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Report to Congress on Columbia Class Submarine Program

The following is the Oct. 4, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN-826) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

  • NavySubNuke

    What we really need to do is add 2 more — put one in 2023 to get back some of the force structure we lost when the Obama administration slipped the program 2 years too late and then add in boat 14 two – three years after 12.
    Then keep the production line open by buying incrementally upgraded SSGNs on 1 every 4 – 5 year basis like we buy carriers so we don’t have to create the large diameter submarine and submarine missile tube production lines the 2060s when we are replacing the COLUMBIA.

    • Stephen

      We keep making the same mistake; production facilities are s/d when an extension would have made more sense. Navy could use a purpose-built SSGN. Loss of Public shipyards is felt in the maintenance & modernization arenas. (Drydocks)

      • NavySubNuke

        Agreed. Unfortunately we short shortsightedly identify as “waste” anything that doesn’t appear to have an immediate purpose even if just a minor change in circumstances would make it not just helpful but absolutely necessary.
        NNSA actually takes the crown on this one but the Navy and the rest of DoD in general isn’t too far behind.
        At least congress has forced the army to keep our (single) tank factory open despite repeated attempts by the army to shut it down for a few years and then reopen when we need it — as if that is going to work out well! Hopefully we do the same with our large diameter submarine production capability.
        Oh add a few drydocks to supplement the current 50 – 100+ year old dry docks at the shipyards would definitely be a nice bonus too.

        • Stephen

          I found it very disturbing to force upgrades on platforms, only to be decommissioned. Again, requiring facility modernization, shops, machinery, drydocks & cranes updated, including new acquisitions; abandoned. Premier welding engineering & metallurgy simply disbanded. (We secreted them to a new location.) It’s like playing poker & realizing that I’ve thrown away a Full House or Royal Straight…

  • Leatherstocking

    We’re already talking a 2 year stretch in production to 2037 and clearly there is no infrastructure at HII-NNS, GDEB or the supplier base to support the mythical rate of one boat per year in the mid-2020s. The supplier base has had a major outflow of experienced personnel due to downsizing and retirements. Many subsystem activities are being staffed with lead engineers with 1-3 years of experience. Add 42 years to 2035 and you get 2077. Can you support today’s technology 60 years out when the delivered base is only 12 units? (Have you tried buying any new-manufacture electronic parts made in 1957?) CRs and erratic buying has closed/eliminated many second and third tier suppliers. Congress and the DoN think they can sprinkle fairy dust on the boats and extend their lives for decades. Seawolf sustainment is already an issue because there are only 3 boats and truncating that program killed off many subcontractors. In olden days, suppliers would bank spare parts on their own dime but when they close up, those spares are bought up and disappear into the gray market. Sustainment over the 60 year life (from today) needs more than the current policy of hope and pray.