The first Virginia class multi-mission nuclear fast attack sub took 86 months to build. The Navy’s most recent addition, the USS Mississippi, took 62 months to be completed even with added hardware and capabilities. That is over a year less than the 74 months that were predicted and budgeted for by the USN. All the while General Dynamics’ engineers and shipbuilders have also been able to enhance quality and combat readiness of the new stealthy subs. Hopefully the DoD will dig deep within a successful program like this and port any unique ideas, no matter how small, and talent over to other more troubled defense programs, as in the end quality leadership and innovative cost saving processes are our best chances of getting ourselves out of the budgetary and developmental death spiral we are currently in.
Great work General Dynamics, our sub force is absolutely key to America’s future ability to project power and ensure our freedom of movement on the high seas. I hope the DoD wises up and recognizes a great weapon system at a great value and ups the Navy’s “goal” of 48 boats going forward, one it will probably never sustain at current budgetary levels anyway. The Virginia class nuclear fast attack boat is truly the Navy’s nuclear powered submerged “Swiss Army Knife.” They can do so many things, from hunting other submarines and surface combatants, to intelligence gathering, to special forces delivery and extraction, to direct attack via their Tomahawk cruise missiles and more. Further, the nuclear submarine remains the most survivable military asset on the planet, which makes their unique capabilities totally indispensable as we turn our strategic focus on the vast expanses of the Pacific theater.