The U.S. Navy NAVSUP FLC Norfolk SUPSHIP Groton team is providing transportation management for the movement of components of the Strategic Weapons System to the United Kingdom. According to Transportation Manager Melanie Foreman, the first parts in support of the NAVSEA Columbia Class program have arrived in the UK. Overall, the team is responsible for the shipment of 48 outfitted missile tubes from the US to the UK. The missile tube are shared between the American USS Columbia class submarine and the UK’s HMS Dreadnought class under the Common Missile Compartment (CMC) program. She added that the UK intends to buy four ship sets of outfitted missile tube, with each submarine having 12 tubes.
Foreman said the process also provides hazardous material certifications, truck inspections and keeps all stakeholders informed on the status of the shipments of these large components across the Atlantic. Cooperation of this type between the two countries dates back to the 1960s and the Polaris Sales agreement. These missile tubes have been designed so the UK can build and integrate them into their new submarines. Foreman says the delivery of the CMC took years of preparations and the missile tubes required for the first Dreadnought hull were delivered to the UK earlier this year.
The Dreadnought class is the future replacement for the Vanguard class of ballistic missile submarines. Like their predecessors they will carry Trident II D-5 missiles. The Vanguard submarines entered service in the United Kingdom in the 1990s with an intended service life of 25 years. Their replacement is necessary if the Royal Navy is to maintain a continuous at-sea deterrent (CASD), the principle of operation behind the Trident system. Provisionally named “Successor” (being the successor to the Vanguard class SSBNs), it was officially announced in 2016 that the first of class would be named Dreadnought, and that the class would be the Dreadnought class.
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