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June 15, 2024

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U.S. Navy To Name New Columbia Class Submarine After State Of Wisconsin
By James Heinz
The U.S. Navy will name a Columbia Class submarine the USS WISCONSIN with a hull number of SSBN-827.
The last Navy vessel to bear the same name (hull number BB 64) served in every major U.S. conflict after it was launched in 1944 until it was decommissioned in 1991, according to an announcement from Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, who led the state congressional delegation in requesting that the secretary of the Navy name a submarine after Wisconsin.
Kenneth J. Braithwaite, secretary of the Navy, announced the decision Oct. 28, about three months after Senate request was made.
The Columbia class is being designed to replace the Trident II-armed Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, whose remaining boats will be decommissioned, one per year, beginning in 2027.  The first submarine of the class will be named COLUMBIA to commemorate the capital of the United States, the announcement said.  The second submarine will have the Wisconsin namesake.
Electric Boat Co. is designing the Ohio replacement submarines with help from Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.  Twelve submarines are planned with construction of the lead boat to start in 2021.  Each submarine will have sixteen missile tubes, each carrying one Trident II D5LE missile.  The submarines will be 560 feet (170.7 m) long and 43 feet (13.1 m) in diameter, as long as the Ohio-class design, and one foot larger in diameter.
Additional design features include x-shaped stern control hydroplane surfaces, sail-mounted dive planes, electric drive and off-the-shelf equipment developed for previous submarine designs, including a pump-jet propulsor, anechoic coating to deaden sound, and a large aperture bow sonar system.
The design is evolving, the announcement said, but is expected to give each submarine a forty-two year service life.  The submarines will be designed to carry out one-hundred and twenty-four deterrent patrols during its service life.
The vessels are expected to have a nuclear fuel core sufficient to power them for their entire service life, unlike the Ohio-class submarines, which require a mid-life nuclear refueling that takes two years.  The Columbia-class submarine may also be equipped with a submarine warfare federated tactical system that integrate sonar, optical imaging, and weapons control systems, the announcement said.
According to Popular Mechanics, the twelve Columbia boats will sail on weeks-long deterrence patrols in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from bases in Florida and Washington.  Each submarine will be assigned two crews that will alternate manning patrols at sea.
The design and technology development of the Columbia class is projected to cost $4.2 billion in fiscal 2010 dollars, the magazine reported.  Technology and components from the Ohio and Virginia classes are to be included where possible to save money.
The lead boat of the class will cost an estimated cost of $6.2 billion.  "The Navy has a goal of reducing the average cost of the remaining 11 planned hulls in the class to $4.9 billion each (fiscal 2010 dollars)," the magazine said.  "The total lifecycle cost of the entire class is estimated at $347 billion."
Recently Fincantieri Marinette Marine at its Marinette, Wis., shipyard completed ten Littoral Combat Ships for the Navy with another six ships under construction, per Baldwin's announcement.  The latest Littoral was delivered to the Navy early this year.  The shipyard was recently awarded the contract for the Navy's new frigate program.
Wisconsin is known for its war shipbuilding prowess.  During the 1940's, Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. produced twenty-eight diesel powered submarines -- twenty-five of which were deployed during World War II.
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