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    HomeMilitaryU.S. Navy's Strategic Shift: SSN(X) Submarine & F/A-XX Fighter Jet Projects Delayed

    U.S. Navy’s Strategic Shift: SSN(X) Submarine & F/A-XX Fighter Jet Projects Delayed

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    The U.S. Navy intends to reduce expenditures on various upcoming projects for Fiscal Year 2025. As per the announcement, the F/A-XX fighter jet concept and the SSN(X) attack submarine will take a backseat to prioritize present and imminent operations.

    Notably, the replacement for the Virginia-class attack submarine is rescheduled to be operational in the early 2040s, a delay of an entire decade from the initial timeline.

    In March, Navy Undersecretary Erik Raven addressed the service’s recent budget request, stating, “(The Navy’s) guidance directs us to take risks in future modernization when there are hard choices to be made. If you look at F/A-XX, or the other X [next-generation] programs, we knowingly took risk in the schedule for development of those programs in order to prioritize those key investments — whether that’s readiness, or investing in our people, or undersea, to make sure that we make those programs whole.”

    Although the Navy won’t give immediate priority to the SSN(X) in the coming years, it anticipates that once introduced, this next-generation submarine will lead the world in capability.

    The existence of the SSN(X) program was initially revealed by the service in 2014.

    These submarines will prioritize enhanced transit speed under heightened stealth conditions rather than pursuing multi-mission dominance in littoral environments.

    Additionally, they will be equipped with a wider range of weaponry and diverse payloads.

    The Navy’s statement outlines that the SSN(X) program aims to address the escalating challenge from near-peer adversaries in undersea operations.

    It will be designed with enhanced speed, expanded horizontal payload capacity, superior acoustic performance, and improved operational availability.

    The SSN(X) will conduct comprehensive undersea warfare, coordinating with a broader range of off-hull vehicles, sensors, and allied forces. It will maintain and enhance multi-mission capability while ensuring sustained combat presence in contested waters.

    USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), left, and the UAE navy corvette Al Hili (P176) transit the Arabian Gulf.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Since the late 1990s, the Navy has consistently acquired Virginia-class submarines at a pace of two vessels annually.

    USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), USNS Supply (T-AOE 6), and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) transit the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    These submarines represent the Navy’s inaugural use of advanced aids like CATIA, a comprehensive suite comprising 3D visualization technology, computer-aided engineering, computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing, and product lifecycle management.

    USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Benfold (DDG 65) train with Republic of Korea navy surface ships in the Philippine Sea.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The newest versions of the Virginia-class submarines, known as Block V, are incorporating the Virginia Payload Module and come with a price tag of approximately $4.3 billion each.

    Multiple aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 5 fly in over USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Renowned for their stealth, agility, and formidable firepower, these submarines have the capability to carry both nuclear and conventional weapons.

    Sailors assigned to USS Carney (DDG 64) return to the ship using a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB)” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    With the forthcoming introduction of the SSN(X) vessels, the Navy’s arsenal of sea-based weaponry will be further diversified and enhanced. This addition is crucial, given the projected fleet of only 46 fast-attack submarines in the Navy’s inventory over the next five years.

    Relevant articles:
    The U.S. Navy’s SSN(X) Nightmare Is Just Getting Started, The National Interest
    The Navy’s Ohio-Class Submarine Nightmare Is Just Getting Started, The National Interest
    Navy delays next-generation submarine start to early 2040s, Defense News
    Report to Congress on Navy Next, USNI News

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