Construction of next generation of U.S. ballistic missile submarines is underway.Stephen Singer, Hartford Courant
5 January 2017
The Pentagon announced Wednesday night the start of engineering and manufacturing at Electric Boat of the Columbia-class submarine, the next generation of ballistic missile submarines.
It's the second of three stages, beginning with development of technology and ending with production and deployment. Until now, the work has focused on research and development.
In addition, $773 million in a separate fund for the Columbia was made available Wednesday.
“For eastern Connecticut, today's news underscores the positive outlook for hiring and growth across the submarine industrial base in our region,” Rep. Joe Courtney said.
The start of engineering and manufacturing is “outside the theoretical, analytical computer-aided design phase,” he said. “You're cutting steel and making stuff.”
Courtney, a Democrat whose congressional district includes EB, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp., said the phase does not call for “full bore production,“ but instead puts the pieces together for the first ship, starting with the missile compartment
The engineering and manufacturing development phase calls for the design and development of a system, technologies and capabilities are adopted in the system and preparations are made for manufacturing, including developing manufacturing processes, designing for mass production and managing cost.
The first boat could require five years to be built, with each remaining boat built over two years.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called the Pentagon announcement a “milestone step” that will lead to the construction of 12 submarines in Groton and Quonset Point, R.I.
Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said producing the submarines will extend 10 to 20 years and they will be in use for decades.
Submarine manufacturing in Connecticut got a boost last month in defense spending measures in the House of Representatives and Senate. More than $5 billion was budgeted for two Virginia-class submarines, including $85 million more than what President Obama sought.
The Ohio replacement subs, renamed Columbia-class, received $1.9 billion.