The US Navy has granted the Florida-based systems supplier Goodrich Corporation a $20.7m contract to exercise options for manufacturing activities in support of Virginia-class submarine propulsors.

The navy will use FY23 shipbuilding and conversion funds in the amount of $13.8m and FY23 other procurement funds in the amount of $6.9m to pay Goodrich for its services. With this modification, the contract will have a value of $43.7m.

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This is a modification to a previously awarded contract for Goodrich to exercise options.

Virginia-class submarine programme

The Naval Sea Systems Command also contracts BAE Systems to produce propulsors and payload tubes since 2012 under the ‘Virginia-class Propulsor Program’. BAE continues to serve as a long-term supplier of components for the Virginia-class submarine programme.

According to BAE, it has manufactured propulsors for the navy since 1989, which significantly contributed to the stealth and effectiveness of a submarine.

“Initially delivering this key technology for the Seawolf-class, we continue to successfully manufacture propulsors for Virginia-class subs as well. BAE’s propulsor improved the propeller’s efficiency and help lower its sonar signature.”

BAE Systems claims it currently produces a total of 37 payload tubes for the latest Virginia submarines. The navy is adding significant capability to Block V vessels by increasing the firepower and payload capacity with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM). VPM extends the length of Block V submarines over previous versions by adding a mid-body section to create more payload space.

Goodrich similarly continues to provide services in support of Virginia submarine propulsors.

Incoming changes to submarine propulsion design

In June 2023, General Atomics announced it would perform propulsion system design, to provide modeling, technical evaluation, and analysis supporting the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Advanced Propulsor, Experimental (APEX) programme.

The APEX programme develops and demonstrates a new generation of propulsion technology designs to power submarines and other undersea vehicles. APEX will focus on “efficiency, signature, mechanical design and limits and operational considerations.”

Meanwhile, BAE’s original pump-jet propulsion design for Virginia submarines had differed from the conventional bladed propeller.

Correction: ‘this article has been amended to note that the contract is to exercise options for manufacturing activities in support of Virginia class submarine propulsors and that this is a modified contract with BAE Systems and Goodrich continuing to support the Virginia-class submarine programme‘. The headline and article have been amended to reflect this.