In the wake of US President Donald Trump's new budget policies shifting cash from much-needed social services like healthcare and education to additional weapons purchases for the Pentagon, manufacturers in the US and around the world are heatedly stepping up their sales efforts to get a slice of the pie.
US Navy Admiral John Richardson, chief of operations for the military branch, issued a paper this week documenting the urgent need for a sharp rise in military spending, specifically to build new ships, guaranteeing that by placing larger orders Washington would spend less money than if ships are ordered one at a time.
Included in Richardson's declaration was the assertion that the US must keep up with Chinese and Russian ship production, calling for a 350-ship US Navy fleet by the end of the next decade, instead of the original projection to arrive at that goal by the 2040s.
The US Navy currently deploys some 275 ships around the world and recent shipbuilding plans suggest a fleet of 310 ships by 2022, as reported by Military.com.
While the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has cautioned that achieving a 355-ship fleet will cost an extra $5 billion a year over the course of the next 30 years, that amount does not include the expected maintenance and upgrades on existing ships included in Richardson's pitch.
Hot on the heels of the admiral's call to grow the fleet, Newport News Shipbuilding, displaying those cross-platform sales synergies much lauded in America, tossed their marketing gambit into the ring by observing that several large aircraft carriers ordered at the same time would reduce overall costs and shorten the build time.
Detailing the economies of scale made possible by increasing the amount of weapons purchased by the US, a shipyard spokesperson stated that, "This approach would provide stability to Newport News Shipbuilding and our supply chain of more than 2,000 companies in 46 states to better plan and invest in our workforce and facilities."
"It would also allow us to purchase materials in quantity," they acknowledged.
According to Military.com, it currently takes some 11 years to deliver a Ford-class aircraft carrier, while the previous Nimitz-class carriers were completed in eight years.