The Navy will formally name the first-in-class ballistic missile submarine USS Columbia (SSBN-826) in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
The Columbia-class boats, formerly-dubbed the Ohio Replacement Program, will replace the aging Ohio-class submarines, some of which are still going through mid-life upgrades but the first of which is set to decommission in 2026. The future Columbia is on a tight schedule to be designed, constructed and tested in time for a maiden deployment in 2031 to maintain a fleet of 12 SSBNs capable of providing continuous global nuclear deterrence.
USNI News first reported the Columbia-class name in July, but the submarine community has been hesitant to use the new name until Navy Secretary Ray Mabus made it official, which will happen at Wednesday’s ceremony. Lawmakers such as Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), who serve on the House Armed Services Committee, have begun using the name in recent weeks to refer to the new class of ballistic missile subs.
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