The U.S. Navy’s submarine shortage may not be as bad as once thought, reports USNI News. A recent Navy report found that the service can continue adding a pair of Virginia-class attack submarines to its fleet each year while still incorporating the future Columbia-class ballistic missile attack subs.
The Navy has been under fire recently as many of its current ballistic missile attack subs — Ohio-class — are nearing retirement, creating a potential lack of deployment-ready submarines. The Columbia-class subs will eventually replace the Ohio-class, but they will not be ready for construction until 2021.
Originally, the Navy said it would have to build either two Virginia-class subs per year or one Virginia-class and one Columbia-class each, according to USNI News.
The report, however, found that building two Virginia-class subs per year, on top of one Columbia-class — once they are ready — is a “viable” option and would be highly beneficial for both the Navy and the industrial base.
“For the Navy to come back with a very strong report saying, yep, we don’t have to reduce Virginia-class in the Columbia-class years, to me that needle really moved in terms of the Navy’s confidence, public confidence, in having all these concurrent efforts stay on track and perform,” Rep. Joe Courtney told USNI News.