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Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service Washington United States

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The Navys proposed FY2017 budget requests 773.1 million in advance procurement AP funding and 1,091.1 million in research and development funding for the Columbia class program, previously known as the Ohio replacement program ORP or SSBNX program, a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines SSBNs to replace the Navys current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. The Navy has identified the Columbia class program as the Navys top priority program. The Navy wants to procure the first Columbia-class boat in FY2021, and the 773.1 million in AP funding requested for FY2017 represents the initial procurement funding for that boat. A March 2016 GAO report assessing selected major DOD weapon acquisition programs states that the estimated total acquisition cost of the Columbia class program is about 97.0 billion in constant FY2016 dollars, including about 12.0 billion in research and development costs and about 85.1 billion in procurement costs. The Navy as of February 2015 estimated the procurement cost of the lead boat in the program at 14.5 billion in then-year dollars, including 5.7 billion in detailed design and nonrecurring engineering DDNRE costs for the entire class, and 8.8 billion in construction costs for the ship itself. It is a traditional budgeting practice for Navy shipbuilding programs to attach the DDNRE costs for a new class of ships to the procurement cost of the lead ship in the class. In constant FY2010 dollars, these figures become 10.4 billion, including 4.2 billion in DDNRE costs and 6.2 billion in construction costs for the ship itself. The Navy in January 2015 estimated the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the Columbia class program at about 5.2 billion each in FY2010 dollars, and is working to reduce that figure to a target of 4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars.

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