On June 4, in a ‘keel laying’ ceremony for the US Navy’s next-generation Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) — USS District of Columbia (SSBN 826), at GDEB’s facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
The US has begun building the world’s most powerful nuclear submarine of the Columbia class. It is known that this class of submarines will carry “70% of the deployed nuclear weapons” of the US.
The South China Morning Post has just reported that the United States has begun construction of the world’s most powerful nuclear submarine of the Columbia class. The first ship in this class will be named USS District of Columbia (SSBN 286).
It is known that the laying ceremony of the USS District of Columbia (SSBN 286) took place on June 4 at GDEB’s facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
The first ship of America’s newest class of submarines is expected to enter service in 2027.
“The Columbia class will be the largest, most advanced, most powerful submarine our country produces,” Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton said during the keel laying ceremony.
The plan to build 12 Columbia-class submarines has been a priority for the US Navy for the past decade, with preliminary designs being released since 2007.
This class will replace the Ohio-class strategic nuclear submarine. It is known that the USS District of Columbia is expected to have its first patrol in 2031.
“The Columbia class will carry 70 percent of the deployed nuclear weapons of the United States,” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said.
Mr. Carlos Del Toro said that this ship is “the smartest investment” to ensure the safety of the American people.
Columbia-class submarines have a length of 170 m, a diameter of 13 m, displacement of about 20,800 tons
The vessel will carry 16 UGM-133 Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, fewer than the 24 Trident II missiles on Ohio-class nuclear submarines.
However, in return, Columbia-class submarines have the ability to operate in secrecy quite well and can attack targets more accurately than Ohio-class submarines.
In addition, the Columbia class also uses complex powertrain systems and accompanying technology.
The US Navy’s two newest submarine programmes have been hampered by growing costs, poor contractor performance and delays in the last year, according to an assessment by congressional auditors.
Costs for the 12-vessel Columbia-class, the US’s next nuclear-missile submarine, have grown by US$3.4 billion to a projected US$112 billion before the first planned deployment in 2031, the Government Accountability Office said in its latest annual report on major US weapons systems.
Similarly, over the last year work on the latest model Virginia-class attack submarine, which shares some of the same workforce, “fell further behind schedule, and construction costs continued to grow above original targets due to overall higher workforce demand and additional factors such as correspondingly less experienced workers,” the agency said.
The Columbia class will replace the fleet of 14 Ohio-class submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles and is envisioned as the front line of US nuclear deterrence strategy into the late 21st century. The subs will carry one leg of the so-called nuclear triad along with land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and air-launched weapons.
Both the US and China have recently made moves to develop nuclear submarines.
Last month, satellite images showed that China is building a new nuclear submarine with many improvements over the existing Type 093 submarine variants.
However, in terms of strategic nuclear submarine technology, China is still considered to be behind the US, Russia, UK and France.
Chinese-built nuclear submarines often emit loud noises when moving, which makes them easy to detect early.
Meanwhile, the new generation nuclear submarines of the US and the West usually operate much quieter.
Russia is also succeeding with modern strategic nuclear submarines of the Borey-A class. Currently, Moscow plans to build 10 aircraft, of which 2 have entered service and one is in the process of testing.