The U.S. Navy awarded a contract Monday worth more than $22 billion to build nine new attack submarines. The agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat includes an option for a 10th sub, which would bring the total cost to $24 billion.
The order will add to the Navy’s current fleet of 18 Virginia-class submarines, a nuclear-powered platform that entered service in 2004. The new ships are scheduled for delivery between 2025 and 2029, and some could see service into the 2070s.
Some details about the submarines:
- The Virginia-class boats can fight other subs and surface ships and launch missiles at land-based targets.
- Displacing 10,200 tons and 460 feet long, the ships are significantly larger than the Los Angeles-class attack subs they are replacing.
- The subs generate their own water and oxygen, enabling them to stay submerged for months at a time.
- Eight of the nine will be built with a new payload module that will increase the number of Tomahawk missiles onboard to 40.
- The price tag does not include all the equipment needed for operations. With the necessary equipment included, the total cost of the subs rises to about $35 billion.
- Ordering so many ships at once is intended to reduce costs by as much as $4.4 billion, according to James Geurts, the Navy’s top acquisition official.