US Navy Columbia Class Submarine Program Moves to Detailed Design Phase

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  1. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    US Navy Missile Submarine Gets Go-Ahead

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    WASHINGTON -- The program to build a new class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines for the US Navy passed a major procedural hurdle Jan. 4, the US Navy announced Monday, allowing engineers and designers to move to the detail design portion of the effort.

    The Milestone B approval was granted by Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall for the Columbia-class program, previously known as the Ohio Class Replacement (ORP) and as SSBN(X).

    The US plans to design and build 12 Columbia-class submarines for a total acquisition cost of $100 billion – as measured in 2017 dollars – or $128 billion, as measured in total year dollars through the program, which stretches into the mid-2030s.

    In a statement, Columbia program director Capt. David Goggins declared “the Navy is committed to delivering Columbia on time and within budget while taking advantage of every opportunity to achieve further cost savings.”

    The official tally for the acquisition cost has been baselined at $100 billion, pegged to the year of the Milestone B review.

    With that approval, the Columbia class moves to the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the program. The first ship is scheduled to be ordered in 2021.

    “Milestone B enables the program to move into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase where we will focus our attention on achieving an 83 percent design maturity prior to construction start in 2021,” Goggins said in the statement, adding that the next phase will be a production readiness review.

    Read more:
    http://www.defensenews.com/articles/us-navy-missile-submarine-gets-go-ahead
     
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  2. Falcon

    Falcon Lieutenant Colonel Staff Member Social Media Team

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    Columbia Class Program

    Some Key Design Features

    The design of the SSBN(X), now being developed (see Figure 2), will reflect the following:

    •  The SSBN(X) is to be designed for a 42-year expected service life.19

    •  Unlike the Ohio-class design, which requires a mid-life nuclear refueling,20 the SSBN(X) is to be equipped with a life-of-the-ship nuclear fuel core (a nuclear fuel core that is sufficient to power the ship for its entire expected service life).21 Although the SSBN(X) will not need a mid-life nuclear refueling, it will still need a mid-life non-refueling overhaul (i.e., an overhaul that does not include a nuclear refueling) to operate over its full 42-year life.

    •  The SSBN(X) is to be equipped with an electric-drive propulsion train, as opposed to the mechanical-drive propulsion train used on other Navy submarines. The electric-drive system is expected to be quieter (i.e., stealthier) than a mechanical-drive system.22
    •  The SSBN(X) is to have SLBM launch tubes that are the same size as those on the Ohio class (i.e., tubes with a diameter of 87 inches and a length sufficient to accommodate a D-5 SLBM).

    •  The SSBN(X) will have a beam (i.e., diameter)23 of 43 feet, compared to 42 feet on the Ohio-class design,24 and a length of 560 feet, the same as that of the Ohio- class design.25

    •  Instead of 24 SLBM launch tubes, as on the Ohio-class design, the SSBN(X) is to have 16 SLBM launch tubes. (For further discussion of the decision to equip the boat with 16 tubes rather than 20, see Appendix D.)

    •  Although the SSBN(X) is to have fewer launch tubes than the Ohio-class SSBN, it is to be larger than the Ohio-class SSBN design, with a reported submerged displacement of 20,815 tons (as of August 2014), compared to 18,750 tons for the Ohio-class design.26

    •  The Navy states that “owing to the unique demands of strategic relevance, [Columbia-class boats] must be fitted with the most up-to-date capabilities and stealth to ensure they are survivable throughout their full 40-year life span.”27

      https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/R41129.pdf
     
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