The Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program passed its Milestone B decision review and can move into detail design, an official told USNI News.
These SSBNs should cost about $8 billion apiece, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), whose district includes the prime contractor, told USNI News today after reading the acquisition review documents. That figure that is higher than the Navy’s previously cost estimate but is calculated differently. Most recently the Navy said it expected the lead ship to cost $10.4 billion – including $4.2 billion in detail design and non-recurring engineering work, as well as $6.2 billion for ship construction – and follow-on ships to cost $5.2 billion, all in 2010 dollars. The $8 billion per boat figure spreads the design and engineering cost evenly across the 12 boats in the class instead of consolidating it in the cost of the lead ship, and it is also calculated in 2017 dollars, which complicates the comparison.
Additional details about the Columbia class’s cost and schedule are documented in the program’s acquisition decision memorandum (ADM) but have not yet been made public.
A defense official told USNI News that Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall signed the ADM today and approved the program for Milestone B, as well as designated it a major defense acquisition program.
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