The US Navy's Columbia-class submarine programme has passed its Milestone B review and can now begin the design and construction phase.
The programme will benefit from $773m that Congress has moved into the National Sea Based Deterrence Fund (NSBDF).
The NSBDF was created as a separate fund, through which the Columbia-class submarines development would be funded outside of the regular shipbuilding account.
Congressman Joe Courtney said: “Achieving this milestone is no small feat for a large programme like this one, and it represents years of hard work by many people, especially the men and women of Electric Boat.
“For eastern Connecticut, today’s news underscores the positive outlook for hiring and growth across the submarine industrial base in our region. It is also, however, really just the beginning of the hard work ahead in designing and building this submarine within the already tight timeline we face.”
General Dynamics Electric Boat is responsible for the design of the navy's future nuclear submarine, which is intended to replace the Trident missile-armed Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.
Construction on the first submarine is expected to begin in 2021, with plans to make it operational in 2031.
A total of 12 boats are planned to be built, and each submarine will have 16 missile tubes. Each tube will be capable of carrying a Trident II D5LE missile.
The ageing Ohio-class of submarines will be decommissioned, starting in 2027.