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HII awarded advance procurement contract modification for Virginia-class Block V submarines

Electric Boat awarded Newport News Shipbuilding a contract modification for Block V attack submarines. (Newport News Shipbuilding)

General Dynamics Electric Boat awarded HII's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) unit a USD305.2 million contract modification to procure long-lead-time material for two additional Block V Virginia-class submarines, HII confirmed on 24 May.

The contract modification brings the overall contract value to USD10.2 billion, HII said.

“These funds are critically important to stabilising and providing predictability to the thousands of suppliers across the country,” said Jason Ward, NNS vice-president of Virginia-class submarine construction. “The submarine industrial base is crucial.”

That base has become a bit unstable recently in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic-related effects, inflation, and supply issues. Officials at HII's NNS division said they are taking measures to stabilise their US nuclear submarine and aircraft construction programmes.

“It's a complex problem,” Ward said on 5 May at the company's Virginia shipyard in an interview before the 6 May christening of the Block IV Virginia-class attack submarine Massachusetts (SSN 798).

“The Virginia-class cadence has not executed [as planned],” Ward said. “We are working to stabilise and accelerate [construction].”

Ward also noted the importance of properly supporting lead-time construction for submarines.

NNS president Jennifer Boykin agreed during a separate 5 May interview at the yard, and said that properly supporting the “beginning” of submarine construction is needed for the “assembly line to get healthy and to increase [the build] rate”.

“To get advance funding to suppliers is key. There are [a] number of major components that take a long time to manufacture,” she said.

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