Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., will be the first base to be readied for the Navy’s new Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN), Seapower magazine reported.
“Kings Bay will come first, so that will be in the 2023 to 2025 period,” Rear Adm. John Korka, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command, told Seapower. “About a year later, we will see similar efforts at Bangor [Washington],” he added, according to the report.
The 12 planned Columbia-class SSBNs will replace 14 Ohio-class SSBNs on patrols beginning in 2031 and the Navy is on a tight program timeline to deliver the new subs in time to assume the patrols, the report said.
“In Kings Bay today, the critical SSBN dry dock facility requires upgrades,” Korka said, according to the report. “In support of that requirement, next year we will award a project to recapitalize the dry dock. That work is part of a $400 million-plus project.”
Korka also emphasized that each new sub class brings a new capability, translating to unique training and refitting requirements associated with supporting a new platform, according to the report.
“I tell people to keep in mind, though, that as we are bringing the Ohio class offline, we still need to maintain the facilities to support that program and that submarine and, at the same time, we are transitioning to bringing on the Columbia class,” Korka said. “Training and maintenance spaces are critical in that arena. I will add that there is an opportunity to use the existing spaces, but there is a requirement for a certain amount of expansion,” he added.
Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ashley Berumen