General Dynamics Electric Boat awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding a contract worth up to $468 million to begin work on integrated product and process development for the upcoming Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine, according to an HII news release this week.
Electric Boat serves as the lead shipyard on the program and Newport News Shipbuilding as a subcontractor. As is the case with the Virginia-class attack submarine program, each yard will design and build separate portions of the SSBN.
The Navy awarded Electric Boat a $5.1-billion integrated product and process development contract on Sept. 21 for design completion, engineering analysis, component development, detail planning and more, according to the HII release. That work began Oct. 1, according to the HII news release.
“This contract leverages the productive partnership we’ve built with Electric Boat in the construction of Virginia-class submarines,” Dave Bolcar, vice president of submarine programs at Newport News Shipbuilding, said in the news release.
“We are excited and ready to do our part to support EB and deliver these submarines to the Navy in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”
Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin told USNI News in an Oct. 27 shipyard visit that her yard would be designing the portion of the submarine it would eventually build – a construct that has “really allowed that team to bring innovation into the design. They’ve come up with a lot of ideas that were presented to the lead design yard, Electric Boat, that’s just made so much sense in terms of designing in opportunities to take cost out.”
Boykin said the Columbia-class design team at the Virginia shipyard has design experience ranging from the old Seawolf-class submarine to the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier. The yard is leveraging that design experience, as well as about $1.5 billion in shipyard investments and a move to digital shipbuilding, to bring efficiency to the Columbia program.
Construction on the lead ship, Columbia (SSBN-826), will begin in Fiscal Year 2021, with delivery to the Navy in 2029 to support a 2031 maiden deployment.
Also this month, Electric Boat was awarded a $432-million contract modification by the Navy to “undertake development studies and other work related to Virginia-class submarine design improvements” and “perform research and development work required to evaluate new technologies to be inserted in newly built Virginia-class ships, including the Virginia Payload Module,” according to a company news release.