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April 8, 2024 (EIRNS)—According to a commentary published in The Maritime Executive in February, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence recently assessed that the China’s shipbuilding industry fields 232 times the shipbuilding capacity of the United States, representing almost 50% of total global shipbuilding capacity. To stark quantitative differences like these, the U.S. Navy responds: “In many ways our shipbuilders are better shipbuilders, that’s why we have a more modern, more capable, more lethal Navy.”

China’s shipbuilding prowess and a one-page statement issued by the U.S. Navy last week reporting that four of its most critical shipbuilding programs are years behind schedule, has set the stage for the Navy League Sea-Air-Space conference and exposition which kicked off at National Harbor, Maryland, today. In a break with past practice there will be no briefings for reporters on the status of the Navy’s major shipbuilding programs, Politico reported. The delays, from one to three years each, depending on the program, come as the Navy and Pentagon pour billions into modernizing and upgrading shipyards in an attempt to build and repair ships more quickly and keep pace with China.

The programs facing extensive delays include the following:

• The Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine, the first boat of which is reported to be 12-16 months behind schedule, due mainly to problems with delivering modules built at other shipyards to Electric Boat’s shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. The Columbia class is to replace the Ohio-class boats, the last of which was delivered in 1997.

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