Leonardo grabs $3 billion deal for US Navy’s Columbia-class submarine program

Leonardo DRS has been awarded contracts valued at over $3 billion, when fully funded, to provide integrated electric propulsion system products for the U.S. Navy’s Columbia-class submarines. 

US Navy

Leonardo DRS was chosen by General Dynamics Electric Boat and the U.S. Navy to design and manufacture the permanent magnet main propulsion electric motor, the propulsion motor drives, switchgear, and the propulsion controls.

According to the company, these are key components of the primary propulsion system of the next-generation ballistic missile submarine fleet. All prototype components of this system completed full power endurance and other testing at the US Navy’s land-based test facility.

“This award highlights Leonardo DRS as an agile and trusted partner for the U.S. Navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat, having now been awarded contracts to supply our state-of-the-art electric propulsion components through shipset 12 for the Columbia-class program,” said Leonardo DRS CEO Bill Lynn.

“We are proud to be a part of this team and be the provider of these critical components for the most advanced ballistic missile submarine in our Navy’s history.”

The Columbia-class submarine is a new class of ballistic missile submarines designed to replace the fleet of Ohio-class submarines. At 560 feet long with a displacement of nearly 21,000 tons, the Columbia-class submarines will be the largest ever built by the United States.

“DRS is committed to our partnership with Electric Boat and the U.S. Navy,” said Jon Miller, senior vice president and general manager of Leonardo DRS Naval Power Systems.

“Their strategic mission is our purpose. Together, we develop innovative systems for critical next-generation national security platforms like the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.”

The integrated electric propulsion components will be manufactured in the DRS facilities in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Danbury, Connecticut, and High Ridge, Missouri.

In May 2029, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division started construction of the first in this new generation of US Navy ballistic missile submarines.

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Construction of the 12-boat Columbia class will take place in Virginia, Rhode Island and Connecticut, with Electric Boat assembling and delivering all of the submarines. The lead boat is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2027.

According to the navy, the first patrol of the lead ship, SSBN 826, is scheduled for fiscal year 2031 as the Ohio-class boats begin retiring in 2027.