The US Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded a contract to construct the tenth Block V Virginia-class submarine with Virginia Payload Module (VPM).

General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) is the prime contractor for the Block V Virginia-class programme.

The approximately $2.42bn fixed-price incentive modification to a previously awarded contract will see GDEB continue to subcontract with Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS).

In December 2019, the US Navy awarded a $22bn contract to the shipbuilding team for the construction of nine new Block V Virginia-class submarines. This contract included an option for one additional Block V submarine with VPM.

The latest contract modification exercises the option for the new submarine. It brings the cumulative face value of the contract for Newport News to $9.8bn.

So far, HII’s Newport News and GDEB have built and delivered 19 Virginia-class submarines.

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HII Newport News Virginia-class submarine construction vice-president Jason Ward said: “We are pleased that Congress supported the restoration of funding for the tenth Virginia-class boat in Block V.

“We look forward to building and delivering the final boat of the block that maintains production at two submarines per year and continues to stabilise the industrial base.”

Construction of the yet to be named submarine is expected to start in early 2024.

Work under the contract will be carried out throughout the US and other areas outside of the country.

Delivery of the first Block V submarine is expected to take place in fiscal year 2025.

Earlier this month, HII launched the US Navy’s newest Virginia-class multi-mission nuclear-powered submarine Montana (SSN 794).