Anticipating delays in the delivery of the Columbias, the US Navy wants to accelerate the extension of the Ohio nuclear submarines

Ohio SSGN e1636560021685

The service life of part of the American Ohio nuclear submarines will have to be quickly extended to allow the junction with the entry into service of the SSBNs of the Columbia class.

Most often, when additional delays slow down or shift delivery programs for military equipment, the causes are to be found in technological difficulties, or even in budgetary decisions.

However, it is not these factors that worry US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro over delivery of new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines which are to replace the Ohio nuclear submarines from 2027.

Indeed, if 3 years separate the delivery of the first unit to the US Navy in 2027, and the second unit in 2030, and two additional years until the third unit in 2032, the 9 other ships must, as for them , to be delivered at a rate of one submarine per year until 2040.

To ensure the permanence of the submarine component of nuclear deterrence, which requires 10 operational SSBNs, the US Navy was to, from 2026, undertake to determine which Ohio-class ships could once again be extended for a few years. .

Remember that the Ohios, which entered service between 1984 and 1997 concerning the 12 ships currently providing American nuclear deterrence, had already been extended for the first time a few years ago, to allow them to reach an operational life of 42 years. against 35 years initially planned, and thus ensure overlap with the Columbia program.

Ohio nuclear submarines, like the Los Angeles, entered service during the 80s and 90s.
US shipyards are experiencing many recruitment difficulties, especially since the Covid crisis.

International tensions, and the absolute need to maintain a fully operational and guaranteed deterrent posture in the years to come, now obliges the US Navy to extend the operational life of some of these ships, to anticipate possible delays in the Columbia program. .

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