April 15 (UPI) -- General Dynamics has awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries a $727.4 million contract for materials for the U.S. Navy's Virginia-class submarines.
The new funding contract brings the overall value of the contract to $1.04 billion for long-lead-time material to support construction of Block V submarines, HII announced Friday.
The Newport News Shipbuilding division in Virginia will perform the work for General Dynamics' Electric Boat division, the company said.
"We are pleased to have received additional advanced procurement funds, which allows us to continue procuring long-lead-time materials and is important to our submarine industrial base of more than 5,000 companies across 48 states," said Dave Bolcar, Newport News' vice president of submarine construction. "The start of early manufactured material is already underway for Block V submarines, which will include enhanced technology for today's warfighters."
Virginia-class submarines incorporate new technologies and innovations that "increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth and significantly enhance their warfighting capabilities," according to HII.
The submarines can operate at submerged speeds of more than 25 knots for months at a time in a variety of missions.
The Virginia class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines are replacing dozens of Los Angeles-class submarines as they are retired. The other attack class subs, the Seawolf-class of fast attack submarines, with the first one commissioned in 1997 and two others still in the fleet. In addition, the Navy has Ohio-class ballistic missile and guided-missile submarines.
The USS Virginia was the first ship in the class, commissioned in 2004. In all, 17 are operating for the U.S. Navy with home ports in Groton, Conn.; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Norfolk, Va.
The USS Delaware and USS Vermont were christened on Oct. 20, 2018. Nine other ships are under construction.
All of the ships are named after states, except for the USS John Warner and the USS Hyman G. Rickover.