The Ohio-class submarine USS Louisiana, pictured, is one of the vessels the Columbia-class is expected to replace. U.S. Navy photo
June 23 (UPI) -- Electric Boat has been awarded a $203 million modification to an existing contract to increase design support for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.
The contract applies to the joint U.S. Navy-United Kingdom Common Missile Compartment program. The work will be undertaken at Groton, Conn., Newport News, Va., and several other sites, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.
Fiscal 2017 Navy shipbuilding ad conversion, UK foreign military sales, and Navy research, development, test, and evaluation funds in the amount of $203 million will be obligated upon award. None will expire at the end of the fiscal year.
The Common Missile Compartment program is for the design, testing, and delivery of missile tubes for the Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missile used by the U.S. and British navies.
The tubes will be installed on both navies' replacement ballistic missile submarine classes currently being designed. They are anticipated to be able to carry and launch conventional missiles as well.
The Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine will be the successor to the Ohio-class, which has been in service since 1981. The Columbia-class will be able to carry 12 Trident II D5 missiles for long duration deterrence patrols, with 12 vessels planned to be built and expected to enter service in 2031.
The Trident II D5 is the submarine launched ballistic missile used by both the U.S. and Britain. It has intercontinental range and can carry multiple warheads using multiple independent reentry vehicles designed to shower a wide target area, greatly increasing each missile's destructive capabilities. The Trident II is expected to stay in service with upgrades for decades to come.