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.
John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics