Wow…14 years is a LONG time to build ONE missile boat. Maybe we should pick up the pace a tad considering the state of affairs right now with Russia and China? Just Sayin…-SF
General Dynamics’ storied Electric Boat division is set to deliver its detailed design proposal for the new Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) ballistic missile submarine to the U.S. Navy this Friday. That will kick off a series of events, which will culminate with Electric Boat signing a contract to design and build the new “boomer” in the fall after a Milestone B review in August.
That’s assuming the Congress manages to pass the fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget.
With construction of the new ballistic missile submarine set to begin in fiscal year 2021, the goal is to deliver the first boat in time to conduct its first deterrence patrol in October 2030. Unlike with the Virginia-class attack submarine, Electric Boat will be the sole prime contractor and will be responsible for delivering all 12 ORP boats to the Navy.
However, while Electric Boat will be responsible for 80 percent of the work on the ORP, Huntington Ingalls Newport News — the only other shipyard capable of building a nuclear submarine — is heavily involved in the design and build phase. Newport News has a total responsibility for about 20 percent of the boat’s design and construction — about 300 of the company’s engineers are working with Electric Boat to design the new submarine.
Dividing up the work in this manner will help to preserve the nation’s critical nuclear submarine engineering and manufacturing skills. The Navy expects the new arrangement to drive down the learning curve for the new boomer and reduce costs by having only one prime contractor.
“The decision here was to facilitize Electric Boat and have EB do all 12 deliveries of the Ohio Replacement, put down one learning curve over 12 ships,” Capt. David Goggins, Naval Sea Systems Command program manager for the ORP, told an audience at the Navy League’s Sea, Air and Space symposium on May 17.
In an attempt to minimize costs, the Navy drew upon as much technology from the Virginia-class as possible. However, there are some major differences between the two designs — especially towards the stern of the vessel. The ORP is designed to have greatly improved survivability. The Navy emphasized stealth and survivability because of the boat’s critical nuclear deterrence mission — the ORP has to be survivable through 2080 in order to guarantee America’s nuclear deterrence, Goggins said.
Even though the detail design phase has yet to start, work on many critical aspects of the program have already started. Electric Boat will complete the submarine’s common missile compartment (CMC) arrangements before the end of this year. “We’ll start our prototyping of the missile compartment this year, this summer,” Goggins said.
Read the Remainder at War is Boring