GD wins $5.1bn design contract for US Navy’s lead Columbia-class submarine

General Dynamics’ (GD) subsidiary Electric Boat has secured a $5.1bn integrated product and process development (IPPD) contract to complete the design of the US Navy’s lead Columbia-class submarine, USS Columbia (SSBN 826). 

Under the contract, the company will carry out designing, completion, component and technology development and prototyping for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), which is the latest sea-based strategic deterrent of the US. 

GD Electric Boat president Jeffrey S Geiger said: "Working closely with the 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 programme."

The IPPD project involves funding for both component and technology development, in addition to continued development of the common missile compartment (CMC). 

The CMC is set to be integrated into the US Navy’s new SSBN and the UK Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class strategic missile submarine. 

"This contract represents a significant investment in maintaining our strategic deterrent into the future."

US Navy secretary Richard V Spencer said: "This contract represents a significant investment in maintaining our strategic deterrent into the future, as well as our ongoing partnership with the UK."

The current award follows a successful Milestone B (MS B) approval received on 4 January this year. 

The US Nnavy intends to construct a fleet of 12 new Columbia-class SSBNs, which will replace the existing US Ohio-class nuclear ballistic submarines. 

Development work on the lead vessel will commence in the autumn of 2020, and the ship's first patrol is scheduled for the fiscal year 2031. 

In December 2012, the company was awarded a $1.85bn contract by the US Navy to conduct research and development work on the new class of SSBNs.