US Navy ballistic missile submarines pass Milestone B, ready for detail design

A class of 12 new nuclear-powered ballistic submarines is ready to enter the detailed design phase after Pentagon’s procurement chief approved the Milestone B review.

The Milestone B decision allows the U.S. Navy to appropriate $773 million to defense contractors, in this case it is General Dynamics’ Electric Boats with Newport News as primary subcontractor.

Ohio replacement or Columbia-class submarines, as they were named by navy secretary Ray Mabus, are expected to cost $128 billion to acquire. The Navy’s latest cost estimate envisions $13 billion to go into research and development and $115 billion in procurement.

Milestone B is a critical step in the defense acquisition process, after which a program becomes a program of record with an approved baseline from which cost, performance, and schedule will be measured.

In order to pass Milestone B, a program must have validated requirements, independent cost estimates, full funding over the the next five years, significant risk reduction justifying commitment to the program, and an updated acquisition strategy. In this phase, the detailed design and construction of the first Columbia-class boat will begin, and all systems and components of the submarine are integrated together.

“Achieving this milestone is no small feat for a large program like this one – and it represents years of hard work by many people, especially the men and women of Electric Boat,” Congressman Joe Courtney said welcoming the decision.