A senior official recently said the Navy is assessing every Los Angeles-class (SSN-688) attack submarine to ascertain if they can extend their service lives by a few more years.
The Navy is “systematically looking at each 688, that’s the service life extension, to see whether we can extend that,” Rear Adm. Doug Perry, director of Undersea Warfare (N97), said at the Naval Submarine League’s annual symposium on Nov. 18.
Perry said about three months ago he signed the paper to already extend the life of the USS Alexandria (SSN-757) “for three more years of operation.”
“That’s a case by case basis, but that’s done very rigorously,” he said.
He noted while the Navy previously forecasted an attack submarine shortfall falling to 42 vessels, the Navy is “currently forecast to sustain a force of 50 SSNs throughout this decade.”
“And then as we build our Virginia-class submarines we will go above 50 and get up to the fiscal year 2016 force structure assessment requirement of 66 SSNs.”
That is almost a 20 percent improvement from previous assessments, partially due to these life extensions and several planned refuelings.
Perry reiterated last year the Navy approved refueling five Los Angeles-class submarines given five new reactor cores ready for use.
In 2018 Navy officials told the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee they planned to extend the life of one SSN-688 class vessel for upward of 10 years before seeing if they could repeat the process with the other four reactors (Defense Daily, March 22, 2018).
Perry said the Navy selected the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine as the best yard to conduct the five Los Angeles-class refuelings.