Huntington Ingalls Industries has announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division and teaming partner General Dynamics Electric Boat has been awarded a $22 billion contract to build nine Virginia-class submarines for the U.S. Navy.
The Block V contract allows Newport News and Electric Boat to continue the modernization of the fleet of nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines over a five year period, with construction starting in 2019 and deliveries scheduled from 2025 through 2029.
Newport News will serve as the delivery yard for five of the planned submarines.
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.
“Today’s contract maintains the Virginia-class build rate that provides continued stability to our workforce and to the 5,000 suppliers that will support submarines for the next decade,” said Dave Bolcar, Newport News’ vice president of submarine construction. “This contract also continues the two per year construction cadence essential to sustaining production efficiencies, while ensuring our national security and the Navy’s continued undersea superiority.”
Newport News and its teaming partner Electric Boat have built and delivered 18 Virginia-class submarines; 10 Block IV boats are currently under construction.
Virginia-class submarines, which are being built to replace the Los Angeles-class submarines as they are retired, incorporate dozens of new technologies and innovations that increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth, and significantly enhance their warfighting capabilities. These submarines are capable of supporting multiple mission packages and can operate at submerged speeds of more than 25 knots for months at a time.
VPM will provide the Navy with undersea strike capability that currently resides with Ohio-class guided-missile submarines, and the flexibility to host a variety of payloads.