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budgeting Antisubmarine Warfare
I ^ Borman Polmar, Editor, The Ships and Aircraft of the U. S. Fleet
The Department of Defense’s decision 5y up 16 Navy frigates became a cause jelebre for then-Secretary of the Navy at>ies Webb. The loss of these 16 ships ^ornpleted from 1964 to 1967) has been ; us preventing the Navy from reach- n§ the planned 600-ship fleet, hut the decision to drop 16 frigates ui have far more impact than affecting a . ^Ple, in some respects meaningless, aling of certain categories of ships. c‘lese frigates (see Table 1) have signifi- i ^.nt antisubmarine capabilities. All these • Sates possess high-powered sonars and ^ °f them have SH-2F LAMPS-I heli- , P'ur facilities. Their loss will reduce by nmost 14% the number of frigates in the f6et’ and by 7% the number of ASW sur- Ce combatants in the fleet.1 According to retired Admiral Isaac
Kidd, a veteran destroyer officer, “numbers make the difference in antisubmarine warfare." Kidd’s statement is supported by an analysis of ASW operations in both World Wars. Despite being able to read some German U-boat communications and having organized convoys early in World War II, the Allies could not turn the tide against the German submarines until March 1943 when large numbers of ASW ships and aircraft became available.
The current U. S. Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Carlisle A. H. Trost, has declared: “One warfare mission area of vital importance, in which the challenge of the future is particularly intense, is ASW. . . . continued advances in the quality of [the Soviet submarine] force lead me to rank ASW as my central warfighting concern.”
The announced loss of the frigates, however, was but the harbinger of a number of DoD budget decisions that will reduce turther the U. S. Navy’s effectiveness in antisubmarine warfare. These DoD budget moves involve program terminations, delays in new starts, and deferrals.
DoD terminated the naval airship (blimp). While the airship program was intended primarily to provide a fleet air/ missile defense warning, it also had potential for ASW. Terminating the blimp project represents only a small amount- $197 million-of the Navy’s $7 billion budget reduction.
The delays in starting new programs center on ASW: the low-cost sonobuoy, the passive-signal monitoring system, the
Table 1 The Frigate Cuts
Brooke-class Guided-Missile Frigates
Richard L. Page
Julius A. Furer
Source: The Ships and Aircraft of the U. S. Fleet (Annapolis, Md.
Naval Institute Press, 1987)
Table 2 Budget Authority Fiscal Year 1989 (Current Year $ Billions)
Source: Department of Defense
FY 1989 Real Growth Since 1988
FY 1989 FY 1989
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ASW variant of the V-22 Osprey tilt- rotor aircraft, and a new warhead for the Mk-50 torpedo. These moves offer savings of $26 million in research and development and $67 million in procurement.
All but one of the approved Navy programs that were deferred involve ASW: the Mk-48 advanced capability torpedo, Mk-50 lightweight torpedo, and the vertical-launch antisubmarine rocket. These account for $238 million in current procurement. (The other program delay involved the advanced air-to-air missile, with $57 million planned for future research and development.)
Several other Navy ASW-related programs may be at risk because of the probable defense spending reductions in the post-Reagan era. For example, the Navy is planning to procure a new, long-range maritime patrol/ASW aircraft beginning in fiscal year 1990. This successor to the P-3 Orion is designated now to be the long-range air ASW-capable aircraft (LRAACA). According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, “A delay of the LRAACA program may prove necessary. Some analysts have argued that the three-year development program is too short and that the Navy has not developed a clear plan for its long-range ASW aircraft needs.” 2 * 
Also, based on the current carrier air wing composition—ten fixed-wing ASW aircraft (now S-3 Viking) per ship—the Navy will have a shortfall of at least 44 aircraft by 1994. There seem to be three solutions:
► The S-3 Viking production line, closed since 1978, could be reopened.
► The V-22 Osprey could be developed and produced in an ASW configuration.
► A new antisubmarine “vehicle” could be developed for use with U. S. aircraft carriers.
However, the possibility of any of these actions occurring in the near term is doubtful.
Similarly, two major ASW-related ship programs may encounter further difficulties. The Congress has demonstrated a lack of enthusiasm for both the Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and Seawolf (SSN-21) classes. All funding in the fiscal year 1988 budget for the construction of three destroyers was deleted by Congress and construction of the lead ship now is at least 16 months behind schedule.
The SSN-21 project continues to be criticized, with a series production cost of $1.2 billion per submarine now being discussed openly in Washington. The future of the SSN-21 program is unclear, since the lead ship contract has not been awarded yet, and Congress is funding a large submarine technology research e fort by the Defense Advanced Researc Projects Agency.
It is difficult to find solutions to the budget dilemma. As noted in Table 2, the Navy/Marine Corps is taking the larges relative cuts in the fiscal year 1989 bu get. Despite publicity about rebuilding the fleet, according to Admiral Trost, t e Navy has had less real program groW' during the 1980-89 Defense recovery than the other services:
Annual real Change program share of Do growth resources^
Corps 3.1% —3.1%
Army 3.3% +°-6%
Air Force 4.8% +2-' c__
While the Navy is representing U- interests in the Persian Gulf and contl” ing major deployments in the Medrte nean, Atlantic, and Pacific areas, operating budgets cannot be reduced eh ily. Rather, the post-Reagan adminis ^ tion probably will continue to cut tu for research and development, and procurement. Force levels will su also, probably affecting more the tn dane, dedicated-ASW forces, particin11^ the lowly frigates, rather than the stra gic or carrier forces. Such a trend co be dangerous, however, especially view of the other reductions in A related programs. While the ten Gat (FF-1040) and six Brooke (FFG-1)'Ct frigates have limited capabilities aga( modem, high-speed, deep-diving 4>°vjet submarines, the majority of the undersea fleet consists of older su ^ rines that these ships probably c° counter for many years.
Proceedings / J°^
 Admiral Kidd also served as NATO Suprem 5
Commander Atlantic and Commander-in-Chie
Atlantic Command and Chief of Naval Mate Restatement by Adm. Carlisle A. H. Trost, ’ ro- fore the Defense Subcommittee of the House priations Committee, 1 March 1988, p- fir
'Surface combatants include cruisers, destroy gig- frigates; one of the destroyers and several of ates are manned by composite active-nava crews. Aiiied
Congressional Budget Office, Naval Co2” 56' craft: Issues and Options (November 1987), P 57.
Ibid., p. 34.
‘Trost, p. 11.