General Atomics wins contract for the propulsor of future Navy's Columbia class submarine

According to a press release published by General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) on May 10, 2022, the firm announced that it has been awarded a sole-source delivery task order from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) to provide structural hardware for the propulsor of the Navy’s new Columbia-class submarine.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of future Columbia-class submarine (Picture source: US Navy)

The delivery task order is part of a broad Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Propulsor Demonstration Hardware (PDH) contract to develop and deliver critical components and hardware for installation on current and future U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarines.

The hardware is scheduled for delivery in early 2023. Engineering is underway at GA-EMS’ San Diego and Tupelo, MS facilities, with all manufacturing occurring in Tupelo.

About Columbia-class submarine

The Columbia-class submarine (formerly known as the Ohio Replacement Submarine and SSBN-X Future Follow-on Submarine) is an upcoming class of nuclear submarines designed to replace the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines in the United States Navy. The first submarine officially began construction on 1 October 2020 and is scheduled to enter service in 2031.

The nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine will have a length of 171 m, a beam of 13 m, and a displacement of 20,810 tons. The complement of the submarine will be approximately 155 sailors.

The nuclear reactor will be used to generate energy, which will be converted into electrical power to fuel the electric propulsion motor. She will be able to reach an unlimited range due to the use of a nuclear reactor and reach a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h) and operate

The Columbia-class design includes 16 SLBM tubes, as opposed to 24 SLBM tubes (of which 20 are now used for SLBMs) on Ohio-class SSBNs. Although the Columbia-class design has fewer SLBM tubes than the Ohio-class design, it is larger than the Ohio-class design in terms of submerged displacement. The Columbia-class design, like the Ohio-class design before it, will be the largest submarine ever built by the United States.

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