Longer Deployments In The Future?
We already had this discussion a couple of weeks ago, but here's a Navy Times article discussing submarine numbers over the next couple of decades and the likely effect on time spent at sea for Submariners. Excerpt:
Under the current 30-year procurement plan, the number of attack subs will fall below the required 48 boats in 2022 and will bottom out six years later at 41 boats. The shortfall will continue until 2034.For now, there seems to be no political will to justify increased SSN purchases above the current plan, but I could see budget pressures causing a slowdown in the projected buy rate of two per year starting in 2011. That could result in serious problems 25 years down the road.
“[The Navy] doesn’t have a lot of choice in this gap,” said one congressional analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity. “This is the result of decisions made in the past 20 years that are coming home to roost.”
The Navy plans to meet typical requirements with longer deployments and older boats. The service lives of 16 Los Angeles-class subs will be lengthened by as much as 24 months, and at least one month will be added to 40 deployments — about 25 percent of total deployments — over an eight-year period to provide the roughly 10 subs combatant commanders need on any given day. The typical attack sub deployment is six months; it was unclear when the longer deployments are expected to begin.