Marc Selinger, Defense Daily, March 16



The U.S. Navy plans to continue relying on private shipyards for scheduled submarine maintenance periods due to a work backlog at public shipyards, according to a service official.

The Navy sought bids for the USS Columbus, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, to undergo a maintenance availability in fiscal year 2017, and it plans to do the same for at least two more submarines in FY 2018, said Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources.

The Navy has already conducted six submarine maintenance availabilities at two private yards — General Dynamics [GD] Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] Newport News Shipbuilding – since 2012.

“It’ll make a total of nine [submarines] since 2012, potentially,” that undergo maintenance availabilities at private shipyards, Mulloy testified before the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel March 16. While the Navy would prefer to do the work in-house, it is going outside “because we need to get the boats done.”

Mulloy said it often takes public shipyards too long to complete attack-submarine maintenance work because they are busy with ballistic missile submarines and aircraft carriers, which are considered higher priorities.

A Navy official told reporters in November that an overhaul of the Los Angeles-class USS Boise might be contracted out to the private sector. The official said that doing the work at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia would be less expensive but would take almost four years (Defense Daily, Nov. 7, 2016). The Navy is hiring thousands of workers to help reduce its shipyard backlog.