Navy Ships:

Problems Continue to Plague the Seawolf Submarine Program

NSIAD-93-171: Published: Aug 4, 1993. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 1993.

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GAO reviewed the Navy's Seawolf (SSN-21) Class Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine construction program, focusing on: (1) the change in the status of the class design and SSN-21 construction since December 1991; (2) the effectiveness of technical and management actions to resolve lead submarine welding problems and guard against a recurrence of a similar problem in the future; and (3) Navy efforts to control schedule delays.

GAO found that: (1) SSN-21 construction has fallen at least 5 months behind schedule; (2) factors contributing to construction delays include late drawings and other design data, insufficient staff and problems preparing and releasing the instructions and materials needed for construction, and a smaller-than-expected SSN-21 construction work force; (3) 5 percent of the work packages scheduled for completion and 9 percent of the completed work packages scheduled for release to construction workers were delinquent; (4) the incompatibility between the design and construction schedules could further delay SSN-21 delivery; (5) it will cost $683 million to design the SSN-21 class, which is 125 percent over the original contract cost estimate; (6) cost increases are primarily due to changes in specifications, reductions in the number of submarines to be constructed, and the re-estimation of construction elements; and (7) the contractor has corrected the welding problems and instituted new welding procedures to prevent any recurrence of similar problems.

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