NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed joined Jeff Geiger, President of Electric Boat, officials from Gilbane Building Company, and others to help break ground on the construction of new facilities at Electric Boat’s manufacturing complex in Quonset Business Park.
Electric Boat is making capital investments, hiring hundreds of Rhode Islanders, and has started building two new manufacturing buildings at Quonset to support the construction of the Virginia Payload Module and the new Columbia Strategic Ballistic Missile submarine.
Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, has worked for years to help the Navy build the next generation of submarines, which are critical to the defense of our nation.
“Submarines’ unique capabilities for stealth, surveillance, and their ability to deliver special forces personnel into difficult environments make them a powerful force multiplier and strategic deterrent. A robust submarine fleet is critical to maintain our undersea dominance. I am incredibly proud of the men and women who build these submarines. Their skills give our forces a competitive advantage and their efficiency provides taxpayers with a strong return on investment,” said Senator Reed, who included $7.4 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program and $3 billion to fully support the Columbia-class (Ohio-class Replacement) program in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which recently passed the U.S. Senate.
Currently, there are 15 existing commissioned Virginia-class submarines and 14 commissioned Ohio-class submarines. Electric Boat, along with its teammate Huntington Ingalls-Newport News Shipbuilding, is currently manufacturing two Virginia-class submarines per year for the U.S. Navy.
Last fall, the Navy awarded a $5.1 billion contract to Electric Boat as the prime contractor for the design, completion, component and technology development of the Columbia-class submarine, with the first scheduled to come online in fiscal year 2031.
“The increased sub production here at Quonset will lead to increased economic growth throughout the state, with positive benefits not only for new hires, but also hundreds of small businesses, suppliers, and the state’s manufacturing ecosystem,” said Reed. “Rhode Island must continue developing a strong advanced manufacturing workforce to meet demand. We are the Ocean State and I want us to be the world leader in undersea technologies and marine innovation.”
Earlier this year, Electric Boat announced plans to significantly expand its facility at Quonset and hire 1,000 more workers at Quonset this year alone.
Reed, who also serves on the Appropriations Committee, has worked for years to help fund improvements on and around the Quonset Business Park and the Port of Davisville to help attract and retain business in the area.