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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/23/2005 2:05:13 PM EDT
August 29, 2005

New attack sub carries Texas-size sticker shock

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The price tag of a new attack submarine being built at the Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard is on pace to cost taxpayers 24 percent more than originally expected.

Navy documents obtained by The (Newport News) Daily Press show that the cost of the Texas, the second Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, has risen to $2.71 billion — $520 million more than the original 1999 estimate of $2.19 billion.

The Texas, the first being delivered by the Newport News shipyard, is expected to be completed by May 2006. The completion date is two months later than the Navy’s estimate and 11 months past 1999 projections.

The most recent cost estimates have risen because of aggressive steps to boost performance and expand oversight of the project by the Navy.

A panel established by John Young, the Navy’s assistant secretary for acquisitions, recommended in June that General Dynamics Electric Boat, the shipyard’s partner on the program and the Navy’s prime contractor, stiffen its monitoring over the local yard.

While the shipyards have always highlighted an equal partnership since the inception of the Virginia class program, the panel recommended that Electric Boat take a more assertive lead.

The Navy has even sent its program manager for the Virginia class, Capt. John Heffron, to Newport News every other week to review costs and schedules.

“The Red Team perceived that General Dynamics Electric Boat was not exercising enough management attention over Northrop Grumman Newport News,” Capt. Tom Van Leunen, a spokesman for Young, said in a statement. “It is the prime contractor’s responsibility to exercise management control ... over all subcontractors.”

Newport News and Electric Boat are under contract to build the first 10 boats in the Virginia class — nuclear-powered submersibles designed as a replacement for the aging Los Angeles class of 50 attack submarines.

But rising costs have forced the Navy to cut back on plans to buy two more of the new subs per year.

The Virginia, first in the new class, got its final assembly at Electric Boat and was delivered last October.

Jerri Fuller Dickseski, Newport News shipyard spokeswoman, said ships like the Texas are often complex and can present “unanticipated challenges.” And, on the Texas, “we believe we have come through most of the challenges.”

Dickseski even said the yard has improved its performance to meet the May delivery date.

Still, the cost of designing and building the first four boats in the program — the Virginia, Texas, Hawaii and North Carolina — is now projected to cost $11 billion, 17 percent higher than 1999 projections.

Increased labor and material costs are being blamed for 88 percent of the overruns on the Virginia and Texas, according to the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm.

Initial contracts between the Navy and shipyards estimated the subs would take 42.7 million labor hours. But in February the GAO said hours to build the Texas have grown by 4 million, citing scheduling issues and unexpected overtime.

The expected profits to Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics on the Texas have eroded to contract minimums — on the Texas, the $120 million fee once expected has fallen to about $89 million.

Link Posted: 8/23/2005 2:08:26 PM EDT
Maybe Northrop-Grumman should offer "Family Pricing" discounts. It's working for GM, Ford and Daimlizzle-Chryslizzle.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 2:09:08 PM EDT
What are we getting, a replacement for the Seawolf already?
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 2:23:06 PM EDT
How about an answer for this Sand Crab you bubble chasers....


Originally Posted By CITADELGRAD87:
What are we getting, a replacement for the Seawolf already?

Link Posted: 8/23/2005 3:42:00 PM EDT
Money well spent....these subs are the backbone of our national defense.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 3:46:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By OHGUNNER:
Money well spent....these subs are the backbone of our national defense.



+1

Link Posted: 8/23/2005 3:54:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By OHGUNNER:
Money well spent....these subs are the backbone of our national defense.



I, in no way, shape, or form, am denying this
fact, but my question is: what nation retains
a blue water navy of sufficient size to justify
new attack boats?

I can see the argument to keep carriers and
their assorted battle group (including attack
boats) because they offer force projection.
However, attack boats were doing their best
when they were shadowing Soviet SSBNs
during the cold war.

I know that people will say China, but some
Russian cast off Kilos and DDGs a blue water
navy does not make.

Someone edjumacate my dumb ass.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 4:02:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KA3B:
How about an answer for this Sand Crab you bubble chasers....


Originally Posted By CITADELGRAD87:
What are we getting, a replacement for the Seawolf already?




Ummm yeah...

I though that seawolf was the next gen sub.

Then I googled this:
scholar.lib.vt.edu/VA-news/VA-Pilot/issues/1995/vp950621/06210517.htm

outstanding quote:

But the ships' high cost has made them controversial on Capitol Hill and has spurred the Navy and Electric Boat to begin work on a new class of attack subs slated to begin production in 1998. Those boats are envisioned as smaller and thus cheaper than the Seawolf subs.

The service and Electric Boat say construction of the third Seawolf is vital to keeping the sub builder in business until production of the new attack sub begins. The Navy wants Electric Boat to build at least the first few ships in the new class.

Newport News Shipbuilding, the nation's only other nuclear-capable shipbuilder, is making an aggressive bid for the new sub contracts. It has publicly challenged the Navy, its best customer, by asserting that it could save taxpayers up to $10 billion if allowed to compete for all 30 subs that ultimately will comprise the new class.

The House last week passed a defense spending plan that would eliminate the third Seawolf but provide for enhancements to the Connecticut and construction by Electric Boat of a ``technology demonstrator'' sub that could be a prototype for the new class. Newport News would be guaranteed the right to compete for subs to follow the prototype.



Geee look at how much money the ten year delay saved us
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 4:06:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/23/2005 4:07:38 PM EDT by happycynic]

Originally Posted By TheCynic:

Originally Posted By OHGUNNER:
Money well spent....these subs are the backbone of our national defense.



I, in no way, shape, or form, am denying this
fact, but my question is: what nation retains
a blue water navy of sufficient size to justify
new attack boats?

I can see the argument to keep carriers and
their assorted battle group (including attack
boats) because they offer force projection.
However, attack boats were doing their best
when they were shadowing Soviet SSBNs
during the cold war.

I know that people will say China, but some
Russian cast off Kilos and DDGs a blue water
navy does not make.

Someone edjumacate my dumb ass.



We need enough to sink China's invasion of Taiwan, provide escorts to CBGs, protect our coasts from SSBNs, escort out own SSBNs, insert special ops teams, launch cruise missiles, shadow "suspect" cargo ships, etc, etc . . . .
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 4:16:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TheCynic:
I, in no way, shape, or form, am denying this
fact, but my question is: what nation retains
a blue water navy of sufficient size to justify
new attack boats?



The last Los Angeles submarine came off the ways in 1996.
We have already decomissioned 11 LA class submarines.

The Seawolf class was the replacement for the LA class.

Both the LA and Seawolf class subs were designed and built with the cold war driving their design and mission.

The Virgina class subs are designed to take on the litoral as well as the deep water mission requirements of the US Navy.


The VIRGINA-Class Attack Submarine is designed for multi-mission operations and enhanced operational flexibility.

SEAWOLF-Class quieting has been incorporated in a smaller hull while military performance has been maintained or improved.

Compared with the Seawolf, the Virgina is slower, carries fewer weapons, and is less capable in diving depth and arctic operations.

On the other hand, the virgina is expected to be as quiet as the Seawolf, will incorporate a vertical launch system and have improved surveillance as well as special operations characteristics to enhance littoral warfare capability.

While the Los Angeles submarines are noisier than the improved Russian Akula class, the Seawolf is quieter than Akula and the upcoming Russian SSN-P-IX class.

The primary design driver for the Virgina is acoustic quietness equal to that of the Seawolf, even at the cost of reducing maximum top speed.

With a focus on the littoral battlespace, the Virgina Attack Submarine has improved magnetic stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and Special Warfare enhancements.

Link Posted: 8/23/2005 5:15:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KA3B:
The Virgina class subs are designed to take on the litoral as well as the deep water mission requirements of the US Navy.



This explains alot. Thanks for the info!
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 5:25:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TheCynic:

Originally Posted By KA3B:
The Virgina class subs are designed to take on the litoral as well as the deep water mission requirements of the US Navy.



This explains alot. Thanks for the info!



And as a cost cutting messure due to the Seawolfs price, the Virginia was, as origionally conceived, basically a 'diet' version of the Seawolf.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 5:31:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Armed_Scientist:

Originally Posted By TheCynic:

Originally Posted By KA3B:
The Virgina class subs are designed to take on the litoral as well as the deep water mission requirements of the US Navy.



This explains alot. Thanks for the info!



And as a cost cutting messure due to the Seawolfs price, the Virginia was, as origionally conceived, basically a 'diet' version of the Seawolf.



That is going to wind up costing more than the real deal...
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 6:16:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KA3B: Navy documents obtained by The (Newport News) Daily Press show that the cost of the Texas, the second Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, has risen to $2.71 billion — $520 million more than the original 1999 estimate of $2.19 billion.
Damn! It must be the cost of Union labor benefits. That thing better have gold-plated toilets!
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 9:39:22 AM EDT
Justified. The lack of oversight in building the LA SSN 688 almost resulting in scrapping the ship after the yard shortcuts were found. Things like tacking up complete welding rods on a pressure bulkhead and welding a cover over them.

Alot of this new development work is needed just to keep the expertise and facilities available. If the yards and the engineering folks are not building, the expertise will be lost. Building nuclear ships is not like riding a bike.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 11:24:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By OHGUNNER:
Money well spent....these subs are the backbone of our national defense.


Ditto, money well spent. Democracy is not cheap. When we need them, "we will need them in a hurry, and we need them now;" and we can't be waiting 2 years for them to build us one. Look at it this way, at the end of its 20 year life span, it will cost probably double to replace them.
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