GROTON, Conn. (WTNH)– For some, a sigh of relief and for others a day to celebrate as Electric Boat signs a new contract with the U.S. Navy Tuesday.
“The largest shipbuilding contract in Navy history,” said Electric Boat president Kevin Graney, who made the long awaited announcement at EB headquarters in Groton.
General Dynamics Electric Boat signed a $22.2 billion contract with the Navy to build 9 Virginia-class submarines with the possibility of expanding that to ten.
“To invest that large amount of resources just speaks volumes about the quality of the work that takes place here and the value,” said Congressman Joe Courtney, (D) Connecticut.
An 84-foot section will be added to the new submarines. The VPM or Virginia Payload Module will increase the submarine’s payload and EB’s payroll.
“As far as the VPM is concerned we’re talking about a 230% increase in the punching power of the submarine,” said Graney.
The Groton shipbuilder along with Huntington Ingall’s Industries in Newport News, Virginia builds two submarines a year. Steady work which just got steadier.
“It’s a great opportunity for folks in this community to have a great job, stability, and can make a career of this,” said William Louis, President of the Marine Draftsmen’s Association.
Through the manufacturing pipeline with local colleges and technical high schools EB has been able to get properly trained workers it now needs.
“Since 2011 we hired 15,000 new employees and expect to hire a similar number in the next 8 years,” said Graney.
The stability the new contract provides allows Electric Boat to continue to ramp up its workforce for work on the Virginia-class submarines but also in preparation for the Columbia-class which is why a huge expansion is happening.
“The timeline on that is Oct 1, 2020. But the goal is frankly to get that done in the spring if not sooner,” said Cong. Courtney.
The 1.7 billion dollar expansion on the southern end of the shipyard adds 750-thousand square feet of new buildings.
EB’s network of 3,000 suppliers who hold $16 billion in contracts may also be celebrating the record-breaking contract.