The U.S. Navy placed a $346.5-million contract modification with General Dynamics Corp. for research and development and lead-yard services related to the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines. The work will be carried out by General Dynamics’ wholly owned subsidiary, Electric Boat.
The original contract was awarded in 2016, with a value of $1.3 billion through September 2019.
Under the contract modification, Electric Boat will develop studies and other work related to Virginia-class submarine design improvements. Also, it will conduct R&D to evaluate new technologies to be inserted in newly built Virginia-class ships, including the Virginia Payload Module, a redesigned Virginia Payload Tube missile-launch chamber to be incorporated in subs built from 2019 forward. The VPM will add four more VPTs, and carry up to seven Tomahawk missiles each.
The work to be conducted under the contract modification will involve over 5,000 Electric Boat engineers and designers.
The Virginia-class subs have been under development since 2000 and in service since 2004. They incorporate the most advanced stealth, intelligence gathering and weapons systems technologies, and are deployed to seek and destroy enemy subs and surface ships; launch Tomahawk cruise missiles; deploy Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support carrier battle group operations; and engage in naval mine warfare.