DECEMBER 15, 2016 — We can now stop using the term "Ohio-class replacement" for the next generation of fleet fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).
In a ceremony yesterday at the District of Columbia city hall, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus formally announced the first ship of the new class will be named USS Columbia (SSBN 826) in honor of the District of Columbia.
Ballistic missile submarines carrying the majority of deployed U.S. nuclear warheads. Columbia-class SSBNs, says the Navy,"incorporate advanced technology and will provide the most survivable leg of the Nation's strategic triad."
Secretary Mabus also announced that the next ship in the John-Lewis class of fleet replenishment oilers, named in honor of U.S. civil rights heroes, will be named USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207).
The future USNS Earl Warren will be operated by Military Sealift Command and provide underway replenishment of fuel and stores to U.S. Navy ships at sea and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers. Construction is expected to begin on the Earl Warren in 2019.
The final ship named during the ceremony was the future USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF 11). The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), formerly named the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran that is designed for High Speed Intra-Theater Surface Lift and serves in a variety of roles for the military branches to include support of overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and supporting special operations forces.
Shipbuilder Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, will build the new EPF, which will be 338 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 93.5 feet, displace approximately 2,362 tons and operate at speeds of approximately 35+ knots.