The Navy Is Closer to Getting Its Next Nuclear Armed Submarine

    Kris Osborn

    Security, North America

    The Navy hopes to build and operate as many as twelve new nuclear-armed submarines, to be in service by the early 2040s and serve well into the 2080s.

    The Navy 2019 budget request increases funding for the service’s new nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine by $ 2 billion over this year’s amount in what appears to be a clear effort to further accelerate technology development and early production. The request, which marks a substantial move on the part of the Navy and DoD, asks for $ 3.7 billion in 2019, up from $ 1.9 billion in 2018. The new budget effort is quite significant, given that there has been a chorus of concern in recent years that there would not be enough money to fund development of the new submarines, without devastating the Navy shipbuilding budget.

    The Columbia-class plus-up is a key element of a cross-the-board Navy budget increase; overall, the Navy 2019 request jumps $ 14 billion over this year, climbing to to $ 194 billion.

    Many regard the Columbia-Class submarines, slated to enter service in the early 2030s, as the number one DoD priority, and it is quite possible the additional dollars will not only advance technical development and early construction, but may also move the entire production timeline closer.

    Ultimately, the Navy hopes to build and operate as many as 12 new nuclear-armed submarines, to be in service by the early 2040s and serve well into the 2080s.

    Construction on the first submarine in this new class is slated to be finished up by 2028, with initial combat patrols beginning in 2031, service officials said.

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