General Dynamics’ Electric Boat subsidiary has hosted a keel laying ceremony in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, to formally start the construction of the U.S. Navy’s first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.
The keel plate of the USS District of Columbia, designated as SSBN 826, bore the initials of Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the sponsor of the ship who was in attendance at the event, Electric Boat said Saturday.
The Columbia series is set to replace the Navy’s Ohio-class submarines that the military branch plans to retire from service starting in 2027 and following the scheduled delivery of SSBN 826.
The lead Columbia-class submarine measures 560 feet in length and weighs 20,810 tons. The vessel will carry Mk 48 torpedoes and be equipped with a life-of-ship fuel core that eliminates the refueling requirements.
Electric Boat constructs the first two Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines under a potential $9.47B contract modification awarded in November 2020.