General Dynamics Electric Boat division has awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding a contract worth as much as $68 million to start work on integrated product and process development for the new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines.

Electric Boat will serve as the lead shipyard for the program while Newport News Shipbuilding will serve as a subcontractor.

As it is with the Virginia-class attack subs, each shipyard is charged with designing and building separate portions of the SSBN.

The Navy earlier awarded Electric Boat a $5.1-billion integrated product and process development contract in September for design completion, engineering analysis, component development, detail planning and more, according to the HII release. That work began Oct. 1.

“This contract leverages the productive partnership we’ve built with Electric Boat in the construction of Virginia-class submarines,” Dave Bolcar, vice president of submarine programs at Newport News Shipbuilding, said.

Construction on the lead ship, Columbia (SSBN-826), will begin in Fiscal Year 2021, with delivery to the Navy in 2029 to support a 2031 maiden deployment. [source]