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Thursday, June 20th, 2024

Senators push to preserve procurement levels for attack submarines

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A group of 14 U.S. senators recently called on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to maintain a two-per-year procurement of Virginia Class submarines for the sake of military dominance and industrial support.

Signatories to a letter on the matter included Democrats and Republicans alike, united in support of the attack submarine program.

“Cutting funding for the Virginia-Class program sends a terrible message to the submarine industrial base working vigorously to rebuild in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis,” the senators wrote. “Preserving a consistent production schedule is essential for shipyard and industrial base stability, and to meet the Navy’s operational requirements.”

They argued that attack submarine capabilities remain one of the nation’s most distinct security advantages, in the face of major advances and undersea activity from nations like Russia and China. However, at present, the President’s Budget Request for fiscal year 2025 included just one Virginia Class submarine – something the senators said flies in the face of an industry attempting to rebuild after COVID-19.

Since 2011, Congress has maintained a two-per-year build rate for the Virginia Class submarines. Despite this, the attack submarine fleet is expected to decline to 47 boats in 2030. Congress wants 66 ready for operation at that time.

“The Virginia Class submarine continues to be a critical asset for combatant commanders to deter our adversaries and sustain our asymmetric advantage in the undersea domain,” the senators wrote.

As a result, they asked the budget allotment be restored to its previous level.