General Dynamics has secured a potential $104.2M contract to develop, produce and install systems for the American Columbia-class and the British Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarines.

The following contract notice was posted on the 11th of June:

“General Dynamics Mission Systems, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is awarded a $104,214,429 cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-no-fee contract (N00030-20-C-0003) for fiscal 2020-2023 Columbia (US01) and Dreadnought ballistic missile submarine class development, production and installation requirement.  Work will be performed in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (90%); the United Kingdom (6%); Quonset Point, Rhode Island (3%); and Groton, Connecticut (1%).  Work is expected to be complete by November 2024. 

Fiscal 2020 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $26,390,000; United Kingdom funds in the amount of $10,727,082; and fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $2,210,541 are obligated on this award, and no funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract is being awarded to the contractor on a sole-source basis under 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) and four were previously synopsized on the Federal Business Opportunities website.  Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.”

The company’s mission systems business will perform the services and receive initial funds amounting to $39.3M, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.

GDMS is expected to complete work by November 2024.

The Columbia and Dreadnought submarines will replace the Ohio and Vanguard classes.

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As Mission systems are at the heart of the capability of any weapons package, it was a forgone conclusion that a US defence firm was going to win this one. But how much parity will there be between the mission systems installed on a Columbus or Dreadnought? Will they be identical? Or is it a good excuse for the US to keep the Royal Navy in a short leash, by building in a backdoor? I’m cynical and believe that no system is ever built to be identical to a US owned and operated one, even if we have a ‘Special… Read more »

George Royce

I agree.

But the real issue is, why don’t we have our own nuclear missile and systems? I think it’s about time we looked at our nation in a different light. We have to stand up on our own two feet. I don’t believe in the ‘special relationship’. One our citizens was killed by an America, and they won’t send her back to face charges. Not so special if you ask me.


I think that’s a bit unfair on the US. The death of the boy was awful and the woman in question should voluntarily come back to the UK and face justice. The US is not the only offender: a Brazilian diplomat’s grandson shot and assaulted someone in the US and the American courts threw out the case against him on the basis of diplomatic immunity. The system needs reform for sure, but it should be done carefully because I can imagine Putin relishing the prospect of banging up British diplomats.


And when a cyber terrorist named Gary McKinnon was supposed to be extradited to the United States to face felony charges after a complete and thorough court review for committing acts of cyberterrorism against US Forces, some of whom were stationed in the UK because the UK was incapable of defending itself without US assistance, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, blocked the extradition in order to pander to the British Media engaged in one of its periodic outbursts of anti-Americanism. Indeed, the relationship isn’t so special.


Not so special to US politicians, in fact things like Whisky are currently being hit with massive tariffs, they don’t give a toss about us economically.

I think the Pentagon and MoD thinks we have a very special relationship considering our carriers are being fully integrated with US forces.

But what else? Diplomatically America is acting like “the bad guys” right now, we should continue to have nothing to do with this administrations unilateralism.

Andy P

“But what else? Diplomatically America is acting like “the bad guys” right now, we should continue to have nothing to do with this administrations unilateralism.”

This is one administration, its going to last 4 or 8 years. Life will go on after it, lets worry about that. I know we’re in the middle of the ‘wobble’ and there’s some bizarre calls coming out of The Whitehouse but it will pass.

George Royce

The thing is, the economic case for the UK is very strong. Everybody and their pet budgie knows the EU is very protectionist, we could become a Singapore on steroids.

We have the talent, funding and manufacturing capability to make our own nukes and become militarily independent of NATO. The politicians don’t have the backbone.


The economic case for the UK is just not that strong, either as a member of the EU or as independent of the EU. The fact is that the UK’s manufacturing base is hollowed out. 70% of the UK’s GDP comes from the City and the services industry and those services can easily be moved to another location. The City has prospered because the UK has been willing to look the other way as to the sources of a large percentage of the funds flowing through the UK. The UK has 16 companies listed in the Fortune 500. Not one… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

The Special Relationship George is primarily in the field of Intelligence, ( the Anglosphere nations, more commonly known in the media as 5 eyes ) and other areas such as SF, submarine operations, and R&D – DSTL / DARPA, AWE, aerospace tech, and so on.

Politics bubbles away above that, beneath, it continues, for the benefit of all parties.

Daniele Mandelli

The other “hot potato” with that is that the woman in question is either NSA or CIA, as is her husband. They were working at Croughton.


I am sure the US will be getting access to data such as sonar recordings etc, probably all of it, just like the F35, and I am sure they could stop support for this mission system at any time, thereby shutting down our deterrent. I really think this kind of software needs to be sovereign. I am also worried that this is going to have a negative impact on the Astute successor which surely we want to be software compatible with Dreadnaught. We need to be developing open software architecture that weapons plug into, it’s ridiculous that this state of… Read more »

Mark L

This is a contract for the strategic mission system that controls the Trident missiles. The tactical mission system that interfaces to the sonar and torpedoes is separate and produced in the UK. The strategic mission system on the Vanguards also comes from the US as did its predecessor on the R class.


Great!, thanks for the clarification.


Probably the systems that deal with launching the nukes.