Second Virginia-Class Sub in Fiscal 2021 Tops Navy’s Unfunded Priority List

The crew of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Washington return to Naval Station Norfolk on Feb. 11 after the boat’s maiden deployment. Another sub of the class leads the Navy’s fiscal 2021 unfunded priorities list, according to a letter to Congress from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alfred A. Coffield

ARLINGTON, Va. — A Virginia-class attack submarine heads the U.S. Navy’s fiscal 2021 unfunded priorities list, according to Feb. 19 letter to Congress from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday. Three types of aircraft and one logistics proof-of-concept ship round out the top five unfunded priorities. 

Every year the services provide to congressional defense committees a list of procurement, operations and base infrastructure requirements that they would like Congress to fund should it wish to allocate more funds or to fund different priorities than some of those in the budget submission. 

A Virginia SSN order at $2.8 billion would be in addition to the one funded in the budget and enable the Navy to build a total of 10 Virginia SSNs under the Block V multiyear contract. 

The Navy also would like to add five F-35C Lightning II strike fighters to the 11 requested in the 2021 budget. Including spare parts, the addition would cost $525.5 million. 

The service also would like to procure an additional two E-2D Advanced Hawkeye command-and-control aircraft, upping the buy from six to eight for $357 million. The Navy has program of record of 77 — up from 75 — and has an objective of procuring a total of 86 E-2Ds. 

The Navy also would like to add two CMV-22B Osprey carrier-onboard-delivery aircraft to the six in the budget, which would require $211.4 million, including spare parts and spare engines. This also would increase the number of CMV-22Bs in the program to 46. 

As the Navy defines its requirements for a Small Auxiliary Logistics Platform for distributed maritime operations, it would like to fund — for $12 million — the lease of an additional offshore support vessel to support demonstrations “to evaluate potential solutions for refuel, re-supply and re-arm logistics mission requirements,”  the letter said. 

The Navy also would like to double the number of Next-Generation Jammer shipsets to six; procure 20 additional Naval Strike Missiles (NSMs), along with installation of an NSM launcher on an amphibious transport dock ship; procure two Surface Mission Modules for littoral combat ships; and purchase 100 more AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missiles; procure 6,392 sonobuoys to make up for unplanned operational expenditures; and upgrades to the Dual Band Radar on USS Gerald R. Ford and the Multifunction Radar on the Zumwalt-class destroyers.