Friday, February 16, 2007

Submarines...

The Navy has asked Congress to increase its budget for construction of new ships that were not included in the Pentagon's proposed Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget. But, as it has been in the past, the Navy is still not yet endorsing efforts to increase submarine production to two a year before the scheduled 2012 plan

This from Gov. magazine:

In particular, the service wants an additional $1.7 billion to buy another LPD-17 amphibious transport dock ship next year, a move that would fulfill their stated requirement of 10 ships.

The Pentagon's fiscal 2008 budget request includes money for the Navy's ninth LPD-17, but the service's six-year budget projections do not reveal any plans to seek funding for a 10th ship. The fleet has been built at Northrop Grumman Ship System's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and Avondale shipyard in New Orleans.

The Navy also would like another $1.2 billion to buy two more T-AKE dry cargo carriers, built by the San Diego-based National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. The FY08 budget proposal contains funding for only one, bringing the T-AKE fleet to 11 ships.

The Senate last summer balked at the Navy's fiscal 2007 request for funds for a single T-AKE ship, asserting that the Navy had yet to begin construction of five previously funded ships or spend $2.4 billion already appropriated by Congress. But in the end, House and Senate Defense appropriations conferees agreed to restore the money cut by the Senate.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2008, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pa., and House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee Chairman Gene Taylor, D-Miss., already have discussed adding five ships to the Navy's budget. But the two Democratic allies have spoken informally about boosting accounts for Virginia-class submarines and surface destroyers -- neither of which made the Navy's unfunded list.

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