Submarine Cost Overruns

Cost overruns in weapons programs while wasteful are all too common. Had this money not been wasted maybe cuts in the army may not have been necessary. The current aircraft carrier program seems to be the cause of recent cuts and more may be required. Does the UK really need aircraft carriers ?

October 24, 2004: The Royal Navy has signed a contract of $145 million with the U.S.’s General Dynamics Electric Boat Division – the builder of U.S. nuclear submarines – to help the UK’s Astute nuclear submarine construction program. The contract comes on top of two previous contracts worth $52 million to resolve problems in building the Astute-class of hunter-killer submarines. The first boat in the class is four years behind schedule and is now expected to be turned over to the Royal Navy in late 2008. The original three boat order awarded in 1997 is at least a billion dollars over budget and an order for more subs has been delayed until it is clear how much the first three will finally cost.

Officials at BAE, the Astute-class builder, state Electric Boat is filling a gap in British submarine design expertise as well as assisting BAE in getting up to speed in computer-aided design methods and tools. BAE admits they could have managed the work themselves but it would have added more time and money to building the boats. BAE blames the British government in letting UK capabilities in nuclear submarine building decline between ordering the last of the Royal Navy’s Trident ballistic missile subs and the Astute-class. The UK had closed down its own warship design facilities. Said the official, “By the time we needed the designers, they were all on the golf course.” BAE got the “loan” of an Electric Boat executive this year to direct the Astute project.

Britain has long standing ties with the U.S. regarding submarine technology. The U.S. provides Trident nuclear missiles for British ballistic missile subs and Tomahawk cruise missiles for UK attack boats. The two countries have also had an agreement for sharing nuclear propulsion technology since 1958. – Doug Mohney
tomahawk6 said:
Does the UK really need aircraft carriers?
The current projected cost, before the first steel has been cut, for both ships and the navalised JSFs to go with them, is about six billion dollars in your wampum.

That will inevitably climb to truly astronomical proportions. the whole project's already a year or more late because of arguments over size v cost. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy has been forced to accept a cut of almost 25% in surface warship strength to underwrite it, with a knock-on effect on the other services.

An RN friend of mine says the vessels will be chopped and changed so much that, if and when they are finally launched, they should be called HMS Small and HMS Smaller Still. :roll:
Thanks for the info. A carrier requires escorts for protection. If by reducing the number of escorts to pay for the carriers seems foolish. A navy never has enough frigates/destroyers and to reduce those is hard for me to fathom.
tomahawk6 said:
A navy never has enough frigates/destroyers and to reduce those is hard for me to fathom.
T6, it's also hard for our matelots to fathom. We have ships tied up alongside to save on fuel costs while admirals dream of projecting carrier power on a global stage. There's a strong possibility the flat-tops will never be built, or will be reduced in size and capability to the point where they no longer serve much of a strategic purpose. Welcome to the wacky world of British defence procurement. :wink:

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