The U.S. Navy issued a $1.076-billion contract to General Dynamics Corp. for future construction of fast-attack Virginia-class nuclear submarines. General Dynamics Electric Boat business unit is one of two major contractors building the new submarines, and the award covers costs for long-lead-time material acquisition and advanced construction related to two vessels, currently designated as hulls 812 and 813.
Virginia-class submarines are designed for anti-submarine warfare and intelligence gathering operations. While the Virginia-class program has been underway for over two decades, the Navy plans a total of 66 of the new submarines and anticipates they will replace the Los Angeles-class subs over the coming decades.
The two subs covered by the new contract are the Navy’s Block V series, a total of nine submarines with a total cost of $22.2 billion and due for delivery between 2025 and 2029. (The 2019 Block V award includes an optional tenth submarine, which will push the total value to $24.1 billion.)
“This contract modification sends a crucial demand signal to the submarine industrial base, enabling our suppliers to invest in the capacity and materials needed to increase production volume,” stated Electric Boat president Kevin Graney.
Construction of the new submarines will take place at Electric Boat’s shipyard in Groton
As part of its preparation for the two new subs, General Dynamics Electric Boat assigned a $305.2-million contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division, also to procure long-lead-time material for those two future vessels.
Newport News Shipbuilding is the major subcontractor for Virginia-class Block V subs. Electric Boat and Newport News are the only U.S. shipyards capable of building nuclear submarines, and the Navy’s contract award for the Virginia-class allows for Newport News to build the vessels’ stern, living space, machinery spaces, torpedo room, sail, and bow; and for Electric Boat build the engine and control rooms.
The two contractors alternate work on the reactor plant, final assembly, testing, outfitting, and delivery.
“These funds are critically important to stabilizing and providing predictability to the thousands of suppliers across the country who support the Virginia-class program,” according to Jason Ward, NNS vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction. “The submarine industrial base is crucial to our shipbuilding success and we look forward to continuing to build these vital national security assets that will deliver to the U.S. Navy with the latest technology.”