NAVY SUBMARINE WOES
An investigation by Congress’ Government Accountability Office found that the Navy has been unable to begin or complete most of its attack submarine maintenance in a timely fashion, resulting in operational delays and excessive costs.
“GAO’s analysis of Navy maintenance data shows that between fiscal year 2008 and 2018, attack submarines have incurred 10,363 days of idle time and maintenance delays as a result of delays in getting into and out of the shipyards,” a report made public last month states.
One example was the USS Boise, which was scheduled for extended maintenance in 2013. The work was held back by shipyard delays. In 2016, the Boise was unable to conduct normal operations and remained idle at pierside for over two years waiting for access to a shipyard.
GAO estimates that since fiscal 2008, the Navy has spent $1.5 billion to support attack submarines that “provide no operational capability — those sitting idle while waiting to enter the shipyards, and those delayed in completing their maintenance at the shipyards.”
The report focused on the Navy’s 51 attack submarines — 33 Los Angeles-class, 3 Seawolf-class and 15 Virginia-class submarines. The vessels are engaged clandestine intelligence gathering, attacking enemy targets, and transporting special operations forces. The capabilities make the submarine among the most requested assets for global military commanders.
The GAO said the Navy has begun addressing the problems at shipyards. However, the service has “not effectively allocated maintenance periods among public shipyards and private shipyards that may also be available to help minimize attack submarine idle time,” the report said.
Investigators discovered that as public shipyards are working overtime over the past several years, “attack submarine maintenance delays are getting longer and idle time is increasing.”
“Without addressing this challenge, the Navy risks continued expenditure of operating and support funding to crew, maintain, and support attack submarines that provide no operational capability because they are delayed in getting into and out of maintenance,” the report said.