The Navy is awarding two firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity contracts
in support of its submarine fleet. The contracts are being awarded to EnerSys Energy products and Exide Technologies, and come with a five-year ordering period and an aggregate ceiling of $75 million. The deal provides for the production of submarine valve regulated lead acid battery cells. The submarine valve regulated lead acid batteries provide emergency backup power supply for the nuclear reactor onboard strategic and fast attack nuclear submarines. Nuclear propulsion
has seen many technological advances over the last decades. The future of the US Navy’s submarine fleet will consist of Virginia-class
fast attack boats and SSBN-X
strategic ballistic missile submarines. Propulsion on both vessel types will largely be the same. For example, the SSBN-X propulsion will be all-electric, which decouples the drive train from the turbines, and the pump-jet propulsion will use shrouded technology taken from the Virginia Class. Work will be performed in Warrensburg, Missouri and Forth Smith, Arkansas respectively, and is scheduled for completion by May 2023.
This DII Spotlight article covers American nuclear propulsion industrial base contracts since the beginning of FY 2006. The USA has had an all-nuclear submarine fleet for over 50 years, a policy that dates back to the visionary Admiral Hyman Rickover. On the surface, America’s aircraft carriers became an all-nuclear fleet with the retirement of the USS Kitty Hawk [CV 63], and FY 2008-09 spending legislation pushed the US Navy to use nuclear power in its future CG (X) cruisers and new amphibious ship classes. At present, however, carriers are the only nuclear-powered American surface ships on the drawing board.
The civilian nuclear sector has seen major advances over the last 2 decades, and so has the military sector. The commitment to a nuclear fleet includes funding for those technical advances, as well as work to maintain both the reactors on board American ships, and the industrial base that supports them.