The Navy began construction of the thirteenth Virginia-class submarine, the as of yet unnamed SSN 787 Sept. 2.
This new construction marks the first time in 22 years that two submarines of the same class have started construction in the same year.
"To get to this important point, our Navy/industry shipbuilding team executed a very successful design for affordability program that yielded significant cost savings and has allowed the Navy to increase production in a fiscally responsible manner," said Rear Adm. David Johnson, program executive officer for submarines.
"A great deal of our success comes from increasing construction efficiencies; our last two submarines were delivered in 65 months, which is eight months early to their contract delivery date and we are well on our way to getting that number down to 60 months for our two fiscal year 2012 authorized boats [SSN 788 and SSN 789]," he said.
The design for affordability program involved redesigning portions of the Virginia-class to reduce costs and construction time. The program has yielded significant cost savings for the class, reducing its per-submarine acquisition costs by nearly 20 percent while shortening their construction span from 84 months to 60. These efforts significantly contributed to the Navy's transition to building two Virginia-class submarines per year.
"Our team has been diligently driving down the cost and construction time of these submarines to get to this key two-per-year milestone," said Rear Adm. (sel.) Michael Jabaley, Virginia-class program manager. "Building two submarines per year is the most economical way to procure these boats and will help ensure that our submarine force has the platforms it needs to carry out its various missions."
The Virginia-class program celebrates two more milestones this year when Pre-commissioning Unit (PCU) California (SSN 781) commissions in Norfolk, Va., Oct. 29, and PCU Mississippi is christened at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., Dec. 3.
Virginia-class submarines are designed to conduct anti-submarine; anti-surface; strike; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower, and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
Article by Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs