The U.S Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) a $126.1 million contract modification to continue development of the Common Missile Compartment for the U.S. Navy’s Columbia-class submarine and the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class (earlier called Successor-class) ballistic-missile submarine.
The contract modification includes funding for procurement of long-lead time material for missile tubes which will be integrated into both the U.S. Navy’s new SSBN and the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class strategic missile submarine.
Initially awarded in September 2017, the fourteen-year, $5.1 billion contract calls for Electric Boat to perform design and development work for the Navy’s next-generation ballistic-missile submarine, which is scheduled to begin construction in fall of 2020. The potential value of the overall contract is $6.1 billion.
Columbia-class submarine, formerly known as the Ohio Replacement Submarine and SSBN-X Future Follow-on Submarine, is a future United States Navy nuclear submarine class designed to replace the Trident missile-armed Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.
General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) is designing the Ohio replacement submarines with assistance from Newport News Shipbuilding. The U.S. Navy plans to construct a total of 12 Columbia-class submarines.
The submarines will be 560 feet (170.7 m) long and 43 feet (13.1 m) in diameter. That is the same length as the Ohio-class submarine design, and one foot larger in diameter. The vessel has X-shaped stern control surfaces (hydroplanes), sail-mounted dive planes and integrated electric propulsion.
Each submarine will have 16 missile tubes and each tube will be capable of carrying one Trident II D5LE submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Ohio-class subs had 24 missile launch tubes.
The vessel’s nuclear fuel core is sufficient to power the ship for its entire expected service life, unlike the Ohio-class submarines, which require a mid-life nuclear refueling. The boats may also be equipped with a Submarine Warfare Federated Tactical System (SWFTS), a cluster of systems that integrate sonar, optical imaging, weapons control etc.
The Columbia class was officially designated on December 14, 2016, by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, and the lead boat will be USS Columbia (SSBN-826).
The lead boat, Columbia is scheduled to begin construction in 2021 and enter service in 2031 (some 50 years after its immediate predecessor, the Ohio class, entered service). The submarine class will serve through 2085.
Dreadnought class is the replacement for the Vanguard class of ballistic missile submarines which entered service in the United Kingdom in the 1990s with an intended service life of 25 years. They will carry Trident D-5 missiles – the vehicle for delivering the UK’s nuclear weapons.
Previously named Successor class, it was officially announced on 21 October 2016 (to mark Trafalgar Day) that the first of class would be named Dreadnought, and that the class would be the Dreadnought class. The next three boats will also be given names with “historical resonance”.