Virginia-Class Block V: The Submarine Built To Take On China

Last week, the United States Navy awarded a $2.42 billion contract modification to General Dynamics’ Electric Boat subsidiary to build an additional Block V Virginia-class submarine equipped with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM). The deal was awarded by The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington D.C.

The original contract that was awarded in December 2019 was for nine boats with an option for a tenth. With this added submarine, the total cost of the contract with prime contractor Electric Boat will be $24.1 billion, a net increase of $1.89 billion for the full contract.

Nasdaq reported that General Dynamics has substantially reduced the cost as well as the delivery time of the Virginia-class boats from eighty-four to just sixty-six months, while also improving mission capability and ship construction quality. The defense contractor is also one of only two companies in the world that is equipped to build nuclear-powered submarines, and as such General Dynamics has enjoyed a dominant position as a navy contractor.

“The 17,000 shipbuilders of Electric Boat are pleased to receive the award for the tenth Block V ship and are ready to meet the generational challenge of building the Virginia and Columbia classes concurrently,” Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics’ Electric Boat said in a statement that was also posted to Facebook. “We are grateful for the continued support of our federal delegation, who strongly advocated for this important funding.”

According to the Department of Defense (DoD), Electric Boat will continue to work with Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division on the construction of the submarine. Contract work will occur in Virginia, Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania and other areas within and outside the U.S. through February 2030 according to

The United States Navy has been focused on strengthening its naval power by upgrading its fleet of missile submarines in response to potential threats from near-peer adversaries including China.