Ohio Replacement – Continued Progress for the Next Generation SSBN

The Ohio Replacement Program — designed to replace the current class of ballistic missile submarines — also saw major accomplishments in 2011. The program formally entered the technology development phase when the “Milestone A” acquisition decision memorandum was signed in January 2011. The program also developed the Service Capabilities Development Document (CDD), which provides the Ohio Replacement Program with its first set of documented requirements when approved by the Navy in early 2012.

In 2011, General Dynamics Electric Boat continued development of the Common Missile Compartment (CMC) for use on the Ohio Replacement and the United Kingdom’s Successor-class submarine. GDEB took delivery of four prototype missile tubes and demonstrated critical modular construction techniques by joining the tubes together in a prototype fixture. This demonstration proved construction techniques that will be effective for the CMC and significantly reduce construction cost.

The Navy and GDEB began development of the CMC specifications in 2011. These specifications serve as the requirements for the ship design, and completing them early in the development process allows for a more stable baseline, driving cost out of the program.

Recognizing the need to lower costs in light of a shrinking budget environment, PEO Subs also established a Design for Affordability (DFA) program for the Ohio Replacement that focuses on reducing cost in three specific areas: non-recurring engineering, construction, and operations and sustainment. As Johnson put it, “Our mantra is credible deterrence at the lowest possible cost.”

“Team Submarine’s mission is to deliver the best products and systems possible to the warfighter while meeting our fiscal responsibility to the tax payers,” said Johnson. “In these economic times, cost considerations receive equal weight as performance.”

2012 Critical Highlights

PEO Subs is also preparing to reach a number of critical milestones in 2012, including meeting one of their most anticipated goals.

“The ‘2 for 4 in 12’ goal – which calls for the Navy buy two Virginia-class submarines for $4 billion in 2012 (as measured in FY05 dollars) – has been a challenging effort and one we have been working to achieve for several years,” said Johnson. “This Navy and industry team’s perseverance, hard work, attention to detail, and close partnership will pay off when we reach ‘2 for 4 in 12’ with SSN 788 and SSN 789, the two Virginia-class submarines slated for authorization in FY12.”

Further, the Virginia Class program anticipates releasing its request for proposal for the next construction contract, which will be known as Block IV, in late 2012. The Block IV contract will span from Fiscal Year 2014 through Fiscal Year 2018, will include at least nine submarines, SSNs 792 – SSN 800, and will be the largest shipbuilding contract ever awarded by the Navy.

In 2012, the Ohio Replacement Program will continue to hone the requirements, with the Service CDD on track to be signed by the Chief of Naval Operations early in the year. Additionally, the program will complete the CMC specifications and begin work on the ship specifications. The DFA program will continue to mature and examine opportunities for cost reduction throughout the Ohio Replacement Program. The Ohio Replacement Program Office (PMS 397) and Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) will continue to partner with the United Kingdom to support CMC development. Finally for 2012, the program plans to award an R&D Design Contract for continued CMC efforts, rest of ship design, and component development.