New Columbia-class SSBN submarines enter design phase with $5.1b contract award

Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $5.1 billion contract for detailed design work and technology development for the new generation of US ballistic missile submarines.

Under the contract, GDEB will complete design and prototyping efforts for the Columbia-class submarines including work on common missile compartment for the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class SSBNs.

The contract award follows a successful Milestone B (MS B) approval on January 4 this year. To pass Milestone B, a program must have validated requirements, independent cost estimates, full funding over the the next five years and an updated acquisition strategy. Passing the MS B, the Columbia Program entered into the engineering and manufacturing development phase.

The 12-ship Columbia-class will replace the existing Ohio-class nuclear ballistic submarine force. The navy expects to spend $128 billion to acquire the 12 boats.

According to the navy, the first patrol of the lead ship, SSBN 826, is scheduled for fiscal year 2031.

The contract announced on September 21 follows a five-year, $1.85 billion award Electric Boat received in December 2012 to perform research and development work for the new class of ballistic-missile submarines.

“Awarding this contract is an important step in ensuring an on-time construction start in FY 2021,” said Rear Adm. David Goggins, Columbia Class Program manager. “The Navy and our industry partners are excited to begin this important phase of the Navy’s number one acquisition priority.”

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