US Navy Awards Leonardo $1B Columbia Sub Propulsion Contract

The US Navy has awarded Leonardo a more than $1-billion contract to provide integrated electric propulsion components for the future Columbia-class submarine.

The ballistic missile submarine class will feature the stealthier electric-drive propulsion system, unlike the mechanical-drive propulsion system outfitted on other US submarines.

The navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat selected Leonardo to design and manufacture the submarine’s electric drive propulsion components, including the main propulsion motor.

Leonardo delivered the propulsion motor to General Dynamics Electric Boat in September.

Nuclear-Powered Sub

The 560-foot (170 meters) submarine will have a displacement of nearly 21,000 tons, making it the largest ever built by the US. 

A total of 12 submarines will be built to replace the Ohio class, starting at the end of the decade.

The submarine will be equipped with 16 Trident II intercontinental ballistic missiles, eight fewer than Ohio.

Columbia’s nuclear reactor will have a lifetime operation of 42 years, unlike its predecessor, which requires mid-life nuclear refueling. 

The submarine’s “fly-by-wire” navigational systems will ensure more precise speed and depth monitoring.

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