The defence prime has secured funding to further the development of Columbia Class submarines.
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General Dynamics Electric Boat, a division of General Dynamics, has announced its receipt of a modification to a previously awarded Columbia Integrated Product and Process contract from the Naval Sea Systems Command.
The contract modification, valued at approximately US$314 million (AU$446 million), is expected to support the development and expansion of a submarine industrial base and the subsequent production of Columbia Class ballistic missile submarines.
The deal is also tipped to provide additional support for the manufacturing, procurement and delivery efforts for United Kingdom Strategic Weapon Support System kits.
“Ballistic-missile submarines are the critical, survivable leg of our nation’s nuclear arsenal and Columbia is the Navy’s top acquisition priority,” Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat, said.
“We are grateful for the steadfast trust and support the Navy and Congress have in Electric Boat as we continue the work we began 15 years ago to deliver Columbia and the next 60 years of deterrence for our nation.”
The Columbia Class submarine is billed as a 560-feet (170 metres) long vessel with a load capacity of nearly 21,000 tonnes – the largest ever built by the United States.
The Columbia Class submarine is expected to have a life-of the-ship fuel core, capable of powering the submarine for its entire service life.
General Dynamics Electric Boat is scheduled to deliver the lead ship to the US Navy in 2027.
Last November, the US Navy awarded a US$9.5 billion contract to General Dynamics to construct and test the lead and second ships of the Columbia Class ballistic missile submarines SSBN 826 and SSBN 827.
This award covered the full construction scope for the first-of-class, SSBN 826, Columbia, for SSBN 827, Wisconsin, the modification covers advance procurement, advance construction, and associated engineering efforts, with full construction beginning in fiscal year 2024 upon Congressional authorisation and appropriation.
The company has been tasked with performing about 78 per cent of the construction of the Columbia Class.
Construction of four of the six “supermodules” will take place at Electric Boat’s Quonset Point Facility, Rhode Island.