Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $13.9 million contract modification for post-delivery work on the Virginia-class nuclear fast attack submarine USS Indiana.
The contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, includes procuring long-lead-time materials for maintenance, repairs, testing, modifications and other work on the vessel.
The USS Indiana was commissioned in September at the Navy Port in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl. The Indiana is the 16th Virginia-class fast attack submarine completed so far and sixth of the Block III upgraded variant.
The Virginia-class is supplementing and will eventually replace the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine also currently in service. It will form the backbone of the U.S. submarine fleet alongside the planned Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine slated to replace the aging Ohio-class.
USS Indiana is a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine built for anti-sub and anti-surface operations. It is armed with torpedoes, Tomahawk cruise missiles and is capable of mine-laying operations. It can also deliver special forces teams as it has the ability to operate in shallow or littoral waters.
The submarine, as well as the rest of the Virginia-class Block III, has faced a number of redesigns and upgrades to simplify construction and reduce operating costs.
Further expected modifications will include the Virginia Payload Module. The VPM will triple the Virginia-class Tomahawk capacity and allow greater flexibility for installing other vertical launch weapons systems.
Work on the contract is expected to run through April 2019, with the Navy obligating $8.6 million from Navy fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion funding to the company at the time of award. None of the funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.