The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $22.2 billion contract for the construction of 9 new Virginia-class nuclear-attack submarines.
The contract also includes the option of a tenth unit to be constructed within the contract time frame, bringing the total potential contract value to approximately $24.1 billion.
The multi-year ‘Block V’ contract enables Electric Boat as prime contractor, along with its teammate, Newport News Shipbuilding, to deliver Virginia-class submarines with advanced capabilities and expanded capacity to the navy.
Construction on Block V ships will begin this year, with deliveries scheduled from 2025 through 2029.
Under the contract, eight of the nine boats will be built with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), an 84-foot section that provides more than three times the missile strike capacity of the current Virginia-class submarines. The contract also includes an option for a 10th boat with VPM.
Electric Boat will build at the VPM at a recently-constructed facility at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The payload module will also enable enhanced use of special operating forces and allow the navy to bring aboard additional weapons, sensors and other special payloads.
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News will serve as the delivery yard for five of the planned submarines.
“This contract allows for our shipbuilding team, our suppliers and our employees to plan ahead so that we can continue to deliver submarines of unmatched quality, stealth and lethality,” said Kevin M. Graney, President, General Dynamics Electric Boat. “Increasing the cadence of our production from one per year to two, coupled with the start of full production of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, represents a generational increase in submarine production for our nation.”
Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding already have delivered 18 Virginia-class submarines to the Navy and all 10 Block IV submarines are currently under construction.
Virginia-class submarines displace 7,800 tons, with a hull length of 377 feet and a diameter of 34 feet. With VPM, the submarines will displace 10,200 tons and have a length of 460 feet. They are capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet, while carrying Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles.