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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) since FY1998, and a total of 12 have been procured through FY2010. From FY2001 through FY2010, the boats were procured at a rate of one per year. Under Navy plans, the procurement rate was to increase to two boats per year starting in FY2011. The eight boats to be procured in the five-year period FY2009-FY2013 (boats 11 through 18, in annual quantities of 1- 1-2-2-2) are being procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement.

The Navy’s proposed FY2011 budget requested $3,441.5 million in procurement funding to complete the procurement cost of the 13
th and 14th Virginia-class boats. The FY2011 budget estimated the combined procurement cost of these two boats at $5,344.4 million, and the boats through FY2010 had received a total of $1,903.0 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) and Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2011 budget also requested $1,436.8 million in AP funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future years, and $254.4 million in Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) purchases of long-leadtime items for Virginia-class boats to be procured under the FY2009-FY2013 MYP arrangement.

Potential issues for Congress regarding the Virginia-class program include the following:
  • the potential impact of the FY2011 Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Extensions Act (H.R. 3082/P.L. 111-322)—sometimes called the FY2011 continuing resolution—on the Navy’s ability to execute the planned procurement of two Virginia-class boats in FY2011 under the terms of the FY2009-FY2013 Virginia-class MYP contract;
  • the Virginia-class procurement rate, particularly in the context of a debate over future U.S. defense spending; 
  • Virginia-class technology insertion; and 
  • the reliability of in-service Virginia-class boats.

Date of Report: January 21, 2011
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: RL32418
Price: $29.95

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