Navy awards $9.4 billion contract to Electric Boat to start building next-generation missile submarines

Nov. 10, 2020
Program delays would force commanders to decide how many Ohio subs must stay in service when the Columbias start coming on line in the early 2030s.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy has awarded a $9.4 billion contract for General Dynamics Electric Boat to start work on the first two Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines -- work considered so critical to the Pentagon that Congress granted it an exception in the two-month continuing resolution passed in October. Breakind Defense reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

10 Nov. 2020 -- Getting the work started is critical because today's Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines are to be replaced in the 2030s, and will begin retiring at the end of this decade. The 12 Columbia subs eventually will carry 70 percent of the nation’s nuclear weapons, so any gap between the Ohio retirements and new Columbias could hurt the nuclear triad.

Construction is to begin this month and continue on a tight delivery schedule of 2028. Navy officials have warned for the past year that any schedule slippage would ripple across the entire submarine fleet, so getting the Columbia boats in the water is more important than other shipbuilding programs.

Columbia’s program manager points out the Navy hasn’t designed and built a new class of ballistic missile submarines since the 1970s, but has wrapped up its design efforts with plenty of time to test new technologies on land first.

Related: Navy wants more AN/BLQ-10 submarine electronic warfare (EW) systems to detect hostile radar signals at sea

Related: Boeing to develop new payloads, capabilities, and missions for Orca large long-range unmanned submarines

Related: Navy orders nine new Virginia-class submarines with additional missile tubes for enhanced undersea warfare

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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