July 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense is awarding an $8.8 million contract modification to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems for work on U.S. and U.K. ballistic and cruise missile submarine fire control systems.
The modification will include maintenance on the attack weapon control systems and missile fire-control for the future U.S. Columbia-class and U.K. Dreadnought-class submarines.
The work will be performed in Pittsfield, Mass., several other U.S. sites and in the United Kingdom with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2023.
The U.S. Ohio-class and the U.K. Vanguard-class are the primary nuclear missile submarines of the two navies. Each is armed with the Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile, forming the undersea leg of the U.S. "nuclear triad" and the U.K.'s nuclear deterrent.
The future Columbia and Dreadnought SSBNs are expected to replace the Ohio and Vanguard classes. The two new classes will share a common missile compartment system for the Trident II and other weapons systems. Both are expected to begin entering service in the late 2020s and early 2030s.
The U.S. Navy has converted four Ohio-class vessels into cruise missile carriers capable of mounting up to 154 Tomahawks in place of their nuclear payloads, allowing massed conventional deep-strike attacks from a stealthy undersea platform.