Phebe Novakovic: General Dynamics Eyes Columbia-Class Submarine Construction Kickoff in 2020

Jeff Brody
Phebe Novakovic

Phebe Novakovic, chairman and CEO of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and a 2019 Wash100 award winner, said the Reston, Va.-based defense contractor expects to start building the U.S. Navy’s Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine by the end of 2020, the Washington Business Journal reported Wednesday.

She said Wednesday at the Baird Global Industrial Conference in Chicago the company is done with the design work on the submarine and the construction plans are now 53 percent to 55 percent complete.

“The exact timing of a lot of this, and that first boat, which will be on a cost-plus [contract] basis, will depend on the contract that is yet to be negotiated,” Novakovic said. “And our growth around that, we’ll have some nice incremental growth in 2021 and 2022, a little bit offset by our decline in engineering as we move from the engineering phase on Columbia into the construction phase.”

The service branch plans to buy 12 Columbia-class submarines to replace its fleet of 14 Ohio-class submarines. General Dynamics’ Electric Boat subsidiary is expected to work on the fleet with Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (NYSE: HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division through a joint venture.

Updates on the Columbia-class submarine program came days after General Dynamics and the Navy reached a multibillion-dollar agreement for the company to build nine Virginia-class attack submarines.

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