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Columbia-class SSBN (SSBN-X Future Follow-on Submarine)

icyplanetnhc

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That rendering appears to show 16 missile tubes. Does the life-of-ship reactor that this new boat class sports contribute to the increased size?

As for naming, why not restart the convention of naming attack submarines after underwater creatures? State names for boomers seem fine, and frankly I'm getting quite tired of seeing vessels named after politicians.
 

Moose

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Steven said:
That rendering appears to show 16 missile tubes. Does the life-of-ship reactor that this new boat class sports contribute to the increased size?

As for naming, why not restart the convention of naming attack submarines after underwater creatures? State names for boomers seem fine, and frankly I'm getting quite tired of seeing vessels named after politicians.
The reactor and the electric drive contribute a lot of mass and volume, plus there's the regular generational growth contributed by improvements in the crew accommodations and quieting.
 

marauder2048

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Moose said:
Steven said:
That rendering appears to show 16 missile tubes. Does the life-of-ship reactor that this new boat class sports contribute to the increased size?

As for naming, why not restart the convention of naming attack submarines after underwater creatures? State names for boomers seem fine, and frankly I'm getting quite tired of seeing vessels named after politicians.
The reactor and the electric drive contribute a lot of mass and volume, plus there's the regular generational growth contributed by improvements in the crew accommodations and quieting.
My impression was that by going to a larger beam (43 ft. vs. 42. ft) they could potentially accommodate a longer
SLBM in the future e.g. they could replace the through-deck third stage motor with a longer first or second stage
motor.
 

NeilChapman

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Moose said:
Steven said:
That rendering appears to show 16 missile tubes. Does the life-of-ship reactor that this new boat class sports contribute to the increased size?

As for naming, why not restart the convention of naming attack submarines after underwater creatures? State names for boomers seem fine, and frankly I'm getting quite tired of seeing vessels named after politicians.
The reactor and the electric drive contribute a lot of mass and volume, plus there's the regular generational growth contributed by improvements in the crew accommodations and quieting.
Well, the Ford-Class reactors are reportedly smaller, weigh less and require 2/3 the maintenance than Nimitz-Class while electrical power generation is 3x larger. Expect the Columbia-Class reactor to have many efficiencies over predecessor besides service - to include size. Recall Virginia-Class reactors are life-of-the-boat @ 33 yrs.

Interesting article. Indicates drive is actually smaller...

http://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/underseawarfaremagazine/Issues/Archives/issue_09/power_system.html

"As I mentioned earlier, with mechanical drive 75-80 percent of the useful power produced by the reactor is available exclusively for propulsion. An integrated electric power system, on the other hand, puts power on a common electrical bus and gives the commanding officer operational flexibility in how this energy is distributed to suit the range of payloads, sensors, and propulsion needs for a given tactical situation. An integrated electric power system will allow tomorrow's submarines to make greater use of rechargeable off-hull vehicles, payloads, and sensors to extend the submarines' tactical reach and safeguard operations in high risk and restricted areas."

Emphasis above mine. What might be integrated into all that space. All I can find are references to "performance - survivability and acoustics".

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/beyond-the-ohio-class-inside-americas-next-generation-16270?page=show

"While there have been rumors that the ORP is larger than its Ohio predecessors because of the size of the electric drive and its permanent magnet motor—despite carrying eight fewer missiles—Lennon said that is not true. The ORP will be larger than the Ohio-class because of the enhanced survivability measures integrated onboard the submarines—the new boats will displace more than 20,800-tons. Indeed, the Navy could have opted to build the boat with twenty or twenty-four missile tubes, but chose not to in order to make sure the United States dispersed its nuclear deterrence. “If you look at the overall length of the ship, the length of the missile compartment is smaller,” Lennon said. “But it’s distributed pretty much equally—the increase—forward and aft. Very little of that has to do with electric drive. It’s really to do with the other capabilities we’ve had to put into the ship in order to meet the mission needs.”

While he could not go into detail, Lennon said those mission needs include performance—including survivability and acoustics. “We’ve had to designate larger volumes in order to put certain features and capabilities into the ship,” he said."

On another note...

UK Dreadnought is also larger then its predecessor and it too has less tubes. Interesting to note that US/UK shared reactor tech but US reactor has 42 year life and UK is 30 years.
 

RLBH

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NeilChapman said:
Interesting to note that US/UK shared reactor tech but US reactor has 42 year life and UK is 30 years.
Design decision based on industrial considerations. UK submarine lifespan, fleet size and build rate are all tied together; we're at minimum fleet size and minimum build rate, which defines the life of the boat. A 42-year core would require a 40% increase in the size of the fleet or the yard standing idle for 12 years out of 42 - funding the former is politically unlikely, the second disastrous for the submarine industry.
 

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http://defense-update.com/20170817_modernizing-the-submarine-fleet.html
 

NeilChapman

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cross post...

NeilChapman said:
https://news.usni.org/2018/08/08/35632

"General Dynamics Electric Boat and the Navy are evaluating the potential of missile tube welding issues identified by a subcontractor to delay construction of the first Columbia-class submarines, the next block of Virginia-class submarines and for the British Dreadnought-class submarines."

** Edit: Fixed problem link **
 

Grey Havoc

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https://news.usni.org/2018/11/08/columbia-class-program-upping-oversight-of-vendors-components-to-stave-off-further-delays
 

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https://breakingdefense.com/2018/08/nuke-sub-launch-tube-problems-found-warning-flags-are-up/
 

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Foo Fighter

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So, are they getting a replacement or is the money going on the carriers? They seem to be making the old types bigger during refit so perhaps they will be happy with those instead.
 

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So, are they getting a replacement or is the money going on the carriers? They seem to be making the old types bigger during refit so perhaps they will be happy with those instead.
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here. They are not making the Ohio class SSBNs larger in any way during refits. And the refits are needed just timber the Ohio's to 42 years, when they will be end-of-life.
 

Foo Fighter

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There has been talk for a while, of making these older submarines bigger during refit, possibly not the Ohio's but I am talking generically. Submarines being stretched to give ability to land special forces units and othe added capabilities. I still wonder why there are no plans for conventional submarines for littoral waters. Conjecture, nothing more.
 

TomS

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There has been talk for a while, of making these older submarines bigger during refit, possibly not the Ohio's but I am talking generically. Submarines being stretched to give ability to land special forces units and othe added capabilities. I still wonder why there are no plans for conventional submarines for littoral waters. Conjecture, nothing more.
The Virginia's are getting a stretched version (Block V) but I doubt anyone is seriously considering a retrofit. Slotting in hull extensions during an overhaul has been suggested occasionally but it always turns out to be way more work than planned. OK for tankers, less OK for subs.
 

bobbymike

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There has been talk for a while, of making these older submarines bigger during refit, possibly not the Ohio's but I am talking generically. Submarines being stretched to give ability to land special forces units and othe added capabilities. I still wonder why there are no plans for conventional submarines for littoral waters. Conjecture, nothing more.
The Virginia's are getting a stretched version (Block V) but I doubt anyone is seriously considering a retrofit. Slotting in hull extensions during an overhaul has been suggested occasionally but it always turns out to be way more work than planned. OK for tankers, less OK for subs.
I don’t think the budget would be there but they should take three or four of the “youngest” Ohio’s and refurbish as SSGNs for hypersonic conventional global strike.
 

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There has been talk for a while, of making these older submarines bigger during refit, possibly not the Ohio's but I am talking generically. Submarines being stretched to give ability to land special forces units and othe added capabilities. I still wonder why there are no plans for conventional submarines for littoral waters. Conjecture, nothing more.
The Virginia's are getting a stretched version (Block V) but I doubt anyone is seriously considering a retrofit. Slotting in hull extensions during an overhaul has been suggested occasionally but it always turns out to be way more work than planned. OK for tankers, less OK for subs.
I don’t think the budget would be there but they should take three or four of the “youngest” Ohio’s and refurbish as SSGNs for hypersonic conventional global strike.
It would likely be cheaper to buy a new boat, but it’s all academic right now because there wouldn’t be enough yard space or qualified labor to do the additional work. Also...by the time you have enough Columbias to retire the youngest Ohios they wouldn’t be very young anymore.
 

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PUTTING THE 'SUB' IN SUBCOMMITTEE:The chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee says a forthcoming defense policy bill will likely sign off on a Navy proposal to buy two Columbia-class ballistic missile subs and authorize a second Virginia-class attack boat, our colleague Connor O’Brien reports.

In an interview Thursday, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) said the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 6395 (116), will boost a shipbuilding budget that Republicans and Democrats have derided as too small to meet the Navy's goal of a 355-ship fleet.

Courtney said purchasing two new Columbia class ballistic missile subs at once, for example, is "a smart move and is going to help the cause in terms of affordability and timing."

"A ... two-sub block buy, I think, is ... just completely consistent with that approach" by lawmakers to cut costs on the hefty program, he said. The Columbia class is slated to replace Ohio-class submarines as the sea leg of the U.S. nuclear triad.

It also means authorizing a second Virginia-class attack submarine to sustain building two boats per year
 

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Since New START is headed for the scrap heap, the question that has to be asked is whether the Columbia-class is already obsolete?
 

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Per-hull missile count is not the end-all of SSBN stats, and a new treaty is still likely in the next 5-10 years even if New start is unwisely allowed to die before a replacement is hammered together. I'm still pretty comfortable with the design.

Courtney's chairmanship is going quite well so far. The man knows how to keep things moving without the drama or grandstanding some others have embraced.
 

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The only things New START influenced as far the SSBNs are concerned was the number of boats built and how many warheads per SLBM, neither of which should affect the SSBN design at all.
 

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The only things New START influenced as far the SSBNs are concerned was the number of boats built and how many warheads per SLBM, neither of which should affect the SSBN design at all.
Tubes per hull were reduced from 24 to 16 most likely due to NST limits
 

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IIRC, treaties limit the number of missiles actually carried on the RN's Dreadnoughts to eight, leaving four tubes empty.
 

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Per-hull missile count is not the end-all of SSBN stats, and a new treaty is still likely in the next 5-10 years even if New start is unwisely allowed to die before a replacement is hammered together. I'm still pretty comfortable with the design.

Courtney's chairmanship is going quite well so far. The man knows how to keep things moving without the drama or grandstanding some others have embraced.
It's cheaper to put 48 SLBMs in 2 hulls that can carry 24 missiles than 3 hulls that can only carry 16.

Why "unwisely"? China isn't in it, and are free to do whatever they want. Voluntarily hand-cuffing ourselves only hurts us.
 

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It's cheaper to put 48 SLBMs in 2 hulls that can carry 24 missiles than 3 hulls that can only carry 16.

Why "unwisely"? China isn't in it, and are free to do whatever they want. Voluntarily hand-cuffing ourselves only hurts us.
At a guess, it's to ensure a certain minimum number of boats dispersed at sea at all times. The RN stresses this by calling it the 'Continuous At-Sea Deterrent'. They have four Vanguards and will have the same number of Dreadnoughts. They work on the assumption that at any given time, one will be undergoing refurbishment, one will be used for training and one or two can be on patrol.

Another reason might be is that the new generation have electric drives, which takes up more engineering space, and greatly improved accommodation, so that a hull with all of that and 24 tubes may well be too large for many shipyards to handle.
 
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sferrin

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Another reason might be is that the new generation have electric drives, which takes up more engineering space, and greatly improved accommodation, so that a hull with all of that and 24 tubes may well be too large for many shipyards to handle.
Ohios don't frequent many different ship yards as it is. Those that it does could certainly handle it. Besides, it's not like they didn't need to make mods (both in the US and the UK) when going from Polaris boats to Trident.
 

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In a world where if you wanted to up the warhead numbers you could increase the MIRV load of each missile, and where likely opponents (Russia, China or lesser powers like North Korea) have fewer targets you need to target than the old USSR then 16 missiles per sub probably seen as sufficient and as an effort to try to help keep the Ohio replacement program affordable and help to ensure the minimum required number are actually built.
And in comparison with contemporaries this is the same number of missile tubes as the Russian Borei class and more than the UK Dreadnought class. So similar judgements are being made by other countries.
 

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IIRC, treaties limit the number of missiles actually carried on the RN's Dreadnoughts to eight, leaving four tubes empty.
Great Britain is not a member of any nuclear reduction treaty, so they can put as many missiles and warheads they want into however many boats they want.
 

Trident

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Why "unwisely"? China isn't in it, and are free to do whatever they want. Voluntarily hand-cuffing ourselves only hurts us.
While the era of bilateral nuclear arms control is clearly drawing to a close with China's rise, the growth of their arsenal is still slow and its absolute size still markedly lower than its US or Russian counterparts. Two conclusions follow from this:

1) For the time being, Russia remains by far the more serious threat, at least in the nuclear domain. It's therefore poor policy at this point to forego a treaty that limits them, just because you fail to secure an agreement that includes a much smaller threat which won't come to prominence for a few more years.

2) The US can safely afford to go one more bilateral round (i.e. extend New START) before China's future warhead count would make committing to further reductions imprudent without also subjecting them to the same limits. This provides sufficient time to make credible attempt at bringing them into the fold - it's simply not going to happen in a few months (and in fact it might not happen in 5 years either, but at least then you can rightfully claim to have given it your best shot).

IIRC, treaties limit the number of missiles actually carried on the RN's Dreadnoughts to eight, leaving four tubes empty.
Which treaties would those be? Off the top of my head, the only agreement the UK is bound by in this respect is the NPT, which would have no bearing on missile numbers.

EDIT: What Desertfox said.
 
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