BAE Systems won a follow-on contract to produce 28 more payload tubes for the Navy’s Block V Virginia-class submarines with Virginia Payload Modules (VPMs), the company said Thursday

The contract was awarded by

General Dynamics Electric Boat [GD], one of the submarine prime contractors, in February and was disclosed this week. Virginia-class boats are built jointly by GD and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ [HII] Newport News Shipbuilding with each company building some parts of each vessel then take turns building the reactor compartments and final assembly.

The future USS Indiana (SSN-789), a Virginia-class submarine, is launched into the James River and moved to a submarine pier for final outfitting, testing, and certification. (Photo: Huntington Ingalls Industries)

Under this latest award, BAE will deliver seven sets of four tubes for each of the Virginia Payload Modules, which will first be featured in the Block V submarines.

This contract work will occur at BAE’s Lousville, Ky., facility and deliveries are set to start in 2021. A BAE spokesperson told Defense Daily they are not disclosing the contract value because it is competitive intelligence and propriety information.

The VPM extends the hull by 84 feet so each submarine can carry four payload tubes designed to fire additional Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles or other payloads. The four tubes could carry a total 28 more Tomahawks, seven per tube and is in the vessels’ mid-body section.

The VPM is intended to help compensate for the impending retirement of four Ohio-class  SSGN guided missile submarines, each equipped with 24 vertical launch tubes carrying up to seven missiles each. Twenty-two Virginia-class subs with VPM will be able to carry about as many missiles as the four SSGNs. All Virginia submarines built from SSN-803 forward are planned to have the added VPM.

“We’ve invested heavily in the people, processes, and tools required to successfully deliver these payload tubes to Electric Boat and to help ensure the Navy’s undersea fleet remains a dominant global force,” Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of weapon systems at BAE, said in a statement.

The company noted it is also providing nine payload tubes under previously awarded VPM contracts.

Last year, BAE won a GD contract for an undisclosed amount to provide eight tubes for two Block V vessels, SSN-804 and 805 (Defense Daily, June 5, 2018).

Before that, BAE was working on tubes for SSN-803, the second Block V submarine.

Separately, it also provides the propulsors, spare hardware, and tailcones for Block IV Virginia-class submarines. The company said it “is prepared to do the same for Block V.”

The spokesperson said the company is “hopeful that we’ll see something from the Navy next year” on this Block V material.

The company added it is the sole provider to the Navy for propulsors, hardware, and tailcones.