Navy leaders now say it will be possible to build more Virginia-class attack submarines at a faster pace than currently planned as part of an aggressive move to address and counter Russian and Chinese submarine expansion.
In a special exclusive interview with Scout Warrior, former Navy Director of Undersea Warfare said the Navy and its industrial partners to have the ability to build 2 Virginia-class submarines per year once production of the Ohio Replacement Program nuclear-armed submarines begins in the 2020s.
The current status-quo effort to build two Virginia-Class boat per year, however, will drop to one as construction of the Ohio Replacement Program, or ORP, begins in the early 2020s.
Rear Adm. Charles Richard, prior Director of Undersea Warfare, said in an interview with Scout Warrior last year that the Navy has completed a special analysis of strategic imperatives and industrial base capacity on the issue which has been submitted to Congress for review.
"The new news here is that we have industrial base capacity to go to two Virginias as we go to Ohio. In our report (Navy officials specified this as an internal Navy report), we have an analytic underpinning that this is now a choice that is available to the nation," , said in the interview several months ago in 2016. "We are working very hard and how can we structure this so that it is something that we can go execute," Richard said.