Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) made the first steel cut on 23 May to officially begin advance construction for USS Columbia , the first-of-class ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN) slated to replace the ageing Ohio-class ships performing nuclear deterrence patrols.
Columbia (SSBN 826) and the rest of its class will be the first submarines built using fully digital blueprints.
The Columbia-class programme is the US Navy’s (USN’s) priority shipbuilding effort for now and into the coming decades. The ships are being built by HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding unit in Virginia and General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut. Both yards also build the USN’s Virginia-class attack submarines (SSNs).
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