SSN 774

Bae Systems has been awarded a $72m contract by the US Navy to manufacture and deliver propulsor systems for Block IV Virginia-class (SSN 774) submarines.

If all options are exercised, the contract value is said to reach up to $162.9m.

As part of the contract, the company will also receive funding to manufacture associated spare hardware and tailcones.

“The propulsor contributes significantly to the overall stealth and effectiveness of a submarine.”

Manufacturing of these units is expected to begin this year, with deliveries scheduled to run up to 2022. Work under the contract will be carried out at the company’s facility in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

BAE Systems weapon systems vice-president and general manager Joe Sentfle said: "The propulsor contributes significantly to the overall stealth and effectiveness of a submarine.

"This award demonstrates the navy’s confidence in our high standards and ability to deliver this vital technology to the Virginia class, a national security asset."

With a displacement of 7,800t, hull length of 377ft and a diameter of 34ft, the Virginia-class submarines can cruise at speeds of more than 25k, while diving to a depth of over 800ft.

Incorporating new technology and features specifically for use in shallower coastal regions, the Virginia-class attack submarines are designed to maintain their effectiveness in the deep ocean.

Catering to the latest mission requirements, such as anti-submarine, surface-ship warfare and special operations support, these vessels can carry Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles.

BAE Systems has previously delivered more than 20 propulsors to the navy for both Seawolf-class (SSN 21) and Virginia-class submarines.

Image: The US Navy’s Virginia-class (SSN 774) submarines. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.