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Navy releases sub funding

GROTON, Conn., May 2 (UPI) -- General Dynamics Electric Boat has announced the production of two Virginia-class submarines per year with the release of funding from the U.S. Navy.

The $1.2 billion in funding announced by the company late last week is for the construction of the 14th Virginia-class submarine, the SSN-787.

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"Today represents the culmination of an extraordinary effort by the Virginia-class team," said John D. Holmander, Electric Boat's vice president for the Virginia Program.

"From the engineers and designers who reduced the cost of the Virginia Class, to the shipbuilders who have delivered the submarines ahead of schedule and under budget, to the vendors who worked with us on cost-containment strategies and, of course, the Navy, which has managed the program now recognized as a model for Pentagon procurement, this has truly been a collective effort."

The release of the funding allows procurement of long lead-time components that will support the planned official construction start later this year on the as-yet-unnamed submarine at Electric Boat and its teammate, Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Va.

Holmander said the shipbuilding team's attention remains focused on capturing additional efficiencies wherever possible.

"Reducing the cost of Virginia Class ships to the point where the Navy can afford to acquire two ships per year has demanded an intense process of continuous improvement," he said. "Our task now is to ensure that we demonstrate additional improvement on each ship so taxpayers get the best possible return on the nation's investment in submarines."

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