General Dynamics‘ (GD) Electric Boat Division (GDEB) has been selected as the prime contractor by the US Navy to develop 12 new ballistic missile submarines for the Ohio replacement programme (ORP).

Under its new ‘Submarine Unified Build Strategy’, the US Navy has also revealed that Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ (HHI) Newport News Shipbuilding (HII/NNS) will act as the major supplier.

In a report to Congress on the ORP, the navy said that GDEB will perform final assembly on all 12 boats in the programme, while HII/NNS will design and construct major assemblies and OR modules that are similar to the parts built for Virginia-class boats.

“Our current fleet is strained beyond its ability to meet the demand for undersea capabilities.”

Additionally, the navy said that both the shipbuilders will continue to deliver Virginia-class submarines with GDEB continuing its prime contractor responsibility for the programme.

In view of the priority of the OR submarine programme, the delivery of Virginia-class submarines will be adjusted with HII/NNS performing additional deliveries.

According to the navy, ‘both shipbuilders have agreed to this build strategy’.

House Armed Services Committee seapower and projection forces subcommittee Democrat Joe Courtney was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Our current fleet is strained beyond its ability to meet the demand for undersea capabilities and…we need to do all we can to mitigate the looming shortfall in the decade ahead."

The Ohio Replacement Submarine is a futuristic US Navy nuclear submarine, which is being designed to replace the existing fleet of Trident missile-armed Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.

Image: An artist’s impression of the Ohio Replacement Submarine. Photo: courtesy of Captain William J Brougham, USN – programme director, OHIO Replacement Program – NAVSEA.