Perhaps lending some credence to the venerable song, “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean”, the US Navy is feverishly working on the next ballistic missile submarine designed to take over from the aging Ohio class missile submarines still prowling the ocean’s depths. The Columbia-class submarine, also known as the Ohio Replacement Submarine (formerly the SSBN-X Future Follow-on Submarine) is a future United States Navy nuclear submarine designed to replace the Trident missile-armed Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. The first submarine is scheduled to begin construction in 2021 and enter service in 2031 (some 50 years after its immediate predecessor, the Ohio class, entered service). From there, the submarine class will serve through 2085.
According to The National Interest, “The Navy’s new deal to produce the first 22 missile tubes for its new Columbia-class nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines comes at a time when the service is considering new build strategies for the submarines to address a massive funding shortfall for the top-priority program, Congressional and Navy officials explained.
General Dynamics Electric Boat recently received a new $101.3 million contract to build the new U.S.-U.K. Common Missile Compartment for the new submarines, slated to ultimately replace the existing Ohio-class fleet.
However, a newly released Congressional Research Service Report, called “Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN[X]) Program: Background and issues for Congress,” addresses substantial funding concerns expressed by senior Navy leaders. The primary concern, among other things, is that the Navy will need a substantial top-line budget increase in order to fund the new Columbia-class without massively depleting resources needed for other service platforms.” You can read up on the latest developments concerning the Columbia class submarine by going here: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-us-navy-new-plan-build-more-lethal-ballistic-missile-18258?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Early%20Bird%20Brief%2010.02.2016&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief