With an average delay of 2 years, the US naval industry becomes the weak point of the US Navy

After two decades of visual navigation in a thick fog, the planning of the US naval industry takes on strategic aspects for the US Navy, particularly in the standoff which is emerging with a Chinese Navy in full expansion, and in full transformation.

The American naval industry is, of course, at the heart of this effort, while the Pentagon expects it to accelerate the delivery rates of certain key ships, such as the Arleigh Burke destroyers, the nuclear submarines of attack Virginia, and the Constellation frigates.

However, it is already struggling today to meet delivery schedules. To understand these issues, the Secretary of the Navy, Carlos des Toro, announced, in mid-January, that he had ordered writing a summary report, on the issues and difficulties encountered by US naval industrial programming, and gave a deadline of 45 days to write it.

It is this report which was presented at the beginning of the week to the Secretary of the Navy, and partly made public. The least we can say is that it does not invite serenity, in the present international context.

Major delays affect major US naval programs

Indeed, if certain programs, namely the Arleigh Burke class destroyers, the large amphibious ships of the America and San Antonio classes, and the oil supply tankers remain “on hold”, many others show very significant delays, too many will say a lot.

Constellation class
The Constellation class frigates should help strengthen the escort capabilities of the US Navy, particularly in the area of ​​anti-submarine warfare.

This is the case of tranches IV and V of the oh-so-sensitive Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines, particularly monitored with the SSN AUKUS program, which provides for the sale of 3 to 5 of them to Australia in the years to come. The Block IV ships are 36 months behind schedule, while the Block Vs are already 24 months behind the US Navy's schedule.

The new Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines, which are to replace the 12 Ohio-class SSBNs, are also suffering from problematic delays of 12 to 16 months, despite the highly strategic nature of this program.

The third nuclear aircraft carrier of the Gerald Ford class, the USS Enterprise, is also well behind schedule, by 18 to 26 months according to the report, while it must replace, in 2029, the USS Carl Vinson, who will then have the canonical age of 47 years of service.

Finally, the Constellation class of frigates, called upon to play a central role in the modernization of the American surface fleet, particularly in the area of ​​anti-submarine warfare, is behind schedule by a considerable 36 months.

A rare summary report in the United States ordered by Secretary of the Navy Carlos del Toro.

The US Navy report comes as a shock to many American players in this field. Indeed, if the delays of these programs were mentioned previously, notably during the drafting of the annual budget of the US Navy, it presents a worried, sometimes unflattering overall vision of what constitutes, however, one of the great pride of the American defense industry.

SECNAV Carlos del Toro.
The report ordered by Navy Secretary Carlos del Toro will certainly be a valuable negotiating tool with the US Congress.

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