The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded a nine-ship -- eight with Virginia Payload Module (VPM) -- Block V contract to General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) Dec. 2. The contract includes an option for one additional submarine with VPM. The Block V contract is a $22.2-billion fixed-price incentive fee, multi-year procurement contract for fiscal years 2019 through 2023.
"Our submarine force is fundamental to the power and reach of our integrated naval force," said acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. "Today's announcement affirms our commitment to the future strength of our nation, undersea and around the world."
"I am very proud of the government, shipbuilder and supplier team as the Navy awards the Virginia Block V multi-year contract today', said James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. "This team developed a Block V multi-year contract which provides significant increases in lethality and performance for the fleet to support the National Defense Strategy while also ensuring we are maximizing the use of taxpayer dollars. The multi-year contract also provides the stability needed in this critical industrial base to ensure we can continue to maintain our competitive advantage in undersea warfare while also providing a solid foundation for the Columbia program to build upon."
"Block V Virginias and Virginia Payload Module are a generational leap in submarine capability for the Navy," said Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. David Goggins. "These design changes will enable the fleet to maintain our nation's undersea dominance."
The Block V contract continues the Virginia class's teaming arrangement between prime contractor GDEB in Groton, Connecticut, and the major subcontractor, Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division (HII-NNS) in Newport News, Virginia. Block V submarines will incorporate acoustic superiority design changes to maintain undersea dominance on all Block V hulls and the VPM, with four large payload tubes in a new hull section on eight submarines, increasing Tomahawk strike capacity from 12 to 40 missiles per boat to maintain undersea strike capacity with the expected retirement of the Navy's four guided-missile submarines and providing future payload flexibility.
"The Block V contract balances the right mix of undersea quantity and capability with a profile that continues to stabilize the industrial base. This balance and stability will enable the success of submarine acquisitions across the enterprise," said Virginia Class Program Manager Capt. Christopher Hanson. "Our warfighters, the Navy, and the nation will benefit greatly from the new capabilities that the Block V submarines will bring to the fleet."
The Block V contract is the culmination of substantial collaboration between the Navy and shipbuilders.
"The Navy and shipbuilders worked together to produce a contract that is both fair and reasonable to the Navy, taxpayers and industry," said Goggins.
To date, the Navy has taken delivery of 18 Virginia-class submarines, and all 10 Block IV submarines are under construction. Contract delivery of the first Block V submarine is FY 2025.
Virginia-class submarines are built to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations forces support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.