Forecast International’s “The Market for Submarines” analysis projects that 111 submarines worth $106.7 billion will be produced from 2011-2020. The average value of these submarines will be $960 million, an indicator of the growing complexity of the modern submarine and the increasing use of air-independent propulsion, both of which add substantially to the cost of diesel-electric boats.
“Over the long term, constant shifts in the structure of construction costs and the steadily growing number of countries that are interested in nuclear-powered submarines mean that the average cost of submarines will continue to increase on an annual basis,” said warships analyst Stuart Slade, author of the report.
The submarine market is divided into three subsectors. The first is the market for ballistic missile submarines, or SSBNs. There are 13 such submarines on order or under construction. These represent 11.7 percent of the total market in terms of numbers but are valued at $26 billion, representing 24.5 percent of the total value of the market. The average unit cost of the SSBNs is $2.0 billion.
In the long term, both the British and U.S. navies are evaluating possible successors to their existing SSBN units, the Vanguard and Ohio classes, respectively. The British program is designated SSBN(R) or Successor; the U.S. program, SSBN(X). Both navies have elected to stay with the traditional SSBN concept, although both SSBN(X) and SSBN(R) will carry significantly fewer missiles than their predecessors did. Overall, the SSBN sector looks healthier now than it has in many years.
The second sector is the market for nuclear-powered attack submarines, or SSNs. The projections show sales of 27 such submarines, representing 24 percent of the total number and valued at $48.32 billion. This represents 45.7 percent of the total funding for all submarines over the forecast period. The average unit value of the SSNs covered in this survey is $1.79 billion. Interestingly, the differential in value between SSNs and SSBNs has fallen precipitously over the last few years.
The final sector is the market for SSKs, or diesel-electric submarines. From 2011-2020, 71 of these boats will be built, representing 64 percent of the total. They are valued at $32.4 billion, representing 30.36 percent of the total expenditure on submarines from 2011-2020. A notable factor this year is that the average cost of diesel-electric submarines has increased to $456 million.
Forecast International, Inc. is a leading provider of Market Intelligence and Analysis in the areas of aerospace, defense, power systems and military electronics. Based in Newtown, Conn., USA, Forecast International specializes in long-range industry forecasts and market assessments used by strategic planners, marketing professionals, military organizations, and governments worldwide.