The U.S. Navy awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD), a contract valued at $22.2 billion for the construction of 9 new Virginia-class Block V fast attack submarines.
The contract also includes the option of a tenth ship 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, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), to deliver Virginia-class fast-attack 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.
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 (from 12 to 40 Tomahawk land-attack missiles). VPM, which was designed by Electric Boat, will enable enhanced use of Special Operating Forces and allow the Navy to bring aboard additional weapons, sensors and other special payloads.
“Our submarine force is fundamental to the power and reach of our integrated naval force,” said acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. “Today’s announcement affirms our commitment to the future strength of our nation, undersea and around the world.”
“I am very proud of the government, shipbuilder and supplier team as the Navy awards the Virginia Block V multi-year contract today’, said James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. “This team developed a Block V multi-year contract which provides significant increases in lethality and performance for the fleet to support the National Defense Strategy while also ensuring we are maximizing the use of taxpayer dollars. The multi-year contract also provides the stability needed in this critical industrial base to ensure we can continue to maintain our competitive advantage in undersea warfare while also providing a solid foundation for the Columbia program to build upon.”
“Block V Virginias and Virginia Payload Module are a generational leap in submarine capability for the Navy,” said Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. David Goggins. “These design changes will enable the fleet to maintain our nation’s undersea dominance.”
“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.
Over the life of the Virginia program, shipbuilders have driven delivery timelines from 88 months in Block I to a current average rate of 68 months, while doubling the build rate of submarines to two ships per year and consistently increasing ship capability.
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.
The submarines 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 (TLAMs), and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV).