General Dynamics (GD) Electric Boat has been awarded a $346.5m contract to provide research and development (R&D) and lead-yard services for the US Navy’s Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines.

The contract is a cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract for fiscal 2019 lead-yard support, development studies and design activities.

The original contract was awarded in 2016 and has a potential value of $1.3bn through to September next year.

Under the latest contract, Electric Boat will continue development studies and design related to components and systems, as well as engineering development models.

R&D activities will support in evaluating new technologies forthe newly built Virginia-class submarines, including the Virginia Payload Module.

In addition, the contract provides preliminary and detail component design. It also covers system design, integration and engineering, testing, logistics, and production.

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“The 377ft-long Virginia-class multi-mission, stealth submarine is designed for deep ocean anti-submarine warfare and shallow water operations.”

The lead-yard support will see the company maintain and update design drawings, as well as data for each Virginia-class submarine. This includes technology installation during its construction and post-shakedown availability period.

Work under the contract will be carried out mainly in Groton, Connecticut, in addition to Newport News, Virginia, and other sites throughout the US.

More than 5,000 employees from Electric Boat’s engineering and design organisation will work on the contract. Teams will deliver technical support in areas such as submarine concept formulation and design, construction, maintenance and modernisation, as well as inactivation and disposal.

Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, District of Columbia, is serving as the contracting activity.

The 377ft-long Virginia-class multi-mission, stealth submarine is designed for deep ocean anti-submarine warfare and shallow water operations.

The next-generation Virginia submarines are planned to replace the older Los Angeles-class submarines.