General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) has awarded a contract to QinetiQ North America (QNA) to design equipment to support the Virginia-class submarine programme.

QNA will design, test and qualify an electronic grounding unit (EGU) for the submarines.

The EGU is a submarine engine room component used in the active shaft grounding (ASG) system of the Virginia-class ships.

An ASG system is designed to lower the resistance between the rotating shaft and the hull.

It can be installed to reduce electromagnetic fields external to the hull. The ASG also helps in reducing corrosion.

QNA Maritime Systems vice-president Andrew Courier said: “We are very excited to have been once again chosen by General Dynamics Electric Boat to design this critical piece of equipment to support the VIRGINIA Class submarine programme.

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“QNA has years of experience designing and delivering command and control, equipment, motor drives, and custom actuator equipment for the navy. This effort aligns with QNA’s strategic goals of providing similar technologies and products to help modernise our surface and submarine fleet.”

QNA was previously awarded a contract by Electric Boat in December 2017 to design and develop a cradle lock ElectroMechanical Actuator Power Conditioner / Controller (EPCC) replacement.

The EPCC replacement was intended for the Virginia-class Block V Weapon Stowage and Handling System (WSHS).

The company will design, develop and test the EGU under the contract at its facility in Waltham, Massachusetts.

GDEB received a $2bn contract modification in March for long lead time material to support the construction of Block V Virginia-class submarines.

The firm is the prime contractor for the US Navy’s Virginia-class submarine programme.