SSBN-X Future Follow-on Submarine
DoD assumes the continued requirement for a sea-based strategic nuclear force. Therefore, the timeframe when the next generation SSBN will need to be deployed is about 2029 when the first of the remaining operational Trident SSBNs is planned to be retired. The Navy is currently studying two options for future follow-on SSBNs: (1) a variant of Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines (SSN); and (2) a dedicated SSBN (either a new design or a derivative of the Trident SSBN) ... If the decision is made to develop a new dedicated SSBN, a program would have to be initiated around 2016 to ensure that a new platform is available in 2029.
A new class of ballistic missile submarines to replace the existing submarines might be needed around 2029, when the first of the Ohio-class retires from the fleet. The design phase of the new vessels is scheduled to begin in 2014, with initial efforts beginning as soon as 2009. By 2007 the Navy had already begun early engineering and cost control study efforts on a new submarine design, with both Electric Boat and Newport News taking part in these efforts.
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