HII’s Newport News delivered the stern of the first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine to General Dynamics Electric Boat over the weekend, HII chief executive officer Chris Kastner told reporters Monday.
The stern of the future USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826) left Newport News on the specialized barge Holden designed to haul the section up the East Coast and has arrived at Quonset Point in Rhode Island, USNI News understands.
The delivery marks a major milestone in the construction of the lead boat in the Columbia-class nuclear ballistic submarine program, which will replace the Ohio-class submarines as the sea-based leg of the nuclear triad.
Newport News builds the stern and the bow sections of the submarines in Virginia, while EB builds the mid-section of the boats in Groton, Conn., and Quonset Point, R.I. The scheme is an extension of the Virginia-class building arrangement from the start of the class.
During the same briefing, Kastner said HII’s Mission Technologies would bid for the work to dismantle both the former USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
HII’s Newport News already defuels the reactors from the aircraft carriers because it’s the only yard with the capability to do so, but Mission Technologies will compete for the contract to dismantle the ships after they are defueled, Kastner said.
Kastner would not disclose where it would dismantle the carriers if HII won the contract but said, “There’s only a couple places [where] that can happen.”
As of 2022, the Navy was mulling several options for Enterprise, including having a commercial yard dismantle the ship, according to a draft plan released at the time. The commercial yard option would enable Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, the Navy’s public shipyard in Washington state, to chew through its backlog of in-service work.
The Navy deactivated Enterprise, its first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, in 2012 and decommissioned it in 2017. Since then, Enterprise has remained at Newport News as the service figures out a plan forward for dismantlement.
The 2022 draft plan listed the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C., Waste Control Specialists, LLC., in Andrews, Texas, and EnergySolutions in Clive, Utah as potential facilities to remove the low-level radioactive waste and dismantle the ship after the reactors are defueled.
Since leaving service, Enterprise hulk has been stored at Newport News.