US begins production of the new Columbia-class nuclear submarines
WASHINGTON, (BM) – Nuclear weapons have long been developed and produced by various countries. Recently it became known that America is beginning to build a new nuclear arsenal, namely the Columbia-class submarine, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing several US sources. Almost $10 billion has already been allocated for this project. Why is construction starting now and what to expect from it?
Columbia is a unique project, the first type of submarine to be built exclusively on digital blueprints. The transfer to the fleet is scheduled for 2027. Each submarine will have 16 launchers. The length of the submarine will be 171 m, and the width is 13 m. It is planned that each submarine will go on patrol at least 124 times during its entire service life [42 years].
Unlike previous submarines, Columbia will operate without reloading the fuel throughout its entire service life. So far, the project has invested $9.47 billion – this figure includes the construction of the first submarine, the purchase of materials and equipment, as well as further testing. It is planned to build 12 submarines, of which one will be completed in 2030, and the remaining 11 will be completed by 2042.
Why did the US decide to start construction right now? First, by 2030, the Ohio submarines [which are America’s only nuclear-armed submarines] will be fully operational. It is impossible to postpone the production of “Columbia” – otherwise in 10 years America will be left without nuclear submarines.
“Ohio” has been in use since 1981, and by modern standards it is one of the most advanced submarines in the world, they can carry up to 24 launchers. There will be only 16 of them on the Columbia, but the submarine will be many times better than the Ohio in other parameters. It is planned to gradually decommission “Ohio” with their replacement by “Columbia”, respectively, the last boat will be commissioned in 2040 simultaneously with the complete decommissioning of “Ohio”.
The new submarines will definitely be much quieter, better and more perfect than the previous ones, so other countries should also engage in either the development or modernization of submarines. Otherwise, the gap with the United States will be very large.
At the moment, little is known about the characteristics of the new boats, but already based on the available data, we can conclude that they will give the United States a great advantage.
Next Pentagon chief: ‘We are capable of sinking the Chinese fleet in 72 hours’
The US presidential election is over and in January 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take over the “reins” of American democracy for the next four years. A new name for the Pentagon chief has been announced since now.
Read more: Top 5 best submarines in the world
It is about Michèle Flournoy, who may be the first woman leader of the US Army in the history of the country. If she is appointed, won’t the Democrats in the United States also apply for the next President of the United States in the person of Kamala Harris? We will see?
BulgarianMilitary.com closely monitors the actions of the possible new head of the Pentagon. Recently, she made a comment that stirred the spirits in China. According to Ms. Flournoy, the US Navy in the South China Sea could destroy the entire available Chinese fleet within 72 hours. The Chinese daily South China Morning Post quotes Michèle Flournoy as saying, “China will have to think three times before trying to face the US Navy in the South China Sea <… > in the South China Sea, the US Navy has the ability to sink the Chinese fleet for 72 o’clock”
Michèle Flournoy is no stranger to the military. Until four years ago, she was the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Political Affairs in the administration of the 44th US President Barack Obama. Today, according to many military analysts, including Amarek’s largest online military site, Defense News, Michèle Flournoy is one of the main contenders for the Pentagon’s leadership, and if that happens, Biden will lead the country in a completely different direction.
Of course, on the Chinese side, Michèle Flournoy’s words are nothing more than “empty Amarek talk” and political rhetoric aimed at strengthening her influence over the next administration and leading to her election as Pentagon chief. The Chinese edition of the South China Morning Post says, “Not only Michèle Flournoy’s words, but similar actions by the US Navy in the South China Sea are unfeasible.”
Chinese media do not miss the opportunity to recall that Ms. Flournoy has a different opinion regarding North Korea, where she has repeatedly stated that the United States should oppose the growth of North Koreans in the military industry, even if necessary by force.
US will hunt Russian submarines using MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones
According to observers, drones will be used to solve the assigned tasks, which can carry out visual observation of submarines, as well as receive signals from special buoys and other sensors. Authors of the American edition of The Drive said in November, that the United States Marine Corps will “hunt” potential enemies for submarines.
Journalists believe that one of the reasons for this decision by the US defense department is the increase in the number of Russian nuclear submarines on alert in the waters of the World Ocean. This is believed to have increased the burden on the US Navy and Air Force, and the Marine Corps should help with the problem. According to observers, drones will be used to solve the assigned tasks, which can carry out visual observation of submarines, as well as receive signals from special buoys and other sensors. As such drones can be used Sea Guardian – the naval version of the MQ-9 Reaper drone.
According to GA-ASI [General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc – ed.], the Sea Guardian drone is capable of monitoring surface and underwater conditions, patrolling coastal areas, and participating in anti-piracy and search and rescue operations. “The MQ-9B can operate in all weather conditions and complies with STANAG 4671 [NATO Airworthiness Certification Standard for UAVs – Ed.]”, – said representatives of GA-ASI. In addition, the drone is equipped with anti-collision radar, which allows it to be used in common with manned airspace.
The MQ-9B medium-altitude drone has been developed since the first half of the 2010s on the basis of the MQ-9 Reaper strike UAV. The basic version of the Sky Guardian can fly at speeds up to 388 km / h and at altitudes up to 14,000 meters. The time spent in the air is up to 35 hours. The device is equipped with a modular weapons control system with an open architecture – the buyers of the device will be able to launch their own missiles from it.
The MQ-9B drone is equipped with an advanced automatic take-off and landing system and an optical-electronic and infrared high-definition video reconnaissance system. In July 2018, the Sky Guardian prototype made a transatlantic flight, and in the spring of 2020, tests of the first serial device began.
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