We’ve all heard about the recent reports recommending that the Navy fleet size be increased from the current 296 ships (196 combat ships which are the carriers, cruisers, destroyers, subs, and amphibs) to 350-500 ships depending on which report you hear. The Navy is eager to get going on the expansion so the upcoming Navy shipbuilding budget must be crammed with ships, right?
Well, the proposed Senate budget provides funding for 9 ships, only 6 of which are combat fleet ships. The 6 combat ships are:
1x Virginia class submarine
1x Columbia class submarine
1x Constellation class frigate
1x LPD-17 amphibious ship
2x Burke class destroyers
The remaining 3 ships are:
2x T-ATS towing and salvage ships
1x Expeditionary Fast Transport
Assuming a service life of, say, 35 years for the combat ships, a build rate of 6 ships per year leads to a combat fleet of 210 ships. If we discount the Columbia submarine since it’s not really a combat ship except in a nuclear war, the remaining 5 combat ships lead to a 175 ship combat fleet.
That’s not exactly an explosion of shipbuilding and a sprint towards 350-500 ships, is it?