Navy is preparing contingency plans for a possible delay in the Columbia-class

The Navy is preparing contingency plans for extending the life of Ohio-class SSBNs, should there be a delay in the Columbia-class. While the Navy refuses to come out and say it, many are expected that there actually will be a delay in the Columbia-class.

Possibly to the point where there could be an interruption in strategic deterrence patrols.

Here is the timeline I posted in a previous thread regarding the decommissioning of the Ohio-class. Note that the first 4 boats of the Ohio-class were converted to SSGN’s years ago under Treaty requirements.

USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN-730) - October 2026
USS Alabama (SSBN-731) - May 2027
USS Alaska (SSBN-732) - January 2028
USS Nevada (SSBN-733) - August 2028
USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) - December 2030
USS Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) - September 2031
USS West Virginia (SSBN-736) - October 2032
USS Kentucky (SSBN-737) - July 2033
USS Maryland (SSBN-738) - June 2034
USS Nebraska (SSBN-739) - July 2035
USS Rhode Island (SSBN-740) - July 2036
USS Maine (SSBN-741) - July 2037
USS Wyoming (SSBN-742) - July 2038
USS Louisiana (SSBN-743) - September 2039

Note that those dates are hard maximums, 42 years on each boat, the reactors having been modified and been pushed LONG past their original service life. There will be no extension beyond that. And it is quite possible individual boats may not make it that long, if their reactor craps out before then.

The first boat of the Columbia-class, USS Columbia (SSBN-826) will not be ready to make its first nuclear deterrence patrol until 2031 at the earliest. ANY slip in the timeline and we will really be hurting in that department. As it is, 6 Ohio-class boats will be out of service before the Columbia-class begins to enter service.

Oh ■■■■ no.

They had better do whatever the hell it takes to get those boats online.

If we have to delay the New flight Arleigh Burkes then do it. Hell if we have steal funding from the B-21 then do it.

The Columbia class is the most important weapons system in development. Over 50% of our strategic nuclear force are SLBMs. We can not afford delays.

Probably will have to sacrifice construction of Virginia-class attack boats.

But we cannot let the most important leg of our strategic deterrence falter under us.

If it has to be done, do it.

Every single weapons system in development is expendable if it means getting the Columbias in service on time.

The Russians can afford the delays on the Borei. Their SLBM Force is only about 25% of their nuclear deterrent; the rest is in silo based or road mobile ICBMs.

We made the decision (the correct decision) to place over half of our nuclear deterrent on subs.

They have to enter service before the Ohios start retiring. If they don’t, our deterrent factor gets hit. Hard.

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