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By PBN Staff
By PBN Staff
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy has awarded a $17.6 billion contract to General Dynamics Corp. and Newport News Shipbuilding for the next block of 10 Virginia-class submarines to be built beginning in fiscal year 2014 and continuing on to fiscal 2018.
In an announcement of the deal by U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, the deal was touted as the foundation for growth in employment at General Dynamics’ Quonset Business Park Electric Boat production facility. In January, Electric Boat executives said the defense contractor planned to hire about 650 workers in North Kingstown to the 2,800 already employed there to handle the expected work for the just-awarded contract.
In anticipation of the awarding of this contract, which was not a sure thing given the difficulty of passing legislation in a politically-divided Congress, Electric Boat had signed a 25-year lease agreement in December to extend and expand its footprint at Quonset Point. The work is based on the Navy continuing to build two submarines per year.
The shipbuilder expects a second wave of hiring to begin in 2020 as the Navy designs and builds a replacement for the larger Ohio-class submarines, with the total number of employees to grow to about 6,000, comparable to peak employment at the facility more than two decades ago.
“The awarding of this contract is a testament to the skill and success [of the Electric Boat workers and facilities.], Reed said. “These submarines are a great value in terms of their cost-effectiveness and ensuring continued U.S. superiority in our undersea capabilities.”
This is the fourth block of Virginia-class subs being built, with the third block under construction now. The attack submarines are roughly 377 feet long, displace 7,800 tons, are capable of speeds of 25 knots and can dive to depths greater than 800 feet. The ships can carry a crew of 138 and have the ability to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles, conduct anti-submarine and surface ship warfare, deliver special forces and perform surveillance, according to a release from Reed’s office and company information.
The contract calls for construction of the first of the new submarines to begin May 1, with the last expected to be delivered in 2023 according to a release by General Dynamics.
“This award has great significance for the U.S. Navy, our company and the entire submarine industrial base,” said Jeffrey S. Geiger, president of Electric Boat, in a release. “By continuing to produce two ships per year, the Navy and industry team retains the stability required to achieve increased efficiencies, providing the fleet with the submarines it needs to sustain the nation’s undersea dominance.”