As part of the Navy’s new submarine construction plan announced on Monday, General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton was selected as the main contractor to design and deliver a new class of ballistic-missile submarines.
Primary construction will begin in 2021 on a dozen submarines to replace the Ohio class and the Navy expects Electric Boat to complete the lead ship by 2027.
House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut Second District) toured a Virginia class attack submarine and Electric Boat’s shipyard on Tuesday afternoon.
“There will be a lot riding on the work that goes on at this shipyard over the next several years that is just fundamental to our country’s security,” Thornberry said.
Once complete, the dozen Ohio replacement submarines will carry about 70 percent of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, Thornberry said.
“The one area where we are still clearly superior is underwater,” Thornberry said, “but other countries are working that area too, so it’s not something we can take for granted.”
Not only does Electric Boat’s shipyard fall in Rep. Courtney’s district, he’s also the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. “It just really underscores the fact that EB’s role as the prime contractor in that program is just the ultimate validation of the great work that the men and women who come to work here are doing every single day,” Courtney said.
Building the new state of the art submarines provides a boost to the region’s economy. Electric Boat’s president projects the company’s workforce will grow from 14,000 to 18,000 by 2020.
“This is not just sort of wishful thinking,” Courtney said, “this is having a tangible effect in terms of the Department of Labor’s most recent numbers in terms of New London County.”
Recently, EB hired 95 new employees and made 140 offers at a job fair, Courtney added.