GD contracts BWXT for Virginia Payload Module launch tubes fabrication

General Dynamics Electric Boat has awarded BWXT Nuclear Operations Group a contract for the delivery of Virginia Payload Module (VPM) launch tubes.

According to the company, the contract is worth approximately $35 million.

The VPM will comprise four large-diameter payload tubes in a new hull section to be inserted in Virginia-class submarines.

Work has already begun for development efforts and qualification of the processes required to manufacture these payload tubes, BWXT said, noting that the development is expected to be completed by 2019.

Fabrication of a quantity of first-of-a-kind VPM payload tubes will begin in 2017 with delivery of the first tube scheduled in 2019. The fabrication portion of the contract represents 75 percent of the tube production work available at this time.

The work will be conducted at BWXT’s Mount Vernon, Ind. manufacturing facility, the same site where launch tubes are being manufactured for Columbia-class (formerly known as Ohio Replacement Program) submarines. The company also said it was in the process of adding approximately 120 new jobs at Mount Vernon to support this and other new manufacturing activities.

“We are excited to begin Virginia Payload Module fabrication work as we have been investing in our facilities to meet the needs of Electric Boat and the U.S. Navy in preparation for such an opportunity,” said Peyton S. (Sandy) Baker, president and chief executive officer of BWXT. “This opportunity also illustrates BWXT’s ability to grow organically into related areas of our heavy component manufacturing business.”