General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) announced on December 21, 2022 the U.S. Navy has awarded a $5.1-billion modification of the previously awarded Columbia Integrated Product and Process Development Contract for the Columbia class of submarines, the nation’s next-generation sea-based strategic deterrent.
Electric Boat is the prime contractor on the Columbia program, which will replace the aging Ohio class ballistic missile submarines. The USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826) and USS Wisconsin (SSBN-827) are presently under construction.
The contract modification has a value of $5,134,324,189. Work will be performed in Groton, Connecticut; Quonset Point, Rhode Island; and Newport News, Virginia; and is expected to be completed by October 2030. The award funds advance procurement and advance construction of critical components and material to support Build II (the next five ships in the class), efforts to support continuous missile tube production, enhancements to develop the Submarine Industrial Base, and sustained class maintenance and support.
«This award enhances Electric Boat’s efforts to maintain the Columbia-class production and delivery schedule. Advance procurement of long lead time materials and component construction is critical to the program, and the strategic investments in the development and expansion of the Submarine Industrial Base will help stabilize and grow the supply chain, which increases manufacturing capacity, reduces risk, and ultimately drives timely delivery of submarines to the Navy», said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat.
At 560 feet/170.7 m 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 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.
General Dynamics Electric Boat conducted a keel laying ceremony for the first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826) at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, June 4.
Keel laying is an event in which the initials of the boat’s sponsor are welded onto a plate attached to the submarine, signifying a major milestone in the construction of a boat.
District of Columbia is the first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine being constructed in the minimum 12-ship class, which will replace the existing 14 Ohio-class nuclear-ballistic submarine force due to begin retiring from service in 2027.
Admiral Daryl Caudle, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, highlighted the significance of ballistic missile submarines as the most survivable leg of the U.S. military’s nuclear triad.
«As every ballistic-missile submarine has since the keel laying of USS George Washington (SSBN-598) here at Electric Boat in November 1958 – the District of Columbia, and all those in its class will continue to serve as the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad – standing constant watch far beneath the waves, as we have done for over 63 years – a stalwart deterrent against those who would seek to do the unspeakable», said Caudle.
Caudle also spoke on the keel laying of District of Columbia as a historic occasion in ensuring American’s freedom and way of life for the foreseeable future.
«Laying the keel of the future USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826) truly is a historic occasion – not only for the countless designers, welders, metal workers, electricians, and master craftsmen whose unmatched expertise, ingenuity, hard work, and dedication will bring this modern marvel to life – but for the future Sailors who will prowl the deep inside her hull, protecting our nation, deterring strategic attacks, and ensuring our freedom and way of life for decades to come», said Caudle.
Secretary of the U.S. Navy Carlos Del Toro, the event’s principal speaker, echoed Caudle’s sentiment on the importance of the Columbia-class being the largest, most capable and most advanced submarine produced by the U.S. as an insurance policy.
«As Admiral Caudle detailed, the Columbia class will be the cornerstone of our strategic deterrence, the ultimate guarantor of our National Security», said Del Toro. «Our strategic submarines represent approximately 70 percent of America’s deployed nuclear arsenal».
Del Toro continued to speak on the need to modernize our Submarine Force to ensure the safety and security of the world.
«Potential adversaries know the silent service is on patrol at this very moment, but they don’t know where and that protects us all», said Del Toro. «The venerable Ohio-class that has guarded us for decades is nearing the end of its service life. For the safety of our Sailors, and the security of our world, we must modernize our fleet, and our nuclear command, control, and communications systems».
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the boat’s sponsor and the delegate to the House of Representatives from the ship’s name, the USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826), attended the ceremony. Her initials were welded onto a plate by Electric Boat welder Maria Betance-Pizarro. «As a third-generation Washingtonian, I am excited and honored to be the sponsor of the future USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826)», said Norton. «I look forward to meeting and establishing relationships with the men and women who will serve aboard her».
The U.S. Navy, alongside Electric Boat, began the conceptual designs for Columbia in 2007 as a replacement for the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines. The Columbia-class will carry 16 missiles each, which in total represents approximately 70 percent of the U.S. nuclear triad.
The Columbia-class remains the U.S. Navy’s number one acquisition priority and is scheduled to see its first delivery in 2027. The transition from the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines to the new Columbia-class will ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.
At a length of 560 feet/170.7 m and displacing 20,810 long tons/metric tons 21,144, the USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826) will be the largest submarine ever built by the U.S. Its reactor will not require refueling during the lifetime of planned service making the ship more cost-effective to operate and maximizing its time in deployment. In addition to its complement of missiles, the submarine will be armed with Mk-48 torpedoes and will feature superior acoustic performance and state-of-the-art sensors to make it the most capable and quiet submarine ever built.
The Submarine Force executes the Department of the U.S. Navy’s mission in and from the undersea domain. In addition to lending added capacity to naval forces, the Submarine Force, in particular, is expected to leverage those special advantages that come with undersea concealment to permit operational, deterrent and combat effects that the Navy and the nation could not otherwise achieve.
The Submarine Force and supporting organizations constitute the primary undersea arm of the U.S. Navy. Submarines and their crews remain the tip of the undersea spear.
On Monday, November 29, 2021, the new Ocean Transport Barge Holland arrived at EB’s Groton Shipyard. The 400-foot-long/122-meter-long barge was purpose-built to support delivery of Columbia class ballistic missile submarines. Electric Boat is the prime contractor on construction of the Columbia class, the nation’s top strategic defense priority.
The Holland was constructed by Bollinger Shipyards, LLC, of Lockport, Louisiana. The namesake of the new barge is John Holland, the Irish-born immigrant who designed the first submarine purchased by the U.S. Navy. Holland’s design was brought to life by the shipbuilders of Electric Boat and delivered in 1900.
«We are happy to welcome Holland to her new home in the Groton shipyard», said Kevin Graney, President, General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB). «Our fellow shipbuilders at Bollinger have delivered a terrific asset, on time and on budget. Holland will play an important role in the construction of the Columbia class of submarines, which will carry nearly 70% of the nation’s nuclear arsenal».
The Columbia class is now being built at Electric Boat’s Quonset Point, RI manufacturing facility. Skilled tradespeople will construct and outfit Columbia modules at Quonset Point which will then be transported by the Holland barge to the company’s final test and assembly facility in Groton. The first Columbia module is expected to arrive in Groton in 2023.
Construction of the Columbia class, which will replace the aging Ohio class, is the nation’s top strategic defense priority. For nearly 15 years, Electric Boat has been working on plans to execute the design and construction of this crucial program. As a consequence, the Columbia class was the most complete design of any previous class of submarine at construction start in October of 2020. The company has hired and trained thousands of new skilled tradespeople, collaborated with its suppliers to prepare for the expanded demand for technical support and invested nearly $2 billion in new facilities to support construction of the Columbia class.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division has been awarded a contract modification from General Dynamics Electric Boat in support of construction on the first two Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines.
The contract modification, valued at approximately $2.2 billion, provides continued design support efforts, as well as the construction and delivery of six module sections for each of the first two Columbia-class submarines.
As part of the contract, Newport News will deliver the completed modules to Electric Boat for final assembly. The contracted module delivery dates are scheduled to start in November 2022 with the last module delivery taking place by January 2028.
«We are pleased to be a crucial design and manufacturing contributor to the Columbia-class program», said Charles Southall, Newport News’ vice president of Columbia-class Submarine Construction. «This contract continues NNS’ longstanding and strong commitment to the Navy’s undersea enterprise through the design and construction of major modules and assemblies necessary to achieve program objectives».
Newport News is a major contractor and shipbuilding partner in the Columbia-class program, and in May 2019 began advance construction activities on the lead ballistic missile submarine under contract to Electric Boat.
The Columbia class will replace the fleet of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. The lead ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2027.
General Dynamics Electric Boat announced on June 12, 2020 that it had signed a contract to begin the next phase of construction on a facility to support construction of the nation’s new class of ballistic-missile submarines. The company signed a $544 million contract with AECOM of Los Angeles, California, to complete the construction of the South Yard Assembly Building (SYAB), the centerpiece of the biggest facility expansion in 50 years at the company’s Groton shipyard.
In September 2019 the company broke ground on the SYAB, a 200,000 square-foot/18,580 square-meter building that will eventually be home to 1,400 skilled shipbuilders who will deliver the Columbia class to the U.S. Navy. Electric Boat is also expanding and modernizing other manufacturing spaces in Groton and building a floating dry dock.
Electric Boat is the prime contractor on the design and build of the 12 ships of the Columbia class, which will replace the aging Ohio-class of ballistic-missile submarines. Early construction began in 2017 at the company’s facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Final assembly and test of the Columbia class will take place starting in 2024 at Electric Boat’s shipyard in Groton.
«General Dynamics Electric Boat continues to make investments – in facilities, in our supply chain and in the next generation of shipbuilders – to support the Columbia class, the Navy’s top strategic priority», said EB President Kevin Graney. «Efficient completion of the SYAB will position us to begin delivering the next-generation of ballistic submarines in advance of the Ohio-class retiring from service».
The South Yard Assembly Building is part of an overall $1.7 billion investment the company is making in modernizing and upgrading its facilities to meet the expanded needs of the U.S. Navy.
The company has hired and trained thousands of new employees and has worked with its national network of suppliers to prepare for the estimated 150% increase in the need for supplies and materials to concurrently build the Columbia and Virginia classes.
The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $5.1 billion Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) contract to complete the design of the lead Columbia-class submarine – USS Columbia (SSBN-826), the nation’s next-generation sea-based strategic deterrent. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD).
«Working closely with the U.S. Navy and the submarine industrial base, Electric Boat will continue to lead critical aspects of the Columbia-class development effort, including design, material procurement, construction and operating-cost reduction, to achieve an affordable and effective program», said Electric Boat President Jeffrey S. Geiger.
The IPPD contract includes funding for component and technology development as well as continued development of the Common Missile Compartment, which will be integrated into both the U.S. Navy’s new SSBN and the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class strategic missile submarine.
Construction of the lead Columbia-class submarine is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2020. The U.S. Navy plans to build a fleet of 12 new SSBNs.
The contract announced today follows a five-year, $1.85 billion award Electric Boat received in December 2012 to perform research and development work for the U.S. Navy’s new class of ballistic-missile submarines.
General Dynamics Electric Boat has established standards of excellence in the design, construction and lifecycle support of U.S. Navy submarines. In its position as an industry leader, Electric Boat remains committed to applying its technical strengths and business expertise to effectively manage the challenges of nuclear-submarine production. The company’s three primary locations are in Groton and New London, Connecticut; and Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Its current workforce is approximately 15,800 employees.