General Dynamics Electric Boat, a business unit of General Dynamics, announced on 6th November that the U.S. Navy has awarded it a $9.474 billion contract modification option for construction and test of the lead and second ships of the Columbia class, 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.
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.
“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,” said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat. “We are grateful for the unwavering support of the Navy and Congress in securing funding to avoid disruption of this critical program.”
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.