Navy 30-year shipbuilding plan could mean more carrier work for Hampton Roads

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Navy has sent its 30-year shipbuilding plan to Congress and one component could mean more work and stability for Newport News Shipbuilding.

The 30-Year Ship Acquisition Plan is required by Congress and covers the Navy's long-range shipbuilding plans for 2019-2048.

This year the plan includes what the Navy describes as a "roadmap" for increasing the size of the fleet to 355 ships by the early 2050s, though there is hope it could happen even sooner with "an aggressive investment of resources."

One component of the plan could give a big boost to the Hampton Roads economy. It calls for building nuclear powered aircraft carriers four years apart, instead of the current five year spacing.

The Navy says that would support increasing the nuclear carrier force to 12 ships, as opposed to the current 11.

Newport News Shipbuilding is the only place in the country that builds nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for the Navy.

The plan calls for switching to the four-year pace after CVN-82, a planned Ford-class carrier.

Currently CVN-79, the future USS John F. Kennedy, and CVN-80, the future USS Enterprise, are under construction in Newport News.

CVN-81 and CVN-82 have not yet been named.

According to the Navy, "the plan pursues acquisition strategies to build ships more quickly and affordably and places top priority on sustaining the industrial base now and for the future. Ultimately, the plan supports the Navy's overall effort to build the Navy the Nation Needs to protect the homeland, defend the interests of America and its allies abroad, and preserve America's strategic influence around the world."

Other elements of the 30-year plan include:

  • Building 12 Columbia-class SSBNs in support of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and STRATCOM deterrence requirements.
  • Establishing a stable profile of two per year Attack Submarines (SSN).
  • Establishing a stable profile of 2.5 per year Large Surface Combatants (DDG), plus an additional ship in FY2022.
  • Establishing a stable profile of two per year Small Surface Combatants (LCS, FFG) starting in FY2022, accommodating the transition to FFG(X).
  • Increasing the pace for amphibious ship production to support a 12-ship LHD/LHA force and modernized lethality in FY2033, FY2036 and FY2039.
  • Addresses the candidate long-term replacement for the NNN payload-based submarine, filled mid-term by Virginia Payload Module (VPM).

You can read the entire report submitted to Congress here.