The U.S. Navy ordered a 10th Virginia-class submarine in a $1.89 billion modification to a 2019 contract calling for nine vessels. Photo by MCS1 Steven Myers/U.S. Navy
March 29 (UPI) -- Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries announced a contract on Monday to build a 10th Virginia-class submarine for the U.S. Navy.
Its Newport News Shipbuilding division, partnered with General Dynamics Electric Boat, received a $22 billion contract in 2019 to build nine submarines, with an option for a 10th, the company said in a press release.
The contract calls for an additional vessel ordered by the Navy, bringing the total cost of the original contract to $24.1 billion.
"We are pleased that Congress supported the restoration of funding for the 10th Virginia-class boat in Block V," Jason Ward vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction at Newport News Shipbuilding, said Monday.
"We look forward to building and delivering the final boat of the block that maintains production at two submarines per year and continues to stabilize the industrial base," Ward said in the press release.
Construction of the vessel, which has not yet been named, will begin by 2024.
The Virginia, or SSN-774 class, includes nuclear-powered, cruise missile-equipped, fast-attack submarines, and is regarded as the U.S. Navy's foremost undersea platform in stealth, intelligence gathering and weapons systems technology.
The first, the USS Virginia, was commissioned in 2004. Plans call for Virginia-class vessels to be ordered until 2043, with service life extending to the 2070s.
They are designed to replace the Los Angeles class of submarines, first commissioned in 1976. Sixty-two were built, with 28 still active and 30 decommissioned so far.