NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI - U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) cheered the U.S. Navy’s decision to add an additional $869,043,785 order for submarine work that will take place in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Virginia.

The U.S. Navy has reached an agreement with General Dynamics Corp., the parent company of Electric Boat, on an $869 million contract modification allowing for continued work on advance construction of Columbia-class submarines as well as a deal on the complete construction of the first two boats of the class.

Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee and a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, says the contract modification and the plan to award the first two boats will help bring some stability for the Navy and continue steady work levels at Quonset, Groton, and Virginia while also achieving efficiencies and cost-savings for taxpayers.

“This is a smart investment that bolsters national security and benefits Rhode Island.  Rhode Islanders build the guts of these boats and provide our nation with a strategic, technological advantage.  This contract agreement is a testament to the skill and dedication of our defense manufacturing workforce and the local suppliers who contribute to the production of these next-generation submarines,” said Senator Reed, who led efforts to secure $4.2 billion to fully support the Columbia-class (Ohio-class replacement) program in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021.

The 12-ship Columbia-class will replace the aging fleet of 14 Ohio-class nuclear ballistic submarines, which are a strategic deterrent and key component of the nuclear triad.  The lead Columbia-class ship, SSBN 826, is scheduled for fiscal year 2031.  Naval officials have labeled the Columbia-class its top acquisition priority and Congress is reviewing a $17.7B block-buy contract for two Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines.  The Navy’s FY2021 budget submission estimates the total procurement cost of the 12-ship class at $109.8 billion in then-year dollars.

This new $800 million award is a cost-plus-award-fee modification to a previously awarded contract for the continuation of design and advance construction of the Columbia-class program.

The negotiations also led to a modification of the current contract that provides an option to buy the first two boats of the Columbia-class.  The Navy will be able to exercise this option soon after the beginning of fiscal year 2021 on October 1, 2020.                                                       

Senator Reed noted: “It is unusual for the Navy to negotiate a contract agreement of this nature before having an authorization and appropriation in hand, but it will allow immediate execution once those are secured.  I will work with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to ensure we have the funds needed to build these critical submarines and a strong pipeline of skilled workers who contribute to our national defense.”

In 2018, Electric Boat broke ground on a 1-million-square-foot, $800-million multi-year expansion of its manufacturing facilities at Quonset Point. 

Senator Reed has worked for years to help fund improvements in and around the Quonset Business Park to help attract and retain business in the area.