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Northrop Grumman advanced the production of a common missile compartment.

| 2021

According to a press release published by Northrop Grumman on July 30, 2021, Northrop Grumman Corporation is continuing production of Launcher Subsystem hardware in support of the Columbia and Dreadnought common missile compartment (CMC) program. The company was awarded an additional $69 million not to exceed contract modification in support of the program in March of this year.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the future Dreadnought-class submarine (Picture source: Royal Navy)

The CMC is a joint United States and United Kingdom investment and design, and it was developed to produce a common missile compartment, representing significant cost savings for each navy’s Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN) fleet.

As the original and only designer and manufacturer for the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Program’s (SSP) submarine ballistic missile launch system since its inception in 1956, Northrop Grumman remains at the forefront of the technologies related to this capability.

The Common Missile Compartment (CMC) represents another cost savings for the Columbia Class. The current U.S. Ohio Class and U.K. Vanguard Class SSBNs utilize the Trident II strategic weapons system with the D5 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

In lieu of developing a new SLBM, both the U.S. Columbia Class and U.K. Dreadnought Class will utilize the current Trident II D5 SLBM. As such, the CMC was developed rather than having each nation design their own missile compartment for their next SSBN classes during the same timeframe. This joint effort is saving each country hundreds of millions of dollars. The CMC design and production must stay on schedule to support the ongoing construction of the U.K.’s new Dreadnought Class SSBN.

Both the Columbia and Dreadnought SSBNs will host the upgraded Trident II strategic weapons system with D5 Life Extension SLBMs. The Trident II D5 SLBM life extension program will reduce the risks to both national SSBN programs and eliminated the cost of developing a new SLBM while designing the next generation SSBNs. This ensures the new U.S. Columbia Class and U.K. Dreadnought Class SSBNs will be ready for deterrent patrols with operational missiles.

The Dreadnought class is the future replacement for the Vanguard-class of ballistic missile submarines of the British navy. Construction started in late 2016 at the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard operated by BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, when the first submarine was provisionally expected to enter service in 2028.

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