Despite welding defects discovered in missile tubes slated for the US Navy’s (USN’s) attack and ballistic-missile submarine forces, the service says its Columbia-class submarines meant to replace the Ohio-class ballistic-missile fleet is still on schedule to start construction in fiscal year (FY) 2021.
The affected tubes are part of the planned Virginia Payload Module (VPM) for the USN’s attack submarine force and the Common Missile Compartment, which is being jointly developed for both the Columbia- and UK Dreadnought-class vessels.
“The navy purposely planned for early construction of the Common Missile Compartment, including missile tubes and first-article quad pack, to mitigate risks such as these, and construction start for Columbia remains on schedule in FY 2021,” US Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman William Couch said.
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