Navy Ships:

Status of SSN-21 Ship Construction Program

NSIAD-90-163: Published: Apr 19, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 1990.

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Martin M. Ferber
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GAO reviewed the Navy's Seawolf Attack Submarine (SSN-21) construction program, focusing on: (1) the program's status; (2) SSN-21 performance capabilities; and (3) the Navy's ability to maintain the SSN-21 force structure.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy used two shipyards to design SSN-21 and was proceeding with its construction plans; (2) during the research and development phase, the Navy experienced some program cost increases and revised its delivery schedule; (3) since the lead submarine would not be available for testing until 1995, the Navy could not determine whether it would meet the program's overall performance goals; (4) the Navy planned the SSN-21 shipbuilding design to achieve its 100-submarine force goal; and (5) the Navy may not achieve its SSN force goals because of fiscal constraints.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress changed the law to specify low-rate initial production of naval vessels, 10 U.S.C. 2400(c).

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to either: (1) ensure that SSN-21 and its combat system undergo operational testing and evaluation before proceeding past low-rate initial production, as required in the law; or (2) seek legislative relief that would change the law to either exempt shipbuilding in general or the SSN-21 program specifically.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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