WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Key specifications for a submarine to replace U.S. Navy's Ohio class submarines have been formally adopted.
The Ohio Replacement First Article Quad Pack Ship Specification document, a major milestone in eventual construction of ships, was signed last week in Washington by Rear Adm. Thomas J. Eccles, chief engineer and deputy commander Naval Systems Engineering Directorate, Naval Sea Systems Command, and Capt. William J. Brougham, Ohio Replacement program manager.
The new vessels are also part of Britain's Successor ballistic missile submarine program.
"This document marks significant forward progress for both the U.S. and U.K. future strategic submarine deterrent programs," Brougham said. "It is a direct result of the engineering rigor and professionalism of government and industry partners on both shores of the Atlantic."
The U.S. Navy said the specifications are critical for the design and construction of the common missile compartment -- including missile tubes and associated equipment.
"The Ohio Replacement Program will serve as the backbone of our nation's nuclear deterrence into the 2080s," said Eccles. "It is vital that we perform the rigorous engineering, research, and design work now so that we can ensure that the platform is able to address and best the threats of future highly complex national security environments."
The Navy plans to replace its fleet of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs with 12 new submarines. The first Ohio Replacement is to begin construction in fiscal year 2021.