The Columbia-class successor to U.S. Navy Trident submarines is the centerpiece of plans to modernize America’s nuclear deterrent. Delivery of the first of twelve boats will occur in 2027, with the first operational patrol in 2031. Columbia will be the stealthiest warship ever built, thanks to unprecedented levels of quieting necessary to assure it cannot be destroyed in a surprise attack. It will also begin its patrols with an advanced variant of the Trident II (D-5) missile, which has an unsurpassed record for reliability. With U.S. nuclear strategy dependent upon an assured capacity to retaliate against aggression, Columbia is arguably the most important nuclear-weapons initiative the nation has undertaken since the Cold War ended. Lexington Institute senior fellow Kris Osborn has written an assessment for Warrior Maven here.
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