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Navy Sets Sight on Lower Manned Ship Fleet Size

Shipbuilding plan

Navy Sets Sight on Lower Manned Ship Fleet Size

The Navy wants to reduce the minimum number of manned ships that will be part of its future fleet.

According to an updated shipbuilding plan submitted to Congress, the Navy is targeting to build a fleet with 321 to 372 manned ships. The lower limit of that estimate is 34 ships short of the much-talked-about standard of a 355-ship fleet.

The smaller fleet size is more feasible for the service given budget constraints, Defense News reported.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday told House appropriators in April that the 355-ship goal is hard to achieve because of ship construction, maintenance, manning and equipment costs.

“That’s not just the hulls — it’s the people, it’s to fill the magazines with munitions, to train the people, it’s all of those things that give you a whole fleet that can fight,” Gilday said.

The shipbuilding plan shows that the Navy is looking to invest in aircraft carriers, landing helicopter assault ships, large and small amphibious warfare ships, large and small surface combatants, attack submarines/large payload submarines, ballistic missile submarines, combat logistics force and support vessels.

These platforms will be supported by unmanned surface and underwater vessels. The plan suggests that the size of the uncrewed fleet would range from 77 to 140.

The Navy intends to release a more detailed long-range plan in its budget request for fiscal year 2023.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently weighed in on the Navy’s ship fleet dilemma. While Austin considers 355 ships a good goal to shoot for, he said capabilities should be taken into account and not just fleet size.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: Defense and Intelligence Defense News Lloyd Austin manned fleet Mike Gilday shipbuilding plan uncrewed fleet US Navy