US Navy awards $5B to finish ballistic-missile sub design

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The U.S. Navy has awarded a $5 billion contract to General Dynamics’ Electric Boat to finish designing a new class of ballistic-missile submarines so construction can start.

The Navy called the program its top priority because ballistic-missile submarines help deter nuclear war. An Electric Boat official says the award keeps the program on track.

The Connecticut-based company is designing 12 Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarines to replace the current fleet of 14 aging Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines.

The award was announced Thursday. Construction is expected to begin in fiscal 2021 at Electric Boat’s Rhode Island manufacturing plant and at its headquarters in Groton, Connecticut. Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia is the subcontractor.

The first submarine is expected to be delivered to the Navy in fiscal 2028.

The total cost of the shipbuilding program is about $100 billion.