$1.35 Bn for FY 2006 Virginia Class Submarine Procurement
DefenseLINK notes that General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, CT received a $1.1 billion modification to previously awarded multiyear contract N00024-03-C-2101. It provides full FY 2006 funding for SSN-774 Virginia Class attack submarine construction at Electric Boat, covering work on SSN 781 (name TBD), $167.7 million in advance procurement funding for FY 2007 submarine construction [SSN 782] and $40 million in Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) funding for each of the FY 2007 and 2008 submarines [SSN 782 & 783]. The General Dynamics news release agrees but lists 208 million for SSN 782, which would bring the total to $1.35 billion.
Over at Military.com, Joe Buff has some kind words for the Virginia Class, and puts its intended mission and procurement program into perspective. One thing Buff didn’t cover, however, is this submarine class’ construction program – which is highly unusual.
Altogether, Electric Boat and its construction teammate, Northrop Grumman, have received contracts to build 10 Virginia Class boats, of which SSN 783 will be the tenth. The lead ship, USS Virginia [SSN 774], was delivered to the US Navy in October 2004 and recently completed an 90-day operational cruise in Latin America.
General Dynamics Electric Boat recently had to go through layoffs because of a combination of no new sub R&D programs, the transfer of regular sub maintenance elsewhere, and a 0.5 sub per year build rate until 2012. Here’s how that construction process works, as explained at GlobalSecurity.org:
In December 1996, Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding proposed to construct New Attack Submarines as a team, rather than as competitors. This was consistent with the Congressional direction to involve both nuclear submarine shipbuilders; to foster cooperation between the shipbuilders on both construction and design improvements; and to facilitate the cross pollination of knowledge and the insertion of advanced technology. Both shipbuilders would use Electric Boat’s digital design database to construct New Attack Submarines and each shipbuilder would specialize in certain assemblies, thereby approaching single learning curve efficiencies.
The Virginia-class submarines are thus being built at both General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop-Grumman’s Newport News Shipbuilding. Each shipyard constructs about one half of each ship, and for the most part they repeat the build of the same sections each time to enhance learning curve efficiencies. The constructed sections from each shipyard are barged to their counterpart, and the shipyard designated as the “delivery yard” for that ship completes the construction. The delivery yard is also where the pre-commissioning crew will be stationed, and where the ship will undergo an extensive pre-delivery certification test pro-gram. Therefore, the crew of USS Texas [SSN-775] reported to Newport News; the crew of USS Hawaii [SSN 776] reports to Electric Boat; and the crew of USS North Carolina [SSN-777] will report to Newport News.
Electric Boat Corp. will continue to subcontract with Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. in Newport News, VA. The majority of work under this award will be performed in Newport News, VA (30%), Quonset Point, RI (15%), and Groton, CT (15%), with other efforts performed at various sites throughout the United States (40%). Work is expected to be complete by April 2014, which is when SSN 783’s commissioning is expected. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued the contract.
General Dyan mics notes that this contract modification had been factored into the company’s workload projections since the initial contract was announced in 2003, and i is not unplanned work. For that reason, it will not affect the number of layoffs the company will make over the next two years.