Tag Archives: USS Columbia (SSBN-826)

Bearing Support Structures

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on March 2, 2022 that it has delivered to the U.S. Navy the first of two Bearing Support Structures (BSS) for installation in the first Columbia-class submarine USS Columbia (SSBN-826) currently under construction. GA-EMS has been under contract with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) since 2019 to fabricate and deliver the BSSs according to exacting U.S. Navy specifications and construction schedules.

USS Columbia (SSBN-826)
General Atomics Delivers First of Two Bearing Support Structures For Columbia-Class Submarines

«For a project involving the size and complexity of a BSS, we brought the technical strength of our manufacturing engineering, machining, welding and quality expertise together to successfully execute the deliverable on spec and on time», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «We are extremely proud of our team as we continue to manufacture and deliver these critical structures to support the Navy’s Columbia-class submarine program».

GA-EMS was awarded the second BSS delivery order in September 2021. Manufacturing activities have started at GA-EMS’ facilities in Tupelo, Mississippi. GA-EMS will deliver the second BSS at the end of 2023 to support the full construction start date of the U.S. Navy’s second Columbia-class submarine in fiscal 2024. The U.S. Navy intends to build 12 Columbia-class submarines over the next 20 years.

«The Navy has stated that the BSS is the largest nickel-copper weldment built to such exacting specifications ever created in the U.S.», said Forney. «The BSS is indeed one of the most significant projects we’ve undertaken and demonstrates our extensive technical expertise and unique manufacturing capabilities to meet the needs of the Navy for a variety of complex components».


Ship statistics

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
Range Unlimited
Complement 155 (accommodation)
Propulsion Nuclear, Electric Drive
Missile Tubes 16
Weapons System Trident II D5 (LE)


Nuclear Submarine Lineup

Name Laid down Christened Commissioned Homeport
USS Columbia (SSBN-826)
USS Wisconsin SSBN-827



Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) hosted a ceremonial first-cut-of-steel event on May 23, 2019, at its Newport News Shipbuilding division to mark the start of advance construction for the Columbia-class submarine program.

Newport News Shipbuilding officially began advance construction of the first Columbia-class submarine on Thursday – three weeks ahead of schedule. Pictured (left to right) are Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president for Columbia-class construction; John Lennon, vice president of the Columbia-class submarine program at General Dynamics Electric Boat; Captain Jon Rucker, the Navy’s Columbia program manager; Rear Admiral Scott Pappano, the Navy’s Columbia program executive officer; and Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding (Photo by Matt Hildreth/HII)

With the press of a button, a plasma-burning machine cut the first steel plate that will be used to build USS Columbia (SSBN-826), the lead ballistic missile submarine. As Newport News continues its digital transformation, the event also marked the first class of submarines that will be built using fully digital blueprints.

«Today is a historic day», said Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president for Columbia-class construction. «It has been a half century since Newport News Shipbuilding has constructed a ballistic submarine. Today, we celebrate the decade-plus effort spent working with Electric Boat on the design of this new class of submarine as we formally transition from design to material procurement and now to construction execution».

Newport News is a major contractor and shipbuilding partner in the Columbia-class program and is performing advance construction activities under a contract the shipyard received from General Dynamics Electric Boat. The Columbia-class boats will replace the fleet of Ohio-class nuclear ballistic submarines. Newport News is starting its work three weeks ahead of schedule to support its advance construction efforts.

«The first cut of steel is a major construction milestone that signifies our shipyard and submarine industrial base are ready to move forward with production», Ward said. «We have worked to engage the submarine industrial base and leveraged lessons learned from the successful Virginia-class program to building the Columbia-class submarines in the most efficient and affordable manner to provide the best value to the Navy».

Ceremony participants included Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin; Rear Admiral Scott Pappano, Columbia’s program executive officer; Captain Jon Rucker, Columbia’s program manager; Will Lennon, vice president of the Columbia-class submarine program for General Dynamics Electric Boat; and shipbuilders.

Construction of the 12-boat Columbia class will take place in Virginia, Rhode Island and Connecticut, with Electric Boat assembling and delivering all of the submarines. The lead boat is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2027.

Product Development

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).

General Dynamics awarded $5 billion for design of U.S. Navy’s next ballistic-missile submarine
General Dynamics awarded $5 billion for design of U.S. Navy’s next ballistic-missile submarine

«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.