The Pentagon has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. (GDEB) a contract worth $22.2 billion for construction of nine Virginia-class submarines, eight with Virginia Payload Module (VPM), from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2023.
This is the largest-ever shipbuilding contract announced by the Pentagon. General Dynamics is the prime contractor and Huntington Ingalls Industries is a major subcontractor, the US Department of Defense said in a statement Monday.
The US Navy has already received 18 boats of this class, and plans to buy 40 of them in all. The Navy will take the delivery of the first ship of the new order in 2024.
The contract modification includes spare material and an option for one additional submarine with VPM. If the option is exercised, the cumulative value of this contract will increase to $25 billion.
The awarded amounts include previously-announced material awards (including long-lead-time material and economic ordering quantity material) totaling $3.2 billion.
This contract modification is for the construction of the fifth block of Virginia-class submarines by GDEB and major subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division, inclusive of design support and all efforts necessary to test and deliver each submarine.
GDEB will continue to subcontract with Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division.
Work for the current contact is expected to be completed by August 2029.
This class of nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines were being built to replace the ageing Los Angeles-class boats. The ships incorporate new technologies and innovations that increase firepower, manoeuvrability, stealth and 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.
The 84-foot Block V submarines built will have additional Virginia Payload Module (VPM) mid-body section, increasing their overall length. The VPM is designed to triple the Tomahawk cruise missile capacity of the Virginia-class subs, a move designed to offset the pending retirement of the Ohio-class guided-missile subs, which have a 154-Tomahawk capacity. Each VPM sub will have a 40-Tomahawk loadout.