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The delays leave the US Navy with only 31 attack submarines ready

Delays at naval shipyards caused by supply chain problems and worker shortages have put nearly 40 percent of the Navy’s attack submarines out of service, according to a July 6 report. report of the Congressional Research Service.

According to the report, the Navy prefers that only about 20 percent of its submarines are in depot maintenance at any given time.

Eighteen of the Navy’s 49 nuclear-powered attack submarines are classified as depot maintenance or pending maintenance, leaving the United States at a critical disadvantage against China’s larger fleet. seconds at Bloomberg. China has the world’s largest navy with approximately 340 ships and submarines, including 125 “major surface combatants,” according to a November 2022 report. report of the US Department of Defense.

Naval analyst Ronald O’Rourke wrote the report that increased depot maintenance has “substantially reduced” the number of operational submarines, reducing the fleet’s ability to meet daily mission demands. Excluding 2021, when the Navy similarly had just 31 operational attack submarines, the service hasn’t had so few operational submarines since at least 2008, the report said.

In a statement, the Naval Sea Systems Command blamed “planning, material availability and shipyard execution.” seconds at Bloomberg. At the end of June, 16 ssubmarines, 32% of its fleet, were out of service, according to the command.

In 2022, the Government Accountability Office said the Navy lost more than 10,000 operational days from 2008 to 2018 due to delays in and out of shipyards.

US submarines, which can fire torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles, are seen as a key advantage over the numerically superior Chinese navy.

“Submarines are one area where the United States maintains undisputed superiority over China,” said Carl Schuster, a retired U.S. Navy captain and former director of operations at the U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center. USA in Hawaii. he said CNN in April.

The newly revealed setback stands in stark contrast to the government’s current policy of projecting increasingly visible shows of force in China, Russia and North Korea. For example, repairs to the Seawolf-class USS Connecticut, which struck a seamount in the South China Sea in October 2021, will not be done. complete until around 2026, according to Naval News.

“The Connecticut remediation saga highlights the Navy’s lack of remediation capability,” said Diana Maurer, GAO’s director of Defense Capabilities and Management. he said Bloomberg in June. “This, in turn, raises questions about how the Navy would execute battle damage reparations in the event of a conflict.”

Shortly after an April meeting between President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, the two leaders agreed that the U.S. to expand the “regular visibility of strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula.” In June, the US deployed the nuclear-powered submarine USS Michigan to South Korea as part of the agreement between the two nations.

Gang Duck-chul/Yonhap via AP


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