Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has been awarded a $197 million modification to a previously awarded contract from General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) to provide long-lead-time material and advance construction activities for the first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, the future USS Columbia (SSBN 826).
The advance procurement funds will be used to purchase major components and commodity material and to begin advance construction on Columbia (SSBN 826).
“This contract modification is critical in engaging the submarine industrial base as we continue our efforts to support starting full construction in Fiscal Year 2021,” said Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president for Columbia-class construction.
Columbia-class submarine, formerly known as the Ohio Replacement Submarine and SSBN-X Future Follow-on Submarine, is a future U.S. 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 HII Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS). 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. 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 has X-shaped stern control surfaces (hydroplanes), sail-mounted dive planes and integrated electric propulsion. 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 Fiscal Year 2021 with the first delivery to the Navy in 2028. The submarine will enter service in 2031 (some 50 years after its immediate predecessor, the Ohio class, entered service). The submarine class will serve through 2085.