Navy Ships:

Concurrency Within the SSN-21 Program

NSIAD-90-297: Published: Sep 28, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the: (1) extent of concurrent development and production in the Navy's Seawolf nuclear attack (SSN-21) submarine program; and (2) status of the AN/BSY-2 combat system and other SSN-21 subsystems.

GAO found that: (1) the concurrent design and construction of the first SSN-21 was on schedule; (2) the two shipbuilding contractors collectively completed approximately 41 percent of the design work by August 1990; (3) to meet the first ship's planned delivery date of May 1995, some subsystems required concurrent development and production; (4) in addition to AN/BSY-2 development, there was concurrent development and production of several new subsystem components; (5) problems or delays during development and testing of the propulsor, noise monitoring, weapons stowage and handling, and ship control subsystems could delay ship construction and impair the ability of the first SSN-21 to perform its mission; (6) a 1-year delay in the SSN-21 program could result in cost increases due to such factors as inflation and decreased economies of scale; (7) a 2-year delay could have severe economic effects on many key vendors who are highly dependent on SSN-21 work, and could bring into question the viability of nuclear submarine construction; and (8) shipbuilding officials believed that a 1- or 2-year delay could result in the apportionment of overhead costs over fewer projects, resulting in increased construction costs.

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