DRS delivers electric propulsion tech for US Navy’s lead Columbia-class sub

Equipment supplier Leonardo DRS (DRS) has completed factory acceptance testing and shipment of the first production unit of the main propulsion motor for the US Navy’s lead Columbia-class submarine. 

DRS was chosen by General Dynamics Electric Boat (GD EB) and the US Navy to design and manufacture the major Columbia electric drive propulsion system components including the main propulsion electric motor.

columbia
Photo: Leonardo DRS

The motor was recently shipped to General Dynamics Electric Boat for integration into the lead ship of the class.

All prototype components of this system successfully completed full power endurance and other testing at the US Navy’s land-based test facility in 2020, where operational testing continues. 

In addition to the main propulsion motor, other lead ship components are being manufactured and are also preparing to ship to GD EB.

The DRS Naval Power Systems business was awarded contracts for the electric propulsion system components which included design, test, qualification, and production of the full-scale components for both a land-based test facility and first two ships of the class.

Over the past several years, the US Navy has completed successful land-based tests of DRS’ electric propulsion components.

With significant testing completed, the program is transitioning to production with DRS presently manufacturing the components for the first two ships of the Columbia class.

Several businesses in the DRS Naval Power business contributed to this effort including. its facilities in Fitchburg, Massachusetts Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Danbury, Connecticut.

The Columbia class program goal is to design and build a class of 12 new ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the US Navy’s current force of Ohio class SSBNs.

The Columbia-class submarines will be larger than the current class in terms of submerged displacement and will become the largest submarine ever built by the US.

The keel for the lead submarine of the Columbia class, USS District of Columbia (SSBN 826), was laid in June this year.

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Photo: Leonardo DRS