The U.S. Navy has awarded a $101.3-million contract modification to General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat subsidiary to continue development work for the Common Missile Compartment of the forthcoming Columbia-class nuclear submarine — a replacement series for the Navy's current Ohio-class and the United Kingdom's Successor-class ballistic-missile submarine. The contract modification authorizes Electric Boat to procure 22 missile tubes for manufacturing of the Common Missile Compartment.
Replacing the Ohio-class has been long-term project: it has been in discussion for nearly a decade, and in 2012 the Navy issued a five-year contract worth up to $1.85 billion to General Dynamics for research and development work. That initial contract covered design costs and continuing design work for a new common missile compartment for nuclear submarines – a project begun by the Navy with Electric Boat in 2008.
Electric Boat is the prime contractor for the Columbia-class program, and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding also will build some of the vessels. Numerous other contractors are involved designing and supplying various main components and systems.
The new submarines will be 560 feet long and 43 feet in diameter — the same length and roughly the same diameter as the Ohio-class subs. Each new submarine will have 16 missile tubes and each tube will be capable of carrying a Trident II D5LE missile.
The U.S. Navy plans to purchase 12 new submarines to replace its current Ohio-class ballistic submarine fleet. Construction is due to begin in 2021, with the first subs entering service in 2031.
The Columbia-class program is projected to have a service life of 50 years or more.