General Dynamics secures a huge contract for 10th Virginia-class submarine

USS Virginia (SSN-774)

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat, a GD subsidiary constructing submarines, a considerable contract worths $2.42 billion for the tenth Virginia-class Block V nuclear-powered submarine. The original contract was for nine boats with an option for a 10th, which brings the contract’s total cost with Prime Contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat to 24.1 billion dollars.

This is the second contract in this fiscal year, and the first one was awarded in the Trump administration.

The U.S. Navy began commissioning two SSNs a year in 2011 to replace Cold War-era Los Angeles-class attack boats and increase modern submarines. Though there was hope that the current multi-year contract for Block V boats could have included as many as 13 subs across five years, the contract signed in December 2019 only included nine with an option for a 10th.

“The 17,000 shipbuilders of Electric Boat are pleased to receive the award for the tenth Block V ship, and are ready to meet the generational challenge of building the Virginia and Columbia classes concurrently,” Electric Boat President Kevin Graney said in a statement, referring to the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine the yard is also building.

“We are grateful for the continued support of our federal delegation, who strongly advocated for this important funding. Today’s announcement maintains the two-ship per year production cadence, provides continuity and development to our skilled workforce, and promotes stability in our national supply base. Electric Boat is proud to continue to deliver the advantage that helps protect our sailors, our families, and our freedom.”

Virginia-class submarines:

The Virginia class, also known as the SSN-774 class, is a class of nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines currently in military service in the United States Navy. Designed by General Dynamics’s Electric Boat (EB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Virginia-class subs are the United States Navy’s latest undersea warfare platform that incorporates the newest stealth, intelligence gathering, and weapons systems technology.

Virginia-class submarines are designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions, including anti-submarine warfare and intelligence gathering operations. They are scheduled to replace older Los Angeles-class submarines, many of which have already been decommissioned. Virginia-class submarines will be acquired through 2043 and are expected to remain in service until at least 2060, with later submarines expected to remain into the 2070s.

The length of the submarine is 115 meters, and its displacement is approximately 7900 tonnes.

Rendering of Block V model launching Tomahawks from VPM

Block V model involves ten boats and may incorporate the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), which would give guided-missile capability when the SSGNs are retired from service. The Block V subs are expected to triple the capacity of shore targets for each boat. Construction on the first two boats of this block was scheduled to begin in 2019 but was pushed back to 2020, with contracts for long lead time material for SSN-802 and SSN-803 being awarded to General Dynamic’s Electric Boat. HII Newport News Shipbuilding was awarded a long-lead materials contract for two Block V boats in 2017, the first Block Vs for the company.

The submarine carries 12 VLS & four torpedo tubes, capable of launching Mark 48 torpedoes, UGM-109 Tactical Tomahawks, Harpoon missiles, and the new advanced mobile mine when it becomes available. Block V boats will have the additional VPM module, which contains four large-diameter tubes that can accommodate seven Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Check outĀ Naval Library AppĀ to find out the specifications of Virginia Class Submarines:

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