The Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $5.1 billion contract modification for advance procurement and construction of the Columbia-class submarine fleet.
A Wednesday announcement from the company says the funds will be used to support Build II -- the next five ships in the class -- through missile tube production, sustained class maintenance and support, and development of the submarine industrial base.
General Dynamics is the program’s prime contractor, currently building the first-in-class District of Columbia (SBN-826) and Wisconsin (SBN-827). Delivery of SBN-826, the Navy’s top acquisition priority, is expected in fiscal year 2027.
"This award enhances Electric Boat's efforts to maintain the Columbia-class production and delivery schedule,” said General Dynamics Electric Boat President Kevin Graney in a statement included in the release.
“Advance procurement of long-lead-time materials and component construction is critical to the program, and the strategic investments in the development and expansion of the Submarine Industrial Base will help stabilize and grow the supply chain, which increases manufacturing capacity, reduces risk, and ultimately drives timely delivery of submarines to the Navy," Graney’s statement continued.
During the company’s third-quarter earnings call in October, executives reported that the lead ship is 25% complete and remains “on cost and on contract schedule.”
Navy officials have expressed concern over workforce challenges, especially shortages of skilled laborers, which presents a key challenge to maintaining the Columbia-class production schedule.
Service leaders have also indicated they will consider extending the lifespan of some of the Ohio-class submarines to ease the transition from these legacy ballistic missile submarines to the next-generation Columbia class.