After the end of the Cold War in 1991, the U.S. Navy has been steadily declining in the quantitative composition of this trend will continue in the coming years. Many of the ships are nearing exhaustion of its life cycle (usually a life span of 30 to 50 years), and reaching for the replacement vehicles are much more expensive.
In the period 2001-2008 the U.S. Navy declined by 34 units (11% of the total) and descended to the level of 282 warships. This occurred despite an increase in the budget the Navy during this period by 54% (adjusted for inflation). In the past four years, the cumulative state of the increased only by two ships (284 units, naval command said the best part of 320 ships). With the expected reduction of the budget of the Navy warships in the next decade will be reduced to 230 units in the 2020s will be maintained at the level of 200.
The problem is the high cost of new vehicles. Ford-class aircraft carrier costs more than 10 billion U.S. dollars, the destroyer DDG-1000 of about $ 4 billion (DDG-51 destroyer is "only" 2.5 billion each). It was planned that the ships of coastal action LCS will cost 200 million dollars per unit, but in the end the price had risen to $ 1.5 billion per ship.
Nuclear submarines are also affected by this trend. Due to the reduction of allocated funds at the same time can lead the construction of only six major units per year. Navy forced to reduce the number of aircraft carriers are in the ranks.
These trends are forcing the U.S. Navy to rely more on precision-guided weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles, the combination of which will be cheaper than the content of a manned aircraft. Also, improved electronics and software as a system that can enhance the combat capability of the fleet at a lower cost.
In this context, renewed interest in diesel-electric submarines and mine-sweeping ships. These weapons systems have played an important role in the naval war against Japan (1941-45), and can be used in a possible military conflict with China in the Pacific.