the american company General Dynamics Electric Boat has reported the laying of the keel for the submarine “District of Columbia” (SSBN 826) at its facilities at Quonset Point (Rhode Island). It is a ceremony in which a plate is welded to the keel with the initials of those who “godmother” the ship, in this case the congresswoman of the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and the mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser .
This vessel is the first of the new class of ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) that the company is building for the US Navy. Rthey will replace the 14 Ohio-class (SSBN 726) that will begin to be withdrawn from service in 2027. Each class is named after the first ship in the series.
“With the Columbia-class program, the Navy has relied on our company to uphold our nation’s nuclear deterrence program, continuing the company’s legacy of delivering the most technically advanced submarines in the world”, said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat. “These submarines are critical to our national defense and will embody the commitment to excellence that our shipbuilders bring to their work every day.”
The design of this new series of submarines began in 2007 when the Navy turned to GDEB to work together on the conceptual design of the submersibles that they were to replace the Ohio class, which entered service in the early 1980s. The Columbia class, of which in principle 12 units will be built, they will be armed with 16 missiles each, which in total will represent approximately 70% of the country’s nuclear arsenal. the submarines they are the stealthiest and longest surviving of the country’s nuclear triad of land, air and sea nukes.
With a length of 170 meters, 13 meters wide, and a displacement of 20,810 tonsthe “District of Columbia” it will be the largest submarine ever built by the US. Its reactor will not require refueling during its planned service life, making the ship more cost-effective to operate and maximizing its time in deployment, the company reports.
In addition to the missiles, the submarine it will be armed with Mk 48 torpedoes and feature superior acoustic performance and state-of-the-art sensors to make it the most capable and quietest ever built.
The “District of Columbia” is designed for modular construction and is supported at its Quonset Point shipyards by more than 3,000 suppliers across the country, including major bow and stern components manufactured by the main subcontractor Newport News Shipbuilding.
The modules will be transported by barge to GDEB’s shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, where they will be assembled into a complete, fully outfitted and tested hull prior to delivery to the Navy. To that end, a 20,000-square-foot assembly building is being built in Groton for the project, which will be operational in time for the arrival of the first module in 2023.
The “District of Columbia” is the latest in an ongoing relationship between GDEB and the U.S. ballistic missile-armed submarine fleet., the first of which, the “USS George Washington”, was designed and built by the company and delivered in 1959. This was followed by the design and construction of the submersibles “USS Ethan Allen”, “USS Lafayette” and ” USS Benjamin Franklin. The 18 Ohio-class units were designed by General Dynamics and built at their Quonset Point and Groton facilities.
The “District of Columbia” it is scheduled for delivery in 2027 and is expected to begin its first deployment in 2030. The useful life of the series will be extended until the year 2080.
The ship was originally going to be called simply Columbia, but another US Navy ship with the same name already exists.
“The Columbia program was named in 2016 and the submarine is scheduled to enter service in 2027, overlapping accordingly with the existing “USS Columbia” (SSN 771). SSBN 826 will be named after the nation’s capital, while SSN 771 is named after cities in South Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois named Columbia, following the naval tradition of SSNs being named after American cities.” assured the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), Carlos Del Toro.
General Dynamics is a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services in commercial aviation; ship building and repair; ground combat vehicles, weapons systems and ammunition; and technology products and services. It employs more than 100,000 people worldwide and had a turnover of 38.5 billion dollars in 2021.