WASHINGTON, US — The US Navy’s newest US nuclear missile carrier has worried the country’s defense. The Pentagon and Navy have no idea if the $132 billion Columbia submarine will be ready by 2031. This is the first ship of the Columbia class. Washington plans to build 12 submarines of this class. Two are currently on order.
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The Columbia-class submarine is a carrier of nuclear missiles. However, a new GAO report shows that officials overseeing its development and production do not have the necessary information to prove that the project will be completed on time.
Bloomberg wrote that the missing information concerns “graphs and statistical information”. These data should show the confidence and readiness of the builders to complete the project. According to the congressional audit and the GAO report, the subway is one-third complete. Manufacturers General Dynamics Corp. and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. however, declined to comment on the GAO report.
What does the GAO say?
The government office’s report cited an incompatibility between program management and the importance of the project. The GAO is targeting not just anyone but the US Navy. According to the service, the navy does not have the necessary ability to coordinate the timely implementation of the project, based on its importance to the defense of the country.
At the same time, the report states that manufacturers are not providing the necessary information to the fleet. This information will serve to evaluate the project. But why the Navy isn’t getting that information, the GAO report doesn’t say.
What does the fleet say?
For its part, the US Navy disagrees with the GAO’s information. The Navy released a statement on the matter, saying the service receives “detailed schedule information from shipbuilders on a routine basis and performs several types of schedule evaluations on that information.”
A few days ago, US Navy officials confirmed to reporters that the construction of Columbia is going according to plan. However, they say, the timeline that the US Navy has planned and desired will most likely not be met.
Why does the GAO disagree?
The main reason for the critical report is the lack of priority, according to analysts. The GAO designated the Columbia submarine as vital and a high priority to US defense. According to the GAO, the Navy and manufacturers failed to appreciate the importance of the submarine.
It is for this reason that the GAO proposes that the Columbia submarine use suppliers and materials with priority over other submarines currently under construction, such as the Virginia class. The GAO does not mention this class for nothing, because according to the agency, manufacturers who are the same have gone over budget. Virginia’s delivery was also missed and delayed.
It should be noted that the GAO report is classified in its main fat. Only the abstract is freely available. The Pentagon responded that they partially agree with the statements in the report. A commitment has been made to prepare a new risk assessment. The Pentagon, through the US Navy, guarantees that the evaluator will be independent.
More about the Columbia submarine
The US has high hopes for its new Columbia-class submarine program. These ships will have to replace the aging Ohio class. This submarine will form a major part of the US nuclear deterrent and the country’s nuclear triad.
The submarine is planned to have a displacement of 20,810 long tons [21,140 t]. The length of the submarine will be 560 ft [171 m]. A nuclear reactor will drive the Columbia submarine, while its propulsion will be a turbo-electric drive, pump-jet. What the submarine’s operational range will be is still an unknown quantity.
The submarine will carry 16 UGM-133 Trident II missiles. These missiles have an operational range of 12,000 km. They are part of the US nuclear triad and were developed in the 1990s. Apart from the USA, Great Britain is the other country that operates these missiles. The maximum speed of the rocket is Mach 24.
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