According to the press release of General Dynamics on 2nd December, The U.S. Navy awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a contract valued at $22.2 billion for the construction of 9 new SSN 774 Virginia-class 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. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.
The contract is described as “the largest shipbuilding contract the Navy has ever awarded” by the top Navy officials at Pentagon. Prime contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and major subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding are the primary beneficiaries of the new deal.
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. 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. 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.
None of the new submarines have yet been assigned names, but all bear hull numbers.
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. 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.