Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The real cost of Virginia-class submarines

Yet another inaccuracy thrown up by the blogosphere, confirming that we should be checking our numbers very carefully indeed. Robert Scheer's article "A submarine to fight Al Quaida's navy" throws out the following statement: Example: the $81-billion submarine pushed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, presumably to fight al-Qaida’s navy.

Quite apart from the disingenuity in maintaining that this submarine is intended to fight Al Quaeda, the cost is wrong. The CBO estimates that the cost per submarine will be between the original $ 2.1 billion budget price and $ 2.7 for the current Virginia class, and $ 3.2 billion for the Improved Virginia class. The Submarine Force Structure Study calls for 18 boats procured by 2015, with a further number coming into service thereafter. The CBO's estimates are based on 2 boats per year.

Perhaps Mr. Scheer refers to the Virginia programme costs: this should be specified, even if his overall conclusions are wrong.

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