The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a contract valued at $22.2 billion for the construction of nine new Virginia-class submarines.
The contract also includes the option of a tenth ship to be built within the contract time frame, bringing the total potential contract value to approximately $24.1 billion.
Construction on Block V ships will begin this year, with deliveries scheduled from 2025 through 2029.
“Our submarine force is fundamental to the power and reach of our integrated naval force,” acting Secretary of the US Navy Thomas B. Modly said.
As explained, the multi-year ‘Block V’ contract enables Electric Boat as prime contractor, along with its teammate, Newport News Shipbuilding, to deliver Virginia-class fast-attack submarines with advanced capabilities and expanded capacity to the navy.
“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,” Kevin M. Graney, President, General Dynamics Electric Boat, said.
Eight of the ships produced for Block V will include the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), which Electric Boat will build at a recently-constructed facility at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The VPM will comprise four additional large-diameter payload tubes located amidships, increasing the fixed strike capacity of the ship by more than 230 percent. VPM, which was designed by Electric Boat, will enable enhanced use of Special Operating Forces and allow the US Navy to bring aboard additional weapons, sensors and other special payloads.
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.