General Dynamics [GD] has no plans to increase Virginia-class attack submarine production to three vessels per year yet after the Secretary of Defense outlined a future naval plan calling for more submarines.
“So we’ve been talking to our Navy customer about the ability of – essentially the supply chain and the facilities to ramp up production and as you can imagine, we’re developing plans to do that as well,” Phebe Novakovic, chairman and CEO of General Dynamics, said during a Wednesday earnings call.
“But you’ll note that in all of the recent discussions about U.S. National Security strategy and particularly the Navy’s articulation of the criticality of the size of its fleet, submarines figure prominently in all of those conversations because they remain a national competitive advantage for the United States. So we’ll continue to work with our customer and we’ll see where that takes us. At the moment we’re not planning for that increase. But if the nation needs it, we’ll accommodate it,” she added.
These comments come less than a month after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper outlined the Battle Force 2045 future fleet plan, which calls for building three Virginia-class submarines per year as part of the effort to reach 355 traditional battle force ships before 2035 (Defense Daily, Oct. 6).
Esper said the plan calls for building up to 70 to 80 attack submarines, starting with building more Virginias.
“If we do nothing else, the Navy must begin building three Virginia-class submarines a year as soon as possible,” Esper said.
The prime contractor for the attack submarines is GD’s Electric Boat subsidiary in Groton, Conn., but it generally splits the work with subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding. Each company makes certain parts of the submarines and takes turns building the reactor and performing final assembly.