The Navy is All About Ships
Author: Guy Eastman, Senior Analyst, Jane’s by IHS Markit
With the signing of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill from Congress by President Trump on 23 March 2018, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 is now Public Law. This law provides full-year appropriations through 30 September 2018 for programs, projects and activities of the Federal Government.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2018 appropriates $23.824 billion for Navy shipbuilding - an increase of $3.421 billion or a whopping 16.8%.
Navy aims for 355-ship Fleet
President Trump and the Navy have a vision for a 355-ship Fleet by the early 2050s. Congress is supportive of this vision, demonstrated by the Navy’s Shipbuilding and Conversion procurement account in the FY18 act just signed. The President’s Budget Request (PBR) for FY18 on 23 May 2017 requested $20.403 billion to include eight new construction ships and conversions of four other smaller vessels.
This shipbuilding increase follows four successive increases in the Navy’s shipbuilding account for each fiscal year FY14 through FY17. These increases are definitely needed if the Navy is to realize its strategic goal of a 355-ship Fleet three decades from now. The Navy League’s global maritime exposition is held annually and well-attended by Fleet sailors, Navy leaders, member of Congress and the general public.
Here are some highlights of the FY18 Navy shipbuilding account just passed; the Act provides additional funds as indicated below:
- $450 million for an additional Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)
- $1,800 million for an LX(Replacement) ship – the first of a new class, replacing the Whidbey Island-class
- $635 million for another Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB)
- $225 million for another Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF)
- $180 million for a T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ship
- $312 million for five additional Ship-to-Shore Connectors (SSC), and
- $150 million of Advance Procurement (AP) funds for a Polar Icebreaker for the US Coast Guard
Other increases passed in the new FY18 Act include:
- $19 million for the Columbia-class SSBN (or Ohio Replacement Program) for foundry propeller center
- $225 million (AP) for industrial base expansion for the Virginia-class Submarine program
In February 2018, the Navy awarded a $7 million contract for the LX(Replacement) program to Ingalls Shipbuilding for acceleration and affordability initiatives. Additionally, in February the Navy made five $15 million awards for the new FFG(X) Guided Missile Frigate program, successor to the Littoral Combat Ship program. Each of the companies - Huntington Ingalls, Lockheed Martin, Austal USA, General Dynamics BIW and Fincantieri (from Italy) - are required to submit shipbuilding designs to the Navy over 16 months to solidify final ship specifications.”
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