National Harbor, Md. -- A prominent lawmaker urged the U.S. Navy and Congress to start building the next generation of nuclear ballistic submarines sooner than previously planned.
The Navy is scheduled to introduce the Ohio-class replacement submarine in 2031 with plans to have it serve through 2085. Navy leaders want to build 12 of the nuclear ballistic missile submarines, or SSBNs, under the Ohio Replacement Program.
Rep. Rob Wittman, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, said Wednesday at the Sea Air Space Exposition that he wanted the Navy to speed up the development for ORP and Congress to provide the necessary funding.
"I would like to see the construction schedule for the program move to the left," Wittman said.
Designed to be 560-feet– long and house 16 Trident II D5 missiles fired from 44-foot-long missile tubes, ORP will be engineered as a stealthy, high-tech nuclear deterrent.
The most recent Quadrennial Defense Review lists undersea strategic nuclear deterrence as the top priority among 12 listed national security priorities, said Ohio Replacement Program Manager Capt. William Brougham.