US subs change ballistic capabilities

The US Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $34 million contract to modify the missile tubes on its fleet of ballistic missile submarines to fire conventional cruise missiles.

The US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) has awarded Northrop Grumman a $34 million contract to modify the missile tubes on its fleet of ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) to fire conventional cruise missiles instead of nuclear ballistic missiles.

The contract, awarded to Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector, will commence this month and continue through to December 2004.

This contract calls for the design and prototype testing of a Multiple All Up Round Canister (MAC), a subsystem of the attack weapons system (AWS) that will replace the existing Trident ballistic missile launch tubes.

Options exist for low-rate initial production leading up to full-rate initial production of up to four ship sets. If exercised, these options will bring the total cumulative value of this contract to more than $150 million.

Once the modifications are done each SSBN submarine will be able to accommodate as many as 154 precision-guided, conventional land-attack Tomahawk weapons.

Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s Marine Systems business unit in Sunnyvale, California, and at General Dynamics’ Electric Boat facility in Groton, Connecticut.