Almost 40% of US Attack Submarines Out of Commission

The guided missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726) stops for a personnel boat transfer
The guided missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726) stops for a personnel boat transfer / Getty Images
July 11, 2023

More than a third of U.S. submarines are out of commission due to ship-building delays, according to data released by the Congressional Research Service.

Thirty-seven percent of the U.S. Navy’s attack submarines—18 out of 49—are out of commission for repairs, up from 12 boats a decade ago. The Congressional Research Service said the backlog was due to "insufficient numbers of workers and facility constraints" at naval shipyards as well as "supply chain issues," saying that the delays have cut the "force’s capacity for meeting day-to-day mission demands and potentially putting increased operational pressure" on active boats.

The statistic demonstrates the extent of U.S. naval unpreparedness for a potential war with China. The U.S. Naval Institute said in May that China’s Navy is the largest in the world and is expected to grow to 440 "battle force" ships by 2030, while the United States will sit at 290 battle force ships the same year. Dozens of Pentagon war games published last month revealed the United States is unprepared for a "horrifically bloody" war with China.

Gatestone Institute senior fellow Gordon Chang said last month the United States is "not prepared to fight China."

"It’s not just a question of having a larger Navy than ours," Chang told Fox Business. "It’s also a question that they have types of weapons that we don’t have and which right now we have no defenses for."

The Biden administration’s 2024 budget proposal asked for sharp budget cuts to the Navy and the premature retirement of eight ships and two combat vessels, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Sending these ships to an early retirement would remove more than 600 vertical missile launch systems.

Published under: Navy