The Navy is responding to China's growing military threat by adding nine nuclear-powered submarines to its fleet at a cost of $22 billion, The Hill reports.
The Navy announced that the first batch of the new Virginia-class subs is expected to be completed in 2025.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said, "Our submarine force is fundamental to the power and reach of our integrated naval force. Today's announcement affirms our commitment to the future strength of our nation, undersea and around the world."
According to The National Interest, China's ever-advancing military technology is forcing the Navy to change how it deploys subs so they remain hidden from Chinese sensors.
Vice Adm. Chas Richard said the rapid changes mean the U.S. must consider all the ways the enemy might discover American submarines and develop a strategy to counter it.
But Bryan Clark, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C., told Defense News that due to the increased Chinese technology, he is not sure that the new submarines are the answer.
"Over the past 10 years there has been a real emphasis on the submarine as the one tool we have that may be able to get into contested areas," Clark said. He added, however, "the idea that our submarines are our go-to asset to gain access, that may not be true in the next few years as it was in the past 10, so there is a question as to whether we should be investing in submarines to maintain the undersea strike capacity."
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