Courtney: Navy's Virginia Block V contract will have nine subs, option for tenth

By Justin Katz  
November 4, 2019 at 1:54 PM

The Navy's Virginia Block V contract will have nine submarines with an option for a tenth, according to a congressman who oversees Navy shipbuilding.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, said in a press release issued today the final contract is still "weeks away." He and subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA) met last week with Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to discuss the Virginia-class submarine program, according to Courtney.

Courtney's subcommittee last year pressed the Navy to structure the Block V contract with a minimum of 10 submarines and options for more, citing the service's shipbuilding plans that indicated industry had the capacity to build additional submarines in fiscal year 2022 and FY-23.

Wittman today in a separate press release criticized the deal, asserting a 10-ship contract would “provide additional cost savings.”

"While the Office of the Secretary of Defense has certified a nine-ship multiyear, a 10-ship multiyear would provide additional cost savings. Therefore, not only is a 10-ship multiyear more cost effective, it is a strategic imperative," the congressman said.

Wittman's Virginia district houses Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding, which is teamed with General Dynamics Electric Boat to deliver Virginia-class submarines.

Navy spokesman Capt. Danny Hernandez told Inside Defense today that the service plans to award the contract by the end of the calendar year but did not confirm Courtney's and Wittman's statements about how many submarines are included in the deal.

Bloomberg first reported today the Navy and GD Electric Boat had reached a deal for the Block V contract.