s self-defense military policies. The Japanese government is currently planning to revise its National Security Strategy, National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program by the end of 2022. The introduction of long-range cruise missiles, including Tomahawk, is expected to be specifically described in these documents.

Buying Tomahawks is linked to the cancellation of Japan’s domestic Aegis Ashore BMD program in 2020. Originally, Japan’s stance was to respond to the threat of ballistic missiles from North Korea with its own domestic ballistic missile defense interceptors. The cancelation of the program pushed Japan to look to other means of deterrence.

However, then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe questioned the interception model during a press conference on Aug. 28, 2020.

“We will examine whether we can truly protect the lives of the people only by improving interception capabilities,” Abe said.

This statement is believed to indicate his willingness to pursue the possession of some kind of offensive capability. In response to the significant progress in the technological level of North Korea’s ballistic missile development, the Japanese government has been studying ways to enhance deterrence. The Tomahawk would give the Japanese government a counterstrike capability against enemy missile attacks.

“In order to protect the lives and livelihood of our citizens, we will examine all options, including a so-called enemy base strike capability, in a realistic manner without ruling out any options,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the Diet on Dec. 6.
“We will fundamentally strengthen our defense capabilities with an accelerated pace.”

Tomahawk Block IV has a longer range than its predecessors (well in excess of 1,000 miles), can be directed at a new target in mid-flight, and can also beam back images of the battlefield to its launch platform. The Royal Navy is the only foreign user of the missile to date.

According to Raytheon, U.S. and allied militaries have flight-tested the GPS-enabled Tomahawk 550 times and used it in combat more than 2,300 times. Its most recent use came in 2018, when U.S. Navy warships and submarines launched 66 Tomahawk missiles at Syrian chemical weapon facilities.

All Tomahawk Block IVs are being upgraded to Block V with longer range and dynamic targeting with the capability to hit vessels at sea (maritime strike role). Raytheon is recertifying and modernizing the missile, extending its service life by 15 years.

A version of this post originally appeared on Naval News. It’s been republished here with permission.

USS George H.W. Bush Operates with French, Italian Carriers in the Ionian Sea

U.S., French and Italian aircraft carriers operated together near Italy, the Navy announced on Wednesday. USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) joined with Italian carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550) and the French carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) for unspecified exercises in the Ionian Sea a week after the Pentagon announced five allied carriers would operate in […]

From top clockwise ITS Cavour (CVH 550), FS Charles de Gaulle (R91), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)

U.S., French and Italian aircraft carriers operated together near Italy, the Navy announced on Wednesday.

USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) joined with Italian carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550) and the French carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) for unspecified exercises in the Ionian Sea a week after the Pentagon announced five allied carriers would operate in Europe.

“We are stronger when we work together, and operations like these highlight not only our interoperability, but our interchangeability with our partner and allies,” Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10 said in a statement.

Bush, its escorts and the embarked Carrier Air Wing 7 have been operating in the Mediterranean Sea since August. Prior to Bush’s arrival to the region, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), its escorts and CVW-1 had been in the Mediterranean Sea since December ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Both carriers have exercised with Charles de Gaulle and Cavour going in and out of NATO command while flying presence missions along NATO’s eastern front and have been operating mainly around Italy.

Charles de Gaulle left its homeport of Toulon last week for Mission Antares which will see the carrier and its airwing deploy to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean with about 3,000 sailors, according to the French Navy.

“The CSG demonstrates France’s ability to intervene by controlling any escalation The sea and air operations of the carrier strike group are coordinated with the allies,” reads a statement from the French MoD.

Its escorts include ships from France, the U.S. and Greece but the French Navy did not specify the specific ships.

Ship spotters identified U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG-80), Hellenic Navy Elli-class frigate Adrias (F459), Italian Navy FREMM frigate Virginio Fasan (F591) and French Navy FREMM DA frigate Alsace (D656) departing with the carrier, according to Naval News.

Not included in the exercise, the U.K. carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) is operating in the Atlantic taking over for missions that were earmarked for the now side-lined HMS Prince of Wales (R09).

Pentagon leaders highlighted the several NATO carriers underway last week.

“These operations present an opportunity for allied nations to coordinate critical combat power throughout the Euro-Atlantic area while showcasing NATO cohesion and interoperability,” Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters Thursday.

The five NATO carriers in Europe will be soon down to four. Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) which has operated in the Atlantic since leaving Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Oct. 4, is set to return to the U.S. on Saturday, U.S. 2nd Fleet announced.

Defense Primer: Naval Forces

The following is the Nov. 15, 2022, Congressional Research Service, Defense Primer: Naval Forces. From the report “Naval Forces” Refers to Both the Navy and Marine Corps Although the term naval forces is often used to refer specifically to Navy forces, it more properly refers to both Navy and Marine Corps forces, because both the […]

The following is the Nov. 15, 2022, Congressional Research Service, Defense Primer: Naval Forces.

From the report

“Naval Forces” Refers to Both the Navy and Marine Corps

Although the term naval forces is often used to refer specifically to Navy forces, it more properly refers to both Navy and Marine Corps forces, because both the Navy and Marine Corps are naval services. For further discussion, see CRS In Focus IF10484, Defense Primer: Department of the Navy, by Ronald O’Rourke. For a discussion of the Marine Corps that focuses on its organization as a ground-combat force, see CRS In Focus IF10571, Defense Primer: Organization of U.S. Ground Forces, by Barbara Salazar Torreon and Andrew Feickert.

U.S. Strategy and Naval Forces

U.S. naval forces give the United States the ability to convert the world’s oceans—a global commons that covers more than two-thirds of the planet’s surface—into a medium of maneuver and operations for projecting U.S. power ashore and otherwise defending U.S. interests around the world. The ability to use the world’s oceans in this manner—and to deny other countries the use of the world’s oceans for taking actions against U.S. interests—constitutes an immense asymmetric advantage for the United States.

As discussed elsewhere (see CRS In Focus IF10485, Defense Primer: Geography, Strategy, and U.S. Force Design, by Ronald O’Rourke), the size and composition of U.S. naval forces reflect the position of the United States as a Western Hemisphere power with a goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons (and otherwise defending and promoting U.S. interests) in Eurasia. As a result, the U.S. Navy includes significant numbers of aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered attack submarines, large surface combatants, large amphibious ships, and underway replenishment ships.

Navy Ship Types

The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) are dedicated to performing a singular mission of strategic nuclear deterrence. The Navy’s other ships, which are sometimes referred to as the Navy’s general-purpose ships, are generally multimission ships capable of performing a variety of missions other than strategic nuclear deterrence. The principal types of general-purpose ships in the Navy include attack submarines (SSNs); aircraft carriers (CVNs); large surface combatants, meaning cruisers (CGs) and destroyers (DDGs); small surface combatants, meaning frigates (FFGs), Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), mine warfare (MIW) ships, and patrol craft (PCs); amphibious ships, whose primary function is to transport Marines and their equipment and supplies to distant operating areas and support Marine ship-to-shore movements and Marine operations ashore; combat logistics force (CLF) ships, which perform underway replenishment (UNREP) operations, meaning the at-sea resupply of combat ships; and other support ships of various types.

The Navy’s aircraft carriers embark multimission carrier air wings (CVWs) consisting of 60+ aircraft—mostly fixed-wing aircraft, plus a few helicopters. Each CVW typically includes 40 or more strike fighters that are capable of air-to-ground (strike) and air-to-air (fighter) combat operations.

Size of the Navy

The total number of ships in the Navy is a one-dimensional metric that leaves out many other important factors bearing on the Navy’s size and capabilities. Even so, observers often cite the total number of ships in the U.S. Navy as a convenient way of summarizing the Navy’s size and capabilities.

The quoted number of ships in the Navy reflects the battle force ships counting method, which is a set of rules for which ships count (or do not count) toward the quoted number of ships in the Navy. The battle force ships counting method was established in the early 1980s and has been modified by subsequent legislation. Essentially, it includes ships that are readily deployable overseas, and which contribute to the Navy’s overseas combat capability. The Naval History and Heritage Command maintains a database on numbers of ships in the Navy from 1886 to the present. (It is available here: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/us-ship-force-levels.html.) Since this database extends back to 1886, it uses a different counting method that is more suitable for working with older historical data. This alternate counting method, however, produces, for the 1980s onwards, figures for the total size of the Navy that are different than the figures produced by the battle force ships counting method. For this reason, using figures from the NHHC database to quote the current size of the Navy can cause confusion.

Download the document here.

South Korea Reveals New Unmanned ‘Navy Sea GHOST’ Concept

During a ceremony that marked the 77th anniversary of its founding on Nov. 11, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy revealed a new operational concept combining manned and unmanned systems. Dubbed the “Navy Sea GHOST” in Korean and “Guardian Harmonized with Operating manned Systems and Technology based unmanned systems” in English, ROK Navy Chief of […]

Hanwha Systems image

During a ceremony that marked the 77th anniversary of its founding on Nov. 11, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy revealed a new operational concept combining manned and unmanned systems.

Dubbed the “Navy Sea GHOST” in Korean and “Guardian Harmonized with Operating manned Systems and Technology based unmanned systems” in English, ROK Navy Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Lee Jong-ho introduced the new concept.

“The Navy Sea GHOST concept revealed today, which is based on manned and unmanned artificial intelligence technology, is a ‘game changer’ that will dominate the future battle space. We will devote our efforts and resources into [realizing this vision] and creating a strong and powerful navy,” Lee said.

As part of the “National Defense Revolution 4.0” proposed by the Ministry of National Defense, the Navy Sea GHOST concept envisions a lean and mobile force that involves close cooperation between manned and unmanned systems. Under the concept, the ROK Navy will acquire advanced artificial intelligence technology and several unmanned systems. It’s also planning to strengthen its datalink capabilities to secure communications between different assets.

ROK Navy Image

The Navy Sea GHOST concept is a culmination of over two years of research. In February 2018, the ROK Navy formed a task force to research seven different areas related to the operation of unmanned systems. The ROK Navy also announced the formation of an unmanned fleet, NavalNews reported last month.

The ROK Navy will focus on acquiring various unmanned systems first, including unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), unmanned surface vehicles (USV), and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Unlike the anti-submarine warfare unmanned underwater vehicle currently in development, which focuses on surveillance, the ROK Navy said the new UUVs will be able to fulfill combat roles. The new USVs will conduct surveillance, while the UAVs will be capable of operating from ships, performing a variety of tasks. These assets will initially be remotely controlled, but the ROK Navy hopes to make them semi-autonomous in the near future and fully autonomous in the long term.

Sea Ghost concept in Anti Submarine Warfare. Hanwha Systems image

Meanwhile, the ROK Navy will test the underwater autonomous mine surveillance system and neutralization system, currently in development by LIG Nex1 and Hanwha Systems respectively, on ROKS Sohae, a Yangyang-class minesweeper by 2027.

Of particular note is the concept image revealed during the ceremony. The image appears to show a new ship that is very different from any vessel currently operated by the ROK Navy or designs for future ships released so far.

The image likely depicts a new design for the KDDX, given that it’s the only surface vessel program for which the design has not been finalized. The ROK Navy considers any information about KDDX highly sensitive, with several employees of Hyundai Heavy Industries brought to court for taking photos of blueprints. Also on display during the ceremony was the MDV-II, an unmanned mine neutralization system, the Austrian-made S-100 UAV, and a remotely operated vehicle.

A version of this post originally appeared on Naval News. It’s been republished here with permission.

Report to Congress on Chinese Naval Modernization

The following is the Nov. 10, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress. From the report China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is the top focus of U.S. defense planning and budgeting. China’s naval modernization effort has been underway for […]

The following is the Nov. 10, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is the top focus of U.S. defense planning and budgeting. China’s naval modernization effort has been underway for more than 25 years, since the early to mid-1990s, and has transformed China’s navy into a much more modern and capable force. China’s navy is a formidable military force within China’s near-seas region, and it is conducting a growing number of operations in the broader waters of the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and waters around Europe.

China’s navy is, by far, the largest of any country in East Asia, and sometime between 2015 and 2020 it surpassed the U.S. Navy in numbers of battle force ships (meaning the types of ships that count toward the quoted size of the U.S. Navy). DOD states that China’s navy “is the largest navy in the world with a battle force of approximately 355 platforms, including major surface combatants, submarines, aircraft carriers, ocean-going amphibious ships, mine warfare ships, and fleet auxiliaries. This figure does not include 85 patrol combatants and craft that carry anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs). The… overall battle force [of China’s navy] is expected to grow to 420 ships by 2025 and 460 ships by 2030.” The U.S. Navy, by comparison, included 294 battle force ships at the end of FY2021, and the Navy’s FY2023 budget submission projects that the Navy will include 290 or 291 battle force ships by the end of FY2030. U.S. military officials and other observers are expressing concern or alarm regarding the pace of China’s naval shipbuilding effort and resulting trend lines regarding the relative sizes and capabilities of China’s navy and the U.S. Navy.

China’s naval modernization effort encompasses a wide array of ship, aircraft, weapon, and C4ISR (command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) acquisition programs, as well as improvements in logistics, doctrine, personnel quality, education and training, and exercises. China’s navy has currently has certain limitations and weaknesses, which it is working to overcome.

China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is assessed as being aimed at developing capabilities for, among other things, addressing the situation with Taiwan militarily, if need be; achieving a greater degree of control or domination over China’s near-seas region, particularly the South China Sea; defending China’s commercial sea lines of communication (SLOCs), particularly those linking China to the Persian Gulf; displacing U.S. influence in the Western Pacific; and asserting China’s status as the leading regional power and a major world power. Observers believe China wants its navy to be capable of acting as part of an anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) force—a force that can deter U.S. intervention in a conflict in China’s near-seas region over Taiwan or some other issue, or failing that, delay the arrival or reduce the effectiveness of intervening U.S. forces.

The U.S. Navy has taken a number of actions to counter China’s naval modernization effort. Among other things, the U.S. Navy has shifted a greater percentage of its fleet to the Pacific; assigned its most-capable new ships and aircraft to the Pacific; maintained or increased general presence operations, training and developmental exercises, and engagement and cooperation with allied and other navies in the Indo-Pacific; increased the planned future size of the Navy; initiated, increased, or accelerated numerous programs for developing new military technologies and acquiring new ships, aircraft, unmanned vehicles, and weapons; developed new operational concepts for countering Chinese maritime A2/AD forces; and signaled that the Navy in coming years will shift to a more-distributed fleet architecture that will feature a substantially greater use of unmanned vehicles. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Biden Administration’s proposed U.S. Navy plans, budgets, and programs for responding to China’s naval modernization effort.

Download the document here.

USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Nov. 14, 2022

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Nov. 14, 2022, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship. Ships Underway Total Battle […]

USNI News Graphic

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Nov. 14, 2022, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.

Ships Underway

Total Battle Force Deployed Underway
292
(USS 236, USNS 56)
105
(USS 69, USNS 36)
 63
(51 Deployed, 12 Local)

Ships Deployed by Fleet

2nd Fleet 3rd Fleet 4th Fleet 5th Fleet 6th Fleet 7th Fleet Total
5 3 2 13 26 56 105

In the Philippine Sea

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Christopher Strasser, from Sussex, Wisconsin, verifies the weight of an F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to the ‘Royal Maces’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27, in preparation for launch on the flight deck of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), in the Philippine Sea on Nov. 13, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is underway in the Philippine Sea. Last week, the strike group participated in the start of Exercise Malabar 2022. The exercise includes aircraft and personnel from Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S. in the Philippine Sea, off the coast of Japan, according to the Navy. Japan is this year’s exercise lead.

Malabar started in 1992 with the United States and India, but now Japan and Australia also participate.

“This is the third time that all four nations have participated in Malabar to advance the collective planning, integration and employment of advanced warfare tactics between participating nations,” the Navy said in a news release.
“This year’s at-sea exercise includes a variety of high-end tactical training events, submarine integration, anti-submarine warfare training, air defense exercises, multinational replenishment-at-sea operations, communications drills, joint warfighting planning scenarios, gunnery exercise, and maritime interdiction operations.”

For the U.S. contingent, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), CSG 5, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) and guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG-69) joined for the drills.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force assets that joined for Malabar are JS Hyuga (DDH-181), JS Shiranui (DD-120),JS Takanami (DD-115), JS Oumi (AOE 426) and a P-1 aircraft.

A Shivalik-class FFG, a Kamorta-Class Corvette, a P-8I aircraft, and Marine Commandos (MARCOS) personnel are taking part in Malabar for the Indian Navy.

Submarine HMAS Farncomb (SSG-74), frigate HMAS Arunta (FFH 151), replenishment oiler HMAS Stalwart (A304), in addition to a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, are participating on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy.

Carrier Strike Group 5

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), steams in formation with a submarine from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) during Exercise Malabar 2022, in the Philippine Sea, Nov. 11, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.

Carrier Air Wing 5

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to the ‘Royal Maces’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27, launches from the flight deck of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), in the Philippine Sea, Nov. 12, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, is embarked aboard Ronald Reagan and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Royal Maces” of VFA-27 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
  • The “Diamondbacks” of VFA-102 from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Eagles” of VFA-115 from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Dambusters” of VFA-195 from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Shadowhawks” of VAQ-141 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Tiger Tails” of VAW-125 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Providers” of VRC-30 – Detachment 5 – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from MCAS Iwakuni.
  • The “Golden Falcons” of HSC-12 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan.
  • The “Saberhawks” of HSM-77 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Facility Atsugi.

Cruisers

USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) steams in formation with Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Stalwart (A304), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) vessel JS Shiranui (DDG-120) and guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG-69) during Exercise Malabar 2022, in the Philippine Sea on Nov. 11, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.

Destroyer Squadron 15

USS Milius (DDG-69), front, steams in formation with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ship, JS Takanami (DDG-110), Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ship HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) and Indian Navy ship INS Kamorta (P 28) during Exercise Malabar 2022, in the Philippine Sea on Nov. 11, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 15 is based in Yokosuka, Japan, and is embarked on the carrier. Destroyers from Destroyer Squadron 15 are also assigned to the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.

  • USS Milius (DDG-69), homeported in Yokosuka.

In the Tasman Sea

USS Tripoli (LHA-7) is moored pier-side in Hobart, Tasmania for a port visit Nov. 11, 2022. US Navy Photo

Amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) made a port call to Hobart, Tasmania last week – arriving there Wednesday and departing on Sunday, according to local reports. The ship is expected to transit home and return to San Diego, Calif.

Tripoli departed Naval Station San Diego, Calif., for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific on May 2. For the first half of its deployment, Tripoli had been operating under the “lightning carrier” or “assault carrier” concept, in which it had more than a dozen F-35Bs aboard during its Pacific deployment. Tripoli then transitioned to an amphibious ready force with the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 (Reinforced) embarked.

In Sasebo, Japan

Capt. David Adams, Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS), renders a salute during the opening ceremony of Exercise Keen Sword 2023 at CFAS on Nov. 9, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

USS America (LHA-6) remains in its homeport in Sasebo, Japan

In the Adriatic Sea

Lt. Sarah Huston, assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), delivers remarks during a media availability aboard the ship, Nov. 7, 2022. US Navy Photo

The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group remains on station in the Adriatic Sea.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG 2) is operating in the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Sciretta, who assumed command of the group on July 1, is embarked aboard Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98) as SNMG 2’s flagship.

Carrier Strike Group 10

Aviation Ordnanceman 2rd Class Kolton Pang, from Hilo, Hawaii, assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), moves supplies during a replenishment-at-sea with the supply-class fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE-8) on Nov. 12, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Carrier
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Carrier Air Wing 7

An F/A18F Super Hornet aircraft, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, lands aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) Nov. 11, 2022. US Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, based on Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., is embarked on Bush and includes:

  • The “Pukin’ Dogs” of VFA-143 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) flying F/A-18Es from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103 – F/A-18F – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Sidewinders” of VFA-86 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Knighthawks” of VFA-136 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Lemoore.
  • The “Patriots” of VAQ-140 – EA-18G – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Bluetails” of VAW-121 – E-2D – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Rawhides” of VRC-40 – Detachment – C-2A – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Nightdippers” of HSC-5 – MH-60S – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Grandmasters” of HSM-46 – MH-60R – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

Cruiser

Operations Specialist Seaman Mark Payoen, assigned to the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55), stands watch on the bridge on Nov. 12, 2022. US Navy Photo

USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

Destroyer Squadron 26

Seaman Recruit Akwasi Boakye, assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG-99), carries the forecastle jack-staff, Nov. 11, 2022. US Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 26 is based in Norfolk and is embarked on the carrier. The following ships deployed with the strike group.

  • USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
  • USS Truxtun (DDG-103), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.
  • USS Farragut (DDG-99), homeported at Naval Station Mayport.
  • USS Nitze (DDG-94), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

In Portsmouth, U.K.

A Royal Canadian Air Force crew member prepares a Royal Canadian Navy Cyclone Helicopter, attached to the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH-336), for landing on USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) on Nov. 11, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

According to ship spotters, the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is at anchor in the Solent – the strait between England and the Isle of Wight – ahead of a port call in Portsmouth, U.K.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) left Naval Station Norfolk, Va,. on Oct. 4, 2022, and will operate throughout the Atlantic, exercise with allies and partners and operationally employ the carrier air wing for the first time.

Ford features 23 new technologies, including the Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), the Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), the Dual-Band Radar, Advanced Weapons Elevators (AWE) and the new A1B nuclear reactor design.

Carrier Strike Group 12



Carrier

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

Carrier Air Wing 8

A sailor assigned to the ‘Ragin’ Bulls’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37, conducts a post-flight inspection on an F/A-18E Super Hornet on first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) flight deck on Nov. 12, 2022. US Navy Photo

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, based on Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., is embarked on Ford and includes nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) flying F/A-18Es from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Ragin’ Bulls” of VFA-37 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Black Lions” of VFA-213 – F/A-18F – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Tomcatters” of VFA-31 – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
  • The “Gray Wolves” of VAQ-142 – EA-18G – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Bear Aces” of VAW-124 – E-2D – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Rawhides” of VRC-40 – Detachment – C-2A – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Tridents” of HSC-9 – MH-60S – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
  • The “Spartans” of HSM-70 – MH-60R – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

Cruiser

Fire Controlman 3rd Class Tyler Melton participates in a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile exercise on the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60) during the training exercise Silent Wolverine while underway as part of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, Nov. 10, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

USS Normandy (CG-60), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

Destroyer Squadron 2

USS McFaul (DDG-74) sails in Ponta Delgalda, Azores as part of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, on Nov. 4, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

Destroyer Squadron 26 is based in Norfolk and is embarked on the carrier. The following ships deployed with the strike group.

  • USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
  • USS Ramage (DDG-61), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.
  • USS McFaul (DDG-74), homeported at Naval Station Mayport.
  • USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) homeported in North Charleston, SC.

The CSG also includes fleet logistics ships USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE-5) and USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO-188).

In the Middle Pacific 

USS Makin Island (LHD-8) departs for deployment on Nov. 9, 2022. US Navy Photo

Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8), the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, left Naval Base San Diego on Wednesday for a deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. The Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked includes Makin Island and amphibious transport docks USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) and USS Anchorage (LPD-23). Makin Island and John P. Murtha left San Diego on Wednesday, while Anchorage left on Tuesday, Nov. 8, reported USNI News.

The ARG/MEU includes the aviation combat element with the “Flying Leathernecks” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 flying F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and the “Ugly Angels” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 362 (Reinforced) flying MV-22B Ospreys; the logistics combat element made up of Combat Logistics Battalion 13; and the ground combat element with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines.

In addition to these major formations, not shown are others serving in submarines, individual surface ships, aircraft squadrons, SEALs, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces, Seabees, Coast Guard cutters, EOD Mobile Units and more serving throughout the globe.

DDG(X) Destroyer Could Cost Up to $3.4B a Hull, SSN(X) Attack Boat Up to $7.2B, Says CBO Report

The Navy’s next-generation guided-missile destroyer could cost up to $3.4 billion a ship, while its next-generation SSN(X) attack boat could cost up to $7.2 billion – figures that are billions over the service’s own estimates, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s annual analysis of the Navy’s long-range shipbuilding plan. The procurement of both SSN(X) and […]

Notional Navy DDG(X) hull design. PEO Ships Image

The Navy’s next-generation guided-missile destroyer could cost up to $3.4 billion a ship, while its next-generation SSN(X) attack boat could cost up to $7.2 billion – figures that are billions over the service’s own estimates, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s annual analysis of the Navy’s long-range shipbuilding plan.

The procurement of both SSN(X) and DDG(X) comes as the Navy faces several years of flat budgets heading into the into the 2030s and as several major procurement programs compete for money within the service and with the priorities of the Office of Secretary of Defense. OSD took a more active role in crafting the Navy’s congressionally mandated Fiscal Year 2023 shipbuilding plan.

Instead of providing a single 30-year outlook for the Navy’s shipbuilding plan, the service instead issued three separate plants for FY 2023.

The Navy crafted a low-end and high-end plan based on two separate funding profiles – Alternative 1 and Alternative 3. The Pentagon’s office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation crafted a third profile – Alternative 2 – that emphasized building attack submarines and the Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine, several congressional and defense officials told USNI News.

In all the estimates, CBO found that the Navy underestimated the cost of its shipbuilding plans by $4 to $5 billion annually over the 30-year life of the proposals.

“The Navy’s cost estimates are, $689 billion for Alternative 1, $696 billion for Alternative 2, and $763 billion for Alternative 3 (or, over 30 years, an average of $23.0 billion, $23.2 billion, and $25.4 billion per year, respectively),” reads the report.
“CBO estimates that buying only the new ships specified in the Navy’s 2023 plan would cost $795 billion under Alternative 1, $834 billion under Alternative 2, and $881 billion under Alternative 3 (or, over 30 years, an average of $26.5 billion, $27.8 billion, and $29.4 billion per year, respectively—all in 2022 dollars).”

CBO Graphic

Part of the price difference is based on the Navy’s planned cost of the new destroyer and attack boat programs – which CBO estimates is too low.

According to the analysis, the DDG(X) program could cost from $3.1 to $3.4 billion based on increasing the size from the existing Arleigh Burke-class Flight III (DDG-51) guided-missile destroyers.

“The new DDG(X)’s combat capabilities would be equivalent or superior to those of the DDG-51 Flight III; it would also have a larger hull, substantially more power, more stealth characteristics, and a greater capacity to accommodate the installation of new weapon systems and other capabilities in the future,” reads the report.

“The Navy has indicated that the initial design prescribes a displacement of 13,500 tons. If that is the case, then the Navy’s estimates imply that the DDG(X) would cost 10 percent more than the DDG-51 Flight III but would have a full-load displacement that is 40 percent greater.”

The Navy estimates the cost at $2.1 to $2.4 billion and the service “contends that the case of the DDG(X) will differ from that of the DDG-1000 because the former ship would have a combat system and radar substantially similar to those of the DDG-51 Flight III and would only require designing a new hull and power system,” reads the report.

Estimated surface warships and attack submarine inventory based on the Navy’s three plans in its shipbuilding outlook. CBO Image

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday earlier this year compared the evolution of the DDG(X) from the Flight III DDG-51s to how the Navy transitioned from the Ticonderoga-class to the original Flight I DDG-51.

“Our intent for DDG(X) would be much the same, that we would use a proven combat system on that ship. But we need a ship that has more space and allows for more weight and for capability growth over time. An example might be hypersonic missiles, just based on the size of those missiles. We couldn’t fit those in a current Arleigh Burke, or even a Flight III. [DDG(X) is] a deeper ship, if you will, from that standpoint,” he said in September.

The CBO report cited cost growth in other shipbuilding programs as a counter to the Navy’s position that keeping existing systems will cut costs.

“Such an outcome, however, seems unlikely on the basis of the history of building new surface combatants. For example, in the 2000s, the Navy estimated that the [16,000-ton] Zumwalt class DDG-1000 guided missile destroyer would cost only slightly more than the [9,000-ton] DDG-51s that were then in production, even though the DDG-1000 was 50 percent larger than the DDG-51. Ultimately, costs for the DDG-1000 increased by about 45 percent,” reads the report.

In the submarine realm, CBO estimates that the service’s planned next-generation attack submarine (SSN(X)) could cost between $6.2 and $7.2 billion – well above the Navy’s $5.6 billion estimate.

The current Virginia-class boats cost about $2.8 billion per hull, while the Block Vs with the 80-foot Virginia Payload Module will cost about $3.2 billion.

“Estimating the costs of the SSN(X) is difficult because the Navy has not yet determined its capabilities or size. In the past, the Navy has indicated that, like the Seawolf class (SSN-21) submarine, the next-generation attack submarine should be faster, stealthier, and able to carry more torpedoes than Virginia class ships. The service has also indicated that it wants the SSN(X) to have vertical launch capability, an attribute of the Improved Los Angeles class submarine and the original Virginia class submarine,” reads the report.
“CBO’s cost estimates therefore reflect the assumption that the SSN(X) would be similar to a Seawolf class submarine but would have an entirely new design. The submarine’s advanced features would make it as quiet and stealthy as possible; it could launch missiles from missile cells and would contain a torpedo room the size of those on Seawolf class submarines.”

Seawolf-class attack boats can hold up to 50 torpedoes, USNI News understands.

“Virginia remains the most capable multi-mission submarine in the world, bar none,” Rear Adm. Doug Perry, the director of the undersea warfare division on the chief of naval operations staff (OPNAV N97), said last year. “But we must maintain our undersea advantage by investing for future capabilities. And we know we need to start that work today to make sure we can deliver SSN(X) in time of need, and without lots of technical or schedule risk.”