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Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service Washington United States

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The Navys proposed FY2016 budget requests 1,390.7 million for continued research and development work on the Ohio replacement program ORP, a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines SSBNs to replace the Navys current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. The Ohio replacement program is also known as the SSBNX program. The Navy wants to procure the first Ohio replacement boat in FY2021, with advance procurement AP funding starting in FY2017. The Navy has identified the Ohio replacement program as its top priority program.A March 2015 GAO report assessing selected major DOD weapon acquisition programs states that the estimated total acquisition cost of the SSBNX program is about 95.8 billion in constant FY2015 dollars, including about 11.8 billion in research and development costs and about 84.0 billion in procurement costs.The Navy as of February 2015 estimates the procurement cost of the lead boat in the program at 14.5 billion in then-year dollars, including 5.7 billion in detailed design and nonrecurring engineering DDNRE costs for the entire class, and 8.8 billion in construction costs for the ship itself. It is a traditional budgeting practice for Navy shipbuilding programs to attach the DDNRE costs for a new class of ships to the procurement cost of the lead ship in the class. In constant FY2010 dollars, these figures become 10.4 billion, including 4.2 billion in DDNRE costs and 6.2 billion in construction costs for the ship itself. The Navy in January 2015 estimated the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the Ohio replacement program at about 5.2 billion each in FY2010 dollars, and is working to reduce that figure to a target of 4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars. Even with this cost-reduction effort, observers are concerned about the impact the Ohio replacement program will have on the Navys ability to procure other types of ships at desired rates in the 2020s and early 2030s.

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