Navy Signs 3rd Virginia-Class Contract

The Navy signed a five-year, $14b Multi-Year Procurement contract for eight Virginia-class submarines Dec. 22.

The contract, the third, or Block III, for the Virginia-class, calls for one ship per year in fiscal years (FY) 2009 and 2010 and two per year in FY 2011, 2012, and 2013. The contract also meets the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) and Virginia Class Program’s mandate to reduce acquisition costs by approximately 20 percent for the FY 2012 ships. “This contract is a prime example of what you can do when you provide motivated people with a task and a deadline,” said Virginia-class Program Manager Capt. Michael Jabaley. As Jabaley explained, “in FY 2005, then-CNO Admiral Michael Mullen said that if we could cut $400 million from the $2.4 billion authorized for that year’s Virginia by FY 2012, the Navy would buy two Virginias each year. This contract achieves both goals – the price target and the two per year build rate.” To reach its cost reduction goal, the Virginia-class Program established a three-element strategy. The first element, which accounts for one-half of the required savings, involved increasing production to two ships per year in an MYP contract in order to spread the shipyards’ overhead costs over more ships. To achieve the remaining cost savings, the Navy invested $600m to redesign portions of the ship for more efficient production and to improve construction processes reducing the construction span from 84 to 60 months.

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