Status of the Navy's New Seawolf Attack Submarine and Its New Combat System

Gao ID: T-NSIAD-87-14 March 24, 1987

GAO testified on the status of the Navy's new Seawolf attack submarine construction program and the development of the Seawolf's new combat system. GAO found that: (1) by the year 2000, the Navy plans to request authority to build at least 28 attack submarines, at a estimated cost of $29 billion; (2) if the Navy's plan is executed, 28 Seawolf submarines will be authorized through 1999; (3) although most of the submarine's nuclear technology is tested, the Navy believes that it is too soon to verify whether components will achieve planned silencing thresholds; (4) the Navy expects the new combat system to improve response times, operability, and firepower through computer-aided detection, classification, and tracking; (5) although the Navy capped acquisition costs for Seawolf at $1 billion, that is a significant increase over SSN-688 submarine costs; and (6) since the new combat system will require concurrent development and limited production in order to meet required system delivery schedules, the first Seawolf may not achieve full tactical capabilities when delivered.

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