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Navy Submariners: Questions and Answers to what Life will be like for your Sailor During Service Aboard a Navy Submarine.

This Support Group is for the Families & Friends of the Sailors that have Devoted Themselves to the "Silent Service".

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Latest Activity: Jun 15

Discussion Forum

USS Nevada (SSBN-733) Tiger Cruise, March 2011

Started by Scott Henry. Last reply by Mark A. Davis Aug 31, 2019. 2 Replies

This is my uncle's account of his time on board USS Nevada (SSBN-733) during a week long tiger cruise from San Diego, CA to Bangor, WA. This also happened to be my last time ever underway on a…Continue

USS Pasadena

Started by Patricia Hudson. Last reply by Scott Henry Apr 3, 2017. 1 Reply

My son reported for duty at San Diego back in May. He's a FT and is attached to the USS Pasadena. Any other Pasadena parents out there?Continue

Tags: USSPasadena

Thanks Navy Dads - Submariners

Started by David Burkham. Last reply by Scott L. Waller Jan 17, 2017. 2 Replies

Today is my son's last day in the USN.  He performed his five year contract for submarines and decided that was enough for him.  I tried to convince him to stay in, as did his cousin and an uncle…Continue


Started by Terry Skinner. Last reply by Mike Walker Sep 26, 2015. 3 Replies

This proud Navy dad just got an email from my son who is nearing the completion of his first deployment (STS aboard USS Annapolis) saying he just passed his board in his quest for his Dolphins!  My…Continue

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Comment by ctyankee on February 25, 2010 at 9:53am
Any thoughts on the pending consideration of lifting the ban on female submariners? Inquiring minds want to know.
Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on January 14, 2010 at 10:31am
Navy Times Article:

‘Sub gap’ will lead to longer deployments, older boats

By Lance M. Bacon

Sailors aboard attack submarines can expect longer deployments and service-life extensions of their boats to compensate for an expected “sub­marine gap” in the years to come, according to Navy documents and congressional analysts.

Under the current 30-year pro­curement plan, the number of attack subs will fall below the required 48 boats in 2022 and will bottom out six years later at 41 boats. The shortfall will continue until 2034.

“[The Navy] doesn’t have a lot of choice in this gap,” said one con­gressional analyst who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “This is the result of decisions made in the past 20 years that are coming home to roost.”

The Navy plans to meet typical requirements with longer deploy­ments and older boats. The ser­vice lives of 16 Los Angeles-class subs will be lengthened by as much as 24 months, and at least one month will be added to 40 deployments — about 25 percent of total deployments — over an eight-year period to provide the roughly 10 subs combatant com­manders need on any given day. The typical attack sub deploy­ment is six months; it was unclear when the longer deployments are expected to begin.

“There are concerns with this, such as how fast they use up the [nuclear] cores and the burden [longer deployments] will place on crews and families,” the congres­sional analyst said. “This is not palatable, politically or in the Pen­tagon. But there’s really no way around it.”

Even with those changes, the Navy will not be able to meet the peak projected wartime demand of about 35 deployed SSNs, accord­ing to a July 2009 Congressional Research Service report. This would require the purchase of at least four additional attack subs, and the Navy has no such plans.

The pending 12-ship ballistic­missile submarine replacement adds to the dilemma. If the Navy doesn’t get an additional $80 bil­lion from Congress, a request expected to be presented in the coming months, SSBN procure­ment could eat up to half of the annual shipbuilding budget for 14 years, according to the CRS report. This would result in even fewer attack subs being built, bringing the force to a low of 40 in 2028 and rising by only four boats through 2040.

A replacement for the Ohio-class SSBN is very likely. Though law­makers, presidential advisers and former four-stars want to eliminate one leg of the nuclear arms “triad” in the Nuclear Posture Review, most analysts feel the cuts will come from land or air, not from the SSBN force. The review is expected to be released in early February.

No wiggle room

Given the time required for con­cept, design and construction, pro­curement of a new SSBN must hap­pen now to ensure the mission is covered when Ohio-class subs start retiring in fiscal 2027. The Navy admits there’s no wiggle room, and it already has completed an analy­sis of alternatives and is expected to seek $500 million in fiscal 2011 for research and development.

“This is the Navy’s major cost issue of the 2020s,” the congres­sional analyst said.

While the Navy prepares to fight for funding in the forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, its best chance to gain support is in Groton, Conn., and Newport News, Va. There, the Virginia class has become a study in building subs better, faster and cheaper.

The Navy is poised to trim sub production to 60 months, thanks largely to significant changes in the ship’s design and shipyard produc­tion process. For example, the Block II boats now in production are built in four sections instead of 10, and they are the first to be delivered with the hull coating installed. Such changes will enable delivery of two subs per year start­ing in 2011 and will cut the cost of each sub to $2 billion in fiscal 2005 dollars, said Capt. Michael Jabaley, Virginia-class program manager.

Two subs a year is not unprece­dented. Three Los Angeles-class subs were produced annually dur­ing the Cold War, and some years saw twice that. But as that class is decommissioned over the next 15 years, the Navy will “have to ramp up to keep up,” Jabaley said.

Cutting cost does not always mean cutting capabilities. Block III subs — the final eight boats of the 18 approved in the Virginia class — will replace spherical array sonar with less expensive but equally capable large aperture bow array sonar.

Because the spherical array access trunk is no longer required, two large payload tubes similar to those found on cruise mis­sile subs will replace 12 individual vertical launch tubes with all their elec­trical and hydraulic sup­port apparatus.

“We still can shoot 12 missiles, but instead of 12 tubes, we have two larger tubes,” Jabaley said.

“This means we also can pull can­isters out and have large payloads such as [unmanned underwater vehicles] or additional kinetic pay­loads such as special operations gear or underwater launched anti­air weapons against [anti-subma­rine warfare] helos.” The career submariner said he is keeping a watchful eye to ensure necessary bow modifications do not push the Block IIIs past the 60-month window. And he’s not the only one watching.

What’s at stake

Because the Block IV contract will come up in three years, law­makers are closely monitoring the Virginia class to see whether the Navy can build subs as cheaply and quickly as it claims. The answer will have significant weight on future production.

“Achieving the goal of building subs that fast and at that cost may not give the Navy all the benefits it wants, but the sub force will be in great jeopardy if the Navy doesn’t pull it off,” the congressional ana­lyst said.

But if the Navy can do it, future contracts are likely as Congress, and especially the House Armed Services Committee, has been supportive of procuring two attack subs annually. That would keep the sub gap contained in the 12­year window.

Jabaley is confident the Navy can meet that goal, point­ing out that they will meet the 60-month win­dow well ahead of sched­ule in the Block II con­tract. However, he does admit a slight increase to 66 months is likely dur­ing the transition into Block III.

“We knew this was probable, and we planned for it,” he said.

Quality control is essen­tial to keeping a grip on unfore­seen problems that could throw the 60-month build window out of whack.

New Mexico, the sixth Virginia­class sub, was delivered in Decem­ber after 70 months. The good news: It was delivered four months early. The bad news: It was delayed five weeks — a delay that could be crippling in a 60­month window. It was caused by workmanship problems discov­ered in the weapons room han­dling system. Similar problems also were found on at least three other Virginia-class submarines.

“You don’t know the weakest link until it snaps,” Jabaley said. “But we have added and continue to add a myriad of reviews and supervisory oversights to ensure deliveries are not delayed.” □


The number of Los Angeles-class attack submarine deploy­ments that will be extended by at least a month, allowing the Navy to keep pace with an expected shortfall in available boats.
Comment by Leonard on January 14, 2010 at 9:23am
Well, here's a small peek into the mentality of submariners. A few days ago my son was injured while at sea. His hand was mashed when a 600 lb piece of metal rolled shut on his hand.

The sub came back to drop him off so that he could get medical attention. While I was concerned about his hand, he was ecstatic that he would get to watch the football playoffs and the super bowl! The boat went back to sea and all of his buddies were calling him "lucky" because he gets to watch the football playoffs!

I think that kind of goes to show how much the isolation affects them. They are cut off from the world while at sea. And even though they are a family, thier concerns for an injured shipmate were trumped by thier jealousy that he was going to see the playoffs!

His mom and I havn't seen him yet, and won't get to for some time. Being 2,500 miles away makes it difficult. But, he sounds good on the phone, and we're trying to figure out how we can get there soon.
Comment by ctyankee on November 27, 2009 at 12:56pm
My son is still in Kings Bay, I'm just here to listen & learn.
Comment by Leonard on November 12, 2009 at 9:01am
If your loved one serves on board a submarine, your experiences during their deployments are unique among military families. I have learned over the past couple of years that those months of separation without communication prey on your mind in ways that are hard to describe. For me, the hardest part is not knowing "where" on the globe they may be.

When people ask about them, you can't say he's in (fill in the blank with some country). You can only say he's underwater somewhere. It's disquieting, to say the least.

I salute the families of the submariners, and I invite you to share with each other here.

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