This is the US military industrial complex trying to get even more money.
The US has been building submarines that cost about $3 to 5 billion a piece.
The old US Navy plan was for 48 SSNs as part of an overall force level of 308 ships would be enough into the middle of the century. The Navy’s new goal is to maintain a 355-ship fleet, of which 66 would be SSNs. The Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan does not build enough Virginias even to meet the prior, lower goal for the SSN force. At currently proposed building rates, the SSN fleet will decline to a low of 41 boats in 2029, seven short of the Navy’s original force structure plan and 25 below the new, higher target, before rising to 51 boats at mid-century.
The nuclear missile submarines are counted separately.
To reach the goal of 66 SSNs in the fleet by mid-century, the Navy must actually increase their production by nearly a third.
There are various projections that China will have 80 SSN submarines in 2026 and 95-100 submarines in the 2030. A lot of China’s submarines are diesel powered with Air independent propulsion. Diesel AIP subs are about as quiet as nuclear submarines and cost ten times less and can stay submerged for a month or more.
India plans to have about 24 submarines in 2030. India is an opponent of China. Japan is an opponent of China and Japan has about 19 submarines.
The US will not be able to outbuild China with robotic submarines or ships as China recently revealed that they will copy US robotic ships and submarines. China will also export robotic ships and submarines.
China is continuing to move towards technological parity.
China GDP will be about double the US GDP in about 2040.
China’s military budget will about the same as the US in about 2040 (China spends 2-3% on military and US spends 4-5%)
The US continues to build excessively expensive military designs and technology.
China has shown that it can quickly copy US technology in drones, planes and other military hardware.
China was previously hampered with a weaker overall economy and key technological gaps in metallurgy, engines and computing. There is no reason education or industry wise to believe that the US will be able to re-establish sustainable technological advantages.
If India does have sustained economic rise and growth rate of 7-9% for several decades, then the combined US, India and Japanese fleet could outnumber China. This would especially be the case if the US shifted to diesel AIP and robotic ships and submarines. If the US does not shift a significant portion to lower cost but effective ships and submarines then it clearly shows that the talk about having an outnumbered is just to pump up contracts for $3 billion Virginia submarines.