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US Navy may keep its older nuclear missile subs in the water for longer as the cost of its new missile sub balloons


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On June 4, the US Navy laid the keel for USS District of Columbia, the first of its new Columbia-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines, at an Electric Boat facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

The high-profile event was attended by both Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander of US Fleet Forces Command, and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who said the Columbia class "will be the cornerstone of our strategic deterrence" and "the ultimate guarantor of our national security."

Lingering over this major milestone, however, are longstanding problems for the Columbia program — unexpected delays and technical difficulties that may limit the Navy's ability to deliver nuclear and conventional missiles.

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