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US Navy’s New Shipbuilding Plan Wants To “Achieve Maritime Supremacy” Amid Rising China

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

The Trump administration recently announced a new long-term shipbuilding plan that will boost the Navy’s fleet as it confronts a rising China in the South China Sea.

According to Bloomberg, citing a senior admin official, the Navy’s shipbuilding budget for fiscal 2022 would increase by 33% to $27 billion over this fiscal year. By 2023, it would increase to $28.5 billion, reaching $38.5 billion in fiscal 2026.

The ambitious plan to rebuild the Navy after decades of cuts to shipbuilding comes as the fleet has been stripped down to a size barely larger than it was nearly a century ago.

Trump has prioritized expanding the fleet of 275 ships to 355 vessels within a decade. The plan is part of a 30-year shipbuilding program that will expand the fleet to 500 by 2045.

US Navy's New Shipbuilding Plan Wants To "Achieve Maritime Supremacy" Amid Rising China

“Since taking office, President Trump has promised to increase the size of our naval fleet to 355 battleships, re-establish the United States as the global power at sea to continue to secure our country while making it more prosperous,” Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought said in a statement.

Vought continued: “Our updated 30-year shipbuilding plan is a credible, affordable road map for achieving maritime supremacy—all while tightening our belts—and sending a strong message to our adversaries like China.”

The shipbuilding plan also includes a list of 48 vessels set to be decommissioned or placed out of service during the fiscal years 2022 through 2026.

Planned retirements include the “first Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the first two Ohio-class guided-missile submarines, and the first Victorious-class ocean surveillance ship,” said Seapower Magazine, adding that “11 Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers and 11 Los Angeles-class attack submarines” will be retired as well.

Here’s the full list of retirements between 2022-2026: 

In 2022:

  • Six Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers will be placed in reserve: San Jacinto (CG 56), Hue City (CG 66), Anzio (CG 68) Vella Gulf (CG 72) and Port Royal (CG 73).
  • One Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship will be placed in reserve: Whidbey Island (LSD 41).
  • Two Los Angeles-class attack submarines will be recycled: Providence (SSN 719) and Oklahoma City (SSN 723).
  • One Powhatan-class fleet ocean tug will be disposed: Apache (T-ATF 172).

In 2023: 

  • Two Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers will be placed in reserve: Bunker Hill (CG 52) and Mobile Bay (CG 53).
  • Four Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships will be placed in reserve: Germantown (LSD 42), Gunston Hall (LSD 44), and Ashland (LSD 48).
  • One Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship will be placed in reserve: Carter Hall (LSD 50).
  • Two Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oilers will be disposed: John Lenthall (T-AO 189).
  • One Powhatan-class fleet ocean tug will be disposed: Catawba (T-ATF 168).
  • One Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ship will be disposed: Grasp (T-ARS 51)

In 2024:

  • Two Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers will be placed in reserve: Antietam (CG 54) and Shiloh (CG 67).
  • One Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship will be placed in reserve: Rushmore (LSD 47).
  • Two Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships will be placed in reserve: Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
  • Four Los Angeles-class attack submarines will be recycled: Chicago (SSN 721), Key West (SSN 722) San Juan (SSN 751) and Topeka (SSN 754).
  • Four Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships will be disposed: Sentry (MCM 3), Devastator (MCM 6), Gladiator (MCM 11) and Dextrous (MCM 13).
  • One Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ship will be disposed: Salvor (T-ARS 52).

In 2025:

  • One Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will be recycled: Nimitz (CVN 68).
  • One Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship will be placed in reserve: Oak Hill (LSD 51).
  • Two Los Angeles-class attack submarines will be recycled: Helena (SSN 725) and Pasadena (SSN 752).
  • One Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler will be disposed: Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188)

In 2026:

  • One Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser will be placed in reserve: Chancellorsville (CG 62).
  • One Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship will be placed in reserve: Comstock (LSD 45).
  • Two Ohio-class guided-missile submarines will be recycled: Ohio (SSGN 726) and Florida (SSGN 728).
  • Three Los Angeles-class attack submarines will be recycled: Newport News (SSN 750), Scranton (SSN 756) and Alexandria (SSN 757).
  • One Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler will be disposed: Pecos (T-AO 197).
  • One Victorious-class ocean surveillance ship: Victorious (T-AGOS 19).

So what is the Navy’s strategy here? Is the US preparing for a naval and air clash with China in the South China Sea, or somewhere in the Pacific?

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