HII delivers first Columbia stern to shipbuilding partner Electric Boat

By Nick Wilson / January 9, 2024 at 9:40 AM

Shipbuilder HII has delivered the stern of the lead Columbia-class submarine to its construction partner, General Dynamics Electric Boat, HII President and CEO Chris Kastner said Monday.

The two companies are collaboratively building the next class of ballistic missile submarines with HII’s Newport News responsible for the bow and stern sections, or about 23% of total vessel construction, company executives said during a November earnings call.

Delivery of the lead vessel’s stern marks a step forward for the program, which is on a tight 84-month production schedule with a desired delivery date of October 2027.

“It's a pressurized schedule,” Kastner told reporters ahead of the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium. “But we're delivering modules, and we delivered the stern this week.”

In November, service officials said the program is holding to its schedule, with lead boat Columbia (SSBN-826) approximately 40% complete.

However, officials also said Ohio-class submarine Alaska (SSBN-732) will receive a service life extension to reduce the risk of gaps appearing in the fleet as Columbias come online. Alaska is the first of five Ohio boats that could receive extensions to mitigate risk.

Construction of the second Columbia submarine, Wisconsin (SSBN-827), has also begun thanks to a carveout contained in Congress’s continuing resolution allowing shipbuilders to begin on the vessel without fiscal year 2024 defense spending legislation.