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Casting Starts for USN’s New Sub Program

Nov. 24, 2020
A 200,000-ton casting was poured in late August, prior to the official start of production for the first Columbia-class nuclear submarine.

The Naval Foundry and Propeller Center (NFPC) in Philadelphia, a detachment of Norfolk Naval Shipyard, initiated iron casting for components to be used in production of a Columbia-class submarine in late August. “This casting represents one of the largest in American history weighing over 200,000 pounds,” according to James F. Geurts, Asst. Sec. of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. “Awesome sight to see.”

The Columbia-class will be a new series of nuclear-powered submarines developed to replace the current, Ohio-class as the U.S. submarine-based platform for ballistic missile launch. The U.S. Navy has ordered 12 of the new subs, with production beginning officially in October and service scheduled to begin in 2031.

According to Geurts, “By being able to do the casting ahead of construction start, it gives us a positive margin towards the schedule we need for Columbia.”

Developed by General Dynamics’ Electric Boat subsidiary with assistance from Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding’s Newport News Shipbuilding, each new sub will weight 20,810 long tons (23,307 short tons) and extend 560 ft in length and 43 ft in diameter.

The Columbia-class vessels will be propelled by a nuclear reactor-powered turbo-electric drive, with a pump-jet propulsion system. Each one will be armed with 16 Trident D5 ballistic missiles.