In 2031, the Navy's New 'Stealth' Nuclear Missile Submarine Will Set Sail

The US Navy is planning its first strategic patrol of the emerging nuclear-armed Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine in 2031 -- launching a new generation of technically advanced submarines intended to quietly patrol the undersea domain to ensure second-strike ability should the US be hit with a catastrophic nuclear attack.

As of last Summer, the Navy had issued at least one-fourth of the designs and made major advances in work on systems such as a stealthy "electric drive" propulsion, a new variant of the nuclear-armed Trident II D5 modernization and early missile-tube prototyping for the boats.

Construction start for Columbia remains on schedule to begin in 2021, with delivery in 2027 and a first strategic patrol by 2031. As stated by Navy leadership, we continue to look for opportunities to increase the margin for timeliness in construction, test and delivery, William Couch, spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, told Warrior Maven.

Knowledge that a Chinese submarine-launched, nuclear armed JL-3 missile is capable of striking portions of the US has naturally sustained, if not heightened, focus on US strategic deterrence efforts. The emerging Chinese JL-3 attracted international attention when it was test launched in November of last year.

Therefore, the Columbia is being engineered with the hope of bringing unprecedented levels of quieting technology, weapons, sonar and propulsion, among other things - in part to meet threats such as this.

The Columbia class is to....

read more from nationalinterest.org