New Day Military Reporter
It looks like The New London Day has finally replaced Bob Hamilton with a new Defense reporter: Richard Rainey. He's got an article in today's paper (as always with The Day, annoying registration will be required after today) that looks at the trends for submarine numbers over the next decade. It looks like he's done his homework:
• In 10 years, the current fleet of 54 fast-attack submarines could shrink to 52.
• By 2010, the Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its submarine fleet –– 31 ships –– in the Pacific.
• By 2007, the USS Seawolf and the USS Connecticut, both Seawolf-class, will join the Navy's other Seawolf-class ship, the USS Jimmy Carter, in the Pacific northwest.
• The USS Albuquerque, a Los-Angeles class ship stationed in Groton, is scheduled to head to San Diego in 2008.
• U.S. Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, home to the other major submarine base on the East Coast, will lose two Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines around the same time. Twelve submarines, including the converted guided-missile-firing USS Georgia, are currently stationed there.
• Seven Los-Angeles class submarines will have surpassed the 33-year average lifespan by 2015, probably triggering their retirement. Two are scheduled to leave the fleet by 2010.
• General Dynamics' Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman's Newport News, Va., shipyards plan to build 13 new Virginia-class submarines by the end of 2015, according to the Navy's long-term shipbuilding plan.
"Efforts in Congress to speed up production of submarines ahead of schedule would translate to two more submarines being built by 2015, bringing the total of Virginia-class ships –– including the one already at sea –– to 16. It is an effort that officials have said would help bolster a case to keep the Groton base off future closure lists.
• Four Virginia-class submarines are now in the water or in some stage of production. The USS Virginia was launched in 2004. The Navy plans to commission the USS Texas –– which will be stationed in Groton –– in 2007. Construction of the USS Hawaii and USS North Carolina began in 2004, with commissioning planned for 2008 and 2009."
Nothing in the way of earth-shattering breaking news, but no really bad errors I could see, either. His dates and numbers for the Virginia class boats were wrong -- there are six named and under construction, including the New Hampshire (SSN 778) and New Mexico (SSN 779), and two more have been ordered, so they're being built as well. Also, while the keels were ceremonially laid for Hawaii and North Carolina in 2004, actual construction began years earlier -- I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and mark it up to a semantics issue. I'm sure he'll also eventually learn the difference between a submarine being "launched" (as USS Virginia was in 2003) and "commissioned", which happened to Virginia in 2004.. Still, it wasn't a bad first effort, and I look forward to seeing what else Rainey comes up with on the submarine front.