Va. Shipbuilders Win Piece of $22 Billion Navy Submarine Contract

Hampton Roads’ Newport News Shipbuilding will deliver five new Virginia-class submarines as part of a whopping $22.2 billion contract awarded by the U.S. Navy.

Virginia-based aerospace and defense company General Dynamics announced that its Electric Boat unit was awarded the contract to build nine Virginia-class fast-attack submarines. Electric Boat and partner Newport News Shipbuilding will deliver four and five submarines, respectively.

The contract, known as “Block V,” calls for construction to begin this year, and deliveries are scheduled between 2025 and 2029, according to General Dynamics.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), of which Newport News Shipbuilding is a division, said in a statement that eight of the nine contracted submarines will be built with a special section known as the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) that “provides more than three times the missile strike capacity of the current Virginia-class submarines.”

VPM was designed by Electric Boat, and General Dynamics says that with its inclusion on the new submarines, the Navy will be able to bring additional sensors, weapons, and “other special payloads” aboard.

Virginia-class submarines can reach speeds of at least 25 knots and dive more than 800 feet, all with Mark 48 torpedoes, unmanned underwater vehicles, and Tomahawk land-attack missiles aboard, says the defense company.

HII also notes that the contract includes the potential for a tenth submarine featuring VPM. Should the ship be constructed, General Dynamics says the contract value would be boosted to $24.1 billion.

The Navy has already taken delivery of 18 Virginia-class submarines from Newport News Shipbuilding and Electric Boat, and 10 ships in Block IV are currently in the works.

Kevin M. Graney, President of General Dynamics Electric Boat, said in a statement that the longterm contract is beneficial all around. “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.”

Laura Adams Boycourt