Newport News Shipbuilding gains $22 billion contract to build 9 Virginia-class Navy submarines

Newport News
NN Shipbuiling

CVN 79 is under construction in Dry Dock 12 at Newport News Shipbuilding on June 26th 2019. (Kevin Romm/WAVY-TV)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Shipbuilding has gained a new contract to build nine submarines for the U.S. Navy.

Huntington Ingalls Industries announced in a news release Monday the shipbuilding company was awarded a $22-billion contract to team with General Dynamics Electric Board to build nine Virginia-Class submarines.

The Block V contract split between the two companies will allow the two companies to “continue the modernization of the fleet of nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines over a five year period.”

Construction on the submarines will begin this year. Deliveries are scheduled between 2025 and 2029.

“Today’s contract maintains the Virginia-class build rate that provides continued stability to our workforce and to the 5,000 suppliers that will support submarines for the next decade,” said Dave Bolcar, Newport News’ vice president of submarine construction. “This contract also continues the two per year construction cadence essential to sustaining production efficiencies, while ensuring our national security and the Navy’s continued undersea superiority.”

Newport News is the delivery yard for five of the nine submarines.

Eight of the contracted submarines will be built using the “Virginia Payload Module,” which is an 84-foot section that gives the new submarine more than three times the missile strike capacity of the current Virginia-class submarines.

The Virginia Payload Module will give the submarines an undersea strike capacity matching those of the Ohio-class guided-missile submarines, the release said.

The Newport News shipyard and Electric Boat have together built and delivered 18 Virginia-class submarines so far.

Virginia-class submarines are being built to replace Los Angeles-class submarines in the Navy when they are retired.

Virginia-class submarines can support multiple “mission packages” and operate at submerged speeds of more than 25 knots for months at a time, the release said.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released a statement after the Navy signed a contract to block buy the submarines:

“We’re glad the Navy reached this deal to save taxpayer dollars and help protect our nation. We’ve long supported Virginia-class submarines, and we’re excited that this move will strengthen our shipbuilding community in Hampton Roads, where these submarines are built.”

Warner and Kaine have supported submarine funding under the annual defense bill and discussed the positives of Virginia-class submarines with military leadership.

Kaine is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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