Sea-Air-Space 2021 Prequel: CNO Describes the Fleet of 2025

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday speaks to 1st Class midshipmen during his visit to the U.S. Naval Academy in April. U.S. NAVY / Midshipman 1st Class Tommy Brophy

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s top officer has described what he sees the U.S. Fleet will look like in 2025, a benchmark which he says the Navy will have made investments so that the fleet will have made notable strides with fielding increased combat capability.

CNO Adm. Michael Gilday, speaking in a prerecorded webinar of the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Prequel, listed some of the major platforms and weapons that will make the fleet more capable by 2025:

Under the sea:

  • “All of our Block III and IV [Virginia-class attack submarines] should be delivered by 2025 with an undersea weapon that is more lethal and has greater range.”

On the sea:

  • “We [will be] just on the cusp of delivering our first Constellation-class frigate.”
  • “We will be delivering the [Arleigh Burke-class] Flight III DDGs in earnest.”
  • “We are investing in a longer-range weapon, the Maritime Strike Tomahawk that gives us range and speed to reach out and touch an adversary.”
  • “We believe that we will be delivering the Zumwalt-class destroyers with a hypersonic missile capability.”

In the air:

  • “We’ll have half of our [carrier] air wings [with] a fourth- and fifth-generation mix [of strike fighters], which analysis has shown to be quite effective against our adversaries. Tied in with that is a longer-range air-to-surface missile that gives us greater reach and greater punch.”
  • “Our P-8s [maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft] we are investing in with an upgrade.”

“All of that is coming into play by 2025,” the admiral noted. “So, we do have an investment strategy that incrementally gets us to a more capable, lethal fleet — not necessarily a bigger fleet — unless we saw a rise in the [budget] topline.”