America’s premier submarine builder, General Dynamics Electric Boat, has signed a contract to begin the next phase of construction on a facility to support construction of the US Navy’s new Columbia Class ballistic-missile submarines.
The company signed a US$544 million contract with AECOM of Los Angeles to complete the construction of the South Yard Assembly Building (SYAB), the centerpiece of the biggest facility expansion in 50 years at the company’s Groton shipyard.
In September 2019, the company broke ground on the SYAB, a 18,500 square-metre building that will eventually be home to 1,400 skilled shipbuilders who will deliver the Columbia Class to the US Navy.
Electric Boat is also expanding and modernising other manufacturing spaces in Groton and building a floating dry dock.
The company is the prime contractor on the design and build of the 12 ships of the Columbia Class, which will replace the ageing Ohio Class of ballistic-missile submarines.
Electric Boat president Kevin Graney said, "General Dynamics Electric Boat continues to make investments – in facilities, in our supply chain and in the next generation of shipbuilders – to support the Columbia Class, the Navy’s top strategic priority."
Early construction began in 2017 at the company's facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Final assembly and test of the Columbia Class will take place starting in 2024 at Electric Boat's shipyard in Groton.
"Efficient completion of the SYAB will position us to begin delivering the next-generation of ballistic submarines in advance of the Ohio Class retiring from service," Graney explained.
The SYAB is part of an overall US$1.7 billion investment the company is making in modernising and upgrading its facilities to meet the expanded needs of the Navy.
The company has hired and trained thousands of new employees and has worked with its national network of suppliers to prepare for the estimated 150 per cent increase in the need for supplies and materials to concurrently build the Columbia and Virginia classes.