The US Navy has awarded a contract to General Dynamics Electric Boat to carry out post-shakedown availability (PSA) maintenance on the nuclear submarine USS New Mexico.

Under the $51.8m contract, the company will perform PSA services including maintenance, repairs, alterations and testing of the vessel’s equipment.

The 377ft-long, 34ft-wide USS New Mexico is the sixth Virginia Class submarine, and has a submerged displacement capacity of 7,835t.

With an accommodation of 134 crew and a maximum speed in excess of 25kt, the submarine will undertake operations including anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare, covert precision strike, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

Work will be carried out at the company’s facility in Groton and is expected to be complete by July 2011.

Electric Boat, together with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, has received contracts to produce a total of 18 Virginia Class submarines of the US Navy’s plan for 30 vessels.