The U.S. Navy has awarded $9.5 billion to General Dynamics to construct and test the lead and second submarines of the Columbia class.
The U.S. Navy say that the award covers the full construction scope for the first-of-class, SSBN 826, COLUMBIA.
“For SSBN 827, WISCONSIN, the modification covers advance procurement, advance construction, and associated engineering efforts, with full construction beginning in Fiscal Year 2024 upon Congressional authorization and appropriation.
This incremental funding provided by this award is required for the first two ships will fund construction start, as well as provides industrial base stability, production efficiencies, and cost savings when compared to individual procurements. The COLUMBIA Class SSBN represents a significant investment in maintaining our strategic deterrent into the future.”
The 12-ship COLUMBIA Class, which will replace the existing OHIO Class nuclear ballistic submarine force, is scheduled for its first patrol in FY2030.
The COLUMBIA Class will be constructed with a life-of-ship reactor resulting in a shorter mid-life maintenance period. As a result, the U.S. Navy say that strategic nuclear deterrence requirements can be met with a smaller overall force structure of twelve Columbia Class submarines, compared to fourteen Ohio Class submarines, saving over $40B in acquisition and operational costs.