Huntington Ingalls Industries starts construction of Columbia-class submarines

Huntington Ingalls Industries hosted a ceremonial first-cut-of-steel event today at its Newport News Shipbuilding division to mark the start of advance construction for the Columbia-class submarine program, the company recently announced in a press release.

Huntington Ingalls Industries starts construction of Columbia class submarines First Cut of Steel For Columbia-class Program (Picture Source: Huntington Ingalls Industries)

The event also marked the first class of submarines that will be built using fully digital blueprints. The Columbia-class submarines will replace the fleet of Ohio-class nuclear ballistic submarines. Newport News is starting its work three weeks ahead of schedule to support its advance construction efforts, according to the release.

“The first cut of steel is a major construction milestone that signifies our shipyard and submarine industrial base are ready to move forward with production,” said Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president for Columbia-class construction. “We have worked to engage the submarine industrial base and leveraged lessons learned from the successful Virginia-class program to building the Columbia-class submarines in the most efficient and affordable manner to provide the best value to the Navy.”

“Today is a historic day,” Ward said. “It has been a half-century since Newport News Shipbuilding has constructed a ballistic submarine. Today, we celebrate the decade-plus effort spent working with Electric Boat on the design of this new class of submarine as we formally transition from design to material procurement and now to construction execution.”