ST. MARYS, Ga. (Tribune News Service) — The U.S. Department of Defense is preparing to solicit proposals for what will be one of the nation’s most expensive shipbuilding programs — the replacement fleet for Ohio-class submarines.
The new boats, tentatively named SSBN(X), will cost about $139 billion to build.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021, with the first boat entering service in 2031.
The new submarines will be the largest ever constructed by the U.S. Navy, though just barely. The new boats will have a beam of 43 feet and measure 561 feet long, one foot longer than the Ohio-class subs they will replace.
The new boats will displace 20,810 tons when submerged.
The replacement subs will house a crew of 155, about the same as the ballistic missile submarines currently in service.
Former national Navy League President and Director of Camden Partnership Sheila McNeill said the announcement seeking proposals to build the subs is an important step to ensure construction of a replacement fleet remains on schedule.
“It continues to be the No. 1 issue in the Defense Department,” she said. “It’s great to get past this milestone. It’s essential everything remains on the timeline and within budget.”
Detailed cost analysis and workforce studies are ongoing to ensure all preparations are complete for the start of construction.
The contract will produce the diagrams, drawings and information necessary to design, build, test and operate a submarine to enable the shipbuilder to begin construction on schedule.
“There are an extraordinary number of people involved,” McNeill said. “This has been going on four or five years.”
McNeill expressed optimism all 12 boats will be built, even though there is speculation that only 10 replacement boats will be constructed.
“It’s not a done deal,” McNeill said of 12 subs being built. “There are people who are saying 10 subs. I hope that doesn’t happen.”
©2016 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.)
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