The U.S. Navy says it has placed a $22.2 billion order for nine Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines from General Dynamics Electric Boat.
The first ships under the contract are slated to be delivered by the end of the 2025 fiscal year, according to the Navy. General Electric and subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division will lead the project.
"Our submarine force is fundamental to the power and reach of our integrated naval force," recently-appointed Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said in a statement Monday. "Today's announcement affirms our commitment to the future strength of our nation, undersea and around the world."
The Navy currently operates 18 Virginia-class submarines, which are the service's premier underwater ship platform. The submarines are capable of combatting other submarines and surface ships, carrying out missiles strikes, and intelligence operations, as well as irregular warfare.
Eight of the nine ships covered by the Navy's order will include a new area for four additional nuclear-capable Tomahawk missile payload tubes, capable of boosting their capacity from 12 to 40 missiles. All of the ships will have enhancements to reduce their detectability.
"Block V Virginias and Virginia Payload Module are a generational leap in submarine capability for the Navy," Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. David Goggins said, referring to the latest version or "block" of the ships, as well as the Tomahawk-boosting module.
"These design changes will enable the fleet to maintain our nation's undersea dominance."
By Michael Hernandez in Washington D.C.