The Department of Defense’s (DoD) 2010 Nuclear Posture Review calls for recapitalization of the nation’s sea-based deterrent. In order to meet this requirement, the U.S. must begin construction of the lead ship of the Columbia Class (formerly Ohio Replacement) program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. Because these submarines will remain in service until 2080, they must provide cost-effective, state-of-the-art design and technology to ensure survivability. Efforts to reduce the design, construction and life cycle costs are a primary focus of the program.
Development of the Common Missile Compartment, a joint development effort between the U.S. and U.K. for replacement ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), is on track to support the construction schedules of both countries.
Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) is partnering with General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) to build the Columbia Class of submarines, the newest generation of ballistic missile submarines replacing the aging Ohio Class. The new submarines will make up one leg of the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent triad. The 561-foot-long/171-meter-long submarines will include a new life-of-ship reactor, an electric drive propulsion system and field 16 Trident II D5 (LE) ballistic missiles.
SSBNs Provide a Critical and Cost Effective U.S. Nuclear Deterrence
SSBNs are the most secure and survivable of our nation’s nuclear deterrent triad. Columbia SSBN’s will carry approximately 70 percent of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The cost of maintaining the U.S. triad is three percent of the DoD budget. The cost to maintain the SSBN leg of the triad is one percent of the DoD budget.
Maintain Design/Construction/Lifecycle Cost Targets.
Leverage Virginia technology, Supplier base, Lessons learned.
Leverage Virginia-class technology, the submarine supplier base and lessons learned.
New Quad Pack Modular Construction Technique
Our new modular construction technique outfits four missile tubes in factory environment to increase missile compartment modular construction from 2% during Ohio SSBN construction in the 1970’s to more than 85% on the Columbia SSBN. Once the four-tube section is assembled, this quad pack is completed with a hull section, joined with additional quad packs, and then outfitted as a complete missile compartment with decks, systems and other equipment.
Building on the success of the Virginia-class submarine program, NNS and EB will build 12 Columbia-class submarines between 2021 and 2039 with EB as the prime contractor. NNS will participate in the design and will manufacture major Columbia-class assemblies and modules, including the bow, stern, auxiliary machinery room, superstructure and weapons modules.
|Type||Ballistic missile submarine (SSBN)|
|Displacement (submerged)||20,810 long tons/metric tons 21,144|
|Length||561 feet/171 m|
|Hull Diameter||43 feet/13.1 m|
|Speed||20+ knots/23+ mph/37 km/h|
|Diving Depth||800+ feet/244+ m|
|Propulsion||Nuclear, Electric Drive|
|Weapons System||Trident II D5 (LE)|
Nuclear Submarine Lineup
|USS Columbia (SSBN-826)|
|USS Wisconsin SSBN-827|