General Dynamics Awarded $481 Million for Continued Development of U.S. Navy’s Next Ballistic Missile Submarine

General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) has been awarded a $480.6 million contract modification by the U.S. Navy to continue the development of the lead Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, the future USS Columbia (SSBN-826).

The modification includes funding for advance procurement, advance construction and long lead time material for the SSBN-826. Construction of the lead ship of the class is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2020.

The Navy plans to build a fleet of 12 new nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) which will form the nation’s next-generation sea-based strategic deterrent.

Initially awarded in September 2017, the overall contract has a potential value of $6.1 billion.

“In close collaboration with the Navy and the submarine industrial base, Electric Boat will continue to lead key aspects of the Columbia-class development effort. This work includes design, material procurement, construction and operating-cost reduction. The entire Columbia-class team is committed to achieving an affordable and effective program. Our nation’s security depends on it,” said Electric Boat President Jeffrey S. Geiger.

General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB), a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD), is an American company involved in the design, construction and lifecycle support of U.S. Navy submarines. The company’s three primary locations are in Groton and New London, Conn.; and Quonset Point, R.I and its current workforce is approximately 16,800 employees.

Columbia-class SSBN

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.

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