District of Columbia is the first ship in the new class of ballistic-missile submarines being built for the U.S. Navy by Electric Boat. It will replace the aging Ohio-class submarines due to begin to retire from service at the end of this decade. Each class is named for the first ship in the series.
Design of the District of Columbia began in 2007 when the Navy approached Electric Boat to assist in the conceptual design of a replacement for the 14 Ohio-class ships, which were built by the company and entered service in the early 1980s. The Columbia class of 12 ships will each carry 16 missiles, which in total will represent approximately 70 percent of the country’s nuclear arsenal. Submarines are the stealthiest and most survivable of the nation’s nuclear triad of land, air and sea-based nuclear weapons.
At a length of 560 feet and displacing 20,810 tons, the District of Columbia will be the largest submarine ever built by the US. Its reactor will not require refueling during the lifetime of planned service, making the ship more cost effective to operate and maximizing time in deployment. In addition, the submarine will feature superior acoustical performance and state-of-the-art sensors to make it the most capable and quiet submarine ever built.
The District of Columbia is being built in a modular fashion at Quonset Point with the support of vendors and sub-contractors from around the country. Outfitted hull modules will be barged to the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Conn., where it will be assembled and tested prior to delivery to the Navy. District of Columbia is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2027.