General Dynamics Receives $104.2M Contract for Columbia/Dreadnought Class SSBN Fire Control Systems

The U.S. Navy recently awarded a new contract to General Dynamics Mission Systems that includes a broad scope of work for the Columbia and Dreadnought ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) class to support development, production, and installation requirements.

The contract as awarded has a value of around $104 million over the next four years. This contract is the first for General Dynamics Mission Systems that is comprised of development, production, installation, and deployed-systems support exclusively for the Columbia/Dreadnaught (CLB/UKD) class of U.S. and U.K. submarine strategic weapons systems and subsystems. Work will primarily be performed in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and is expected to be complete by November 2024.

General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Maritime and Strategic Systems line of business will deliver the fire control system for the U.S. Navy’s first Columbia class submarine (US01) and the first U.S. Columbia class training facility (Kings Bay Trident Training Facility [KB-TTF]) as well as installation support and pre-deployment planning for both U.S. and U.K. sites. This contract also includes CLB/UKD design completion scope and continuation of design activities for the first planned Refresh of the CLB/UKD fire control system, as well as design support for CLB/UKD planning at the KB-TTF and procurement of the infrastructure material to support the new TTF labs. The majority of the work in support of this contract will take place in Pittsfield.

“Our support for the Navy’s strategic deterrent program spans over six decades, and forms the foundation of our U.S. Navy business,” said Laura Hooks, vice president of General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Strategic Systems business. “We are entering the next era of development and production for the Navy’s fire control system on the newest fleet of submarines demonstrating our ongoing relationship, built on trust, partnership and innovation, with the U.S. and U.K. naval forces.”

Columbia-class and Dreadnought class SSBNs

The Columbia-class submarine is a future U.S. Navy nuclear submarine class designed to replace the current SLBM-armed Ohio-class submarines. The lead boat, future USS Columbia (SSBN-826), is scheduled to begin construction in 2021 and enter service in 2031 (some 50 years after its immediate predecessor, the Ohio class, entered service).

Columbia-class SSBN
Rendering of future Columbia-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) of the U.S. Navy.

These two submarine classes will carry the UGM-133A Trident II (D5) submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). The Ohio class boats will reportedly carry 16 missile launch tubes each while Vanguard-class submarines will carry 12 SLBM missile tubes each.

Dreadnought class is the replacement for the British Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class of ballistic missile submarines which entered service in the 1990s with an intended service life of 25 years. Construction on the lead submarine HMS Dreadnought started in October 2016 at the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard operated by BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines. The submarine is expected to enter service in the late 2020s or early 2030s.

Dreadnought-class SSBN
Rendering of a Dreadnought-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) of the UK Royal Navy.

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