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US Navy


Helping to create savings of $2 billion through better lifecycle planning

The US Navy is the largest navy in the world, with greater battle fleet tonnage than the next 13 largest navies combined. With over 300,000 personnel in active service, it operates 288 ships, 71 submarines and more than 3,700 aircraft. But without enough submarines to support its fleet, the Navy needed to extend the lifespan of its existing submarines. We brought together a diverse team of experts to identify and coordinate a set of policy, design and maintenance changes that maximises the amount of time a submarine can be deployed.


Key successes

  • complex technology

    identified innovative solutions to deploy a submarine for an additional six months beyond its 33-year lifetime

  • time

    minimized vessel ‘down time’ without compromising performance

  • refresh

    removed the need to purchase additional submarines to support the Navy’s fleet

Extending lifespan of submarines

The US Navy is in a position where it does not have enough submarines to support the stated fleet requirements. With defense budgets constrained and each new submarine costing billions of dollars, buying more is not an option.

Extending the lifespan of existing submarines is one way to solve this problem. However, getting the most from this high-value asset means finding the right balance between maintenance, modernization and operational activity – which will then make it possible to extend service life and minimize ‘down time’ without compromising performance.

To address these challenges, we used a dynamic simulation of the lifecycle of Virginia-class submarines to identify and coordinate a set of policy, design and maintenance changes that enabled a submarine to be deployed for an additional six months beyond its 33-year lifetime. If this approach is taken with the Navy’s other affected submarines, the extended deployment time removes the need to purchase an additional submarine worth at least $2 billion – at negligible cost.

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Get in touch with the defence and security team

Ritu Sharma

PA defence and security expert