It’s hard to get weapons production up significantly when Congress has capped military spending through the end of the decade, but submarines look poised to do quite well going forward. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office figures sub construction will get as much money as aircraft-carrier and surface-combatant construction combined over the next ten years — and then continue rising. The reason is that Cold War attack submarines and ballistic-missile submarines are approaching the end of their useful service lives, and therefore both types will need to be produced in parallel through the mid-2030s. What’s more, if the Navy doesn’t keep buying Virginia-class submarines at the rate of two per year, the number of attack subs in the active fleet will fall far below its minimum warfighting requirement. So submarine builders General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls Industries — which divide work on both types of subs — look like they will do well in the years ahead. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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