U.S. Navy awarding $9.5 billion to General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) Corporation to construct and test the lead and second ships of the Columbia class (SSBN 826 and SSBN 827), as well as associated design and engineering support. Electric Boat is the prime contractor on the Columbia program, which will replace the aging Ohio class of ballistic missile submarines. The 12-ship COLUMBIA Class 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, 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.
This 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. Work will be performed in Groton, Connecticut; Newport News, Virginia; Quonset Point, Rhode Island and is expected to be completed by April 2030.
Electric Boat will perform about 78% of the construction of the Columbia class and recently shifted the program to full-scale construction at the company’s manufacturing complex in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Construction of four of the six ‘supermodules’ will take place at Electric Boat’s Quonset Point facility. The supermodules will then be transported by barge to the company’s Final Test and Assembly yard in Groton, Connecticut, where the components will be assembled into a complete submarine in a 200,000 square-foot facility now under construction specifically for the Columbia class. General Dynamics recently reported that the design maturity for Columbia was almost 90% complete, nearly twice the level of design completion of the lead Virginia-class submarine when it started construction.
At 560 feet long with a displacement of nearly 21,000 tons, the submarines of the Columbia class will be the largest ever built by the United States. Ships of the Columbia class will have a life-of-ship fuel core that will power the submarine for its entire service life, eliminating the need for a mid-service refueling. Electric Boat will deliver the lead ship to the Navy in 2027. Electric Boat has been making preparations for construction of the Columbia class for nearly a decade, including advancing the design of this critical Navy asset, hiring and training thousands of skilled tradespeople, modernizing our facilities and helping to bolster the supply base. As a result, Columbia’s design is more advanced than that of any previous submarine program.