US DoD ask congress to authorize construction of two new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines

WASHINGTON (GDC) ― The Pentagon is asking Congress for authority to buy two of its new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, a potential mega-deal worth as much as $17.7 billion with far-reaching implications for the ailing submarine industrial base learned GDC citing Defense News.

As the House and Senate Armed Services committees ready their drafts of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, it’s customary for the Defense Department to send legislative proposals for the annual policy bill. It was unclear how Congress will ultimately react to this one, but at least one key lawmaker would “seriously consider” the proposal.

The Columbia-class program is meant to design and build 12 new ballistic missile submarines to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 aging Ohio-class boats. The president’s budget estimated the cost of the lead Columbia-class sub at $14 billion, the second at $9.3 billion, and total procurement costs for all 12 at $110 billion.

The Navy wants to procure the first Columbia-class boat in fiscal 2021, the second in fiscal 2024, and the remaining 10 at a rate of one per year from 2026 through 2035. The Navy has already spent about $6.2 billion in advanced procurement for the Columbia, which leaves about $8.2 billion remaining for the first boat.

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A summary of its new legislative proposal, obtained by Defense News, said the move is intended to “permit the Navy to enter into one block buy contract for up to two Columbia-class submarines (SSBN 826 and SSBN 827), providing industrial base stability, production efficiencies, and cost savings when compared to an annual procurement with options cost estimate.”

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