The Navy plans to award the fourth multiyear procurement contract for Virginia-class attack submarines next month, according to the service's new budget justification documents.
"The program is currently negotiating the fourth MYP (Block V) contract that will include 10 SSNs ([FY-19 to FY-23]) and will incorporate acoustic superiority modifications on all SSNs and [Virginia Payload Module] on seven SSNs with an option to award a third SSN in [FY-20]," according to the budget documents.
The Virginia Payload Module is "an 84-foot hull section with four additional payload tubes, each capable of carrying seven Tomahawk cruise missiles," the budget documents state.
"VPM helps mitigate the loss of undersea strike capability with the retirement of the service's four guided missile submarines (SSGNs) in the mid-2020s," the documents continue.
The service on Monday awarded Virginia-class prime contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat a $2 billion contract modification for long-lead-time materials associated with the upcoming multiyear procurement contract.
The FY-19 budget documents had projected a contract award for SSN-802, the first sub in the Block V contract, in October 2018.