The Navy awarded General Dynamics’ Electric Boat [GD] another $698 million modification on July 28 to complete maintenance, repair, and modernization work for the engineered overhaul of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN-768).
This work will occur at Electric Boat’s facility in Groton, Conn., and is expected to be finished by October 2026. The funding obligated at award time was split between $650 million in fiscal year 2022 Navy operations and maintenance funds and $26 million in FY ‘22 Navy other procurement funds.
Of the total award, $650 million in funding will expire at the end of this fiscal year.
Previously, the Navy first awarded GD a $126 million contract in 2020 to plan SSN-768’s engineered overhaul availability. Then in June 2021 it awarded a “Smart Start” contract to begin initial maintenance work (Defense Daily, Aug. 17, 2020).
USS Hartford has had maintenance delayed for years and been long used as an example of problems with U.S. attack submarines receiving required maintenance along with the USS Boise (SSN-764) and USS Columbus (SSN-762).
“This engineered overhaul of the USS Hartford will enhance its warfighting capability and extend the ship’s service life, returning a valuable asset to the U.S. Navy submarine fleet,” Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat, said in a statement.
Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Joe Courney (D-Conn.) welcomed the news.
He underscored this is one of the largest maintenance availabilities for GD Electric Boat in its history, consisting of the full funding to finish the rest of the availability work. This availability and funding were approved in the FY ‘22 defense authorization act.
Courtney’s district, Connecticut’s second congressional district, includes the Groton shipyard.
Courtney said this award uses previously awarded funding as part of the “Smart Start” contract, which he announced in 2021.
“When the USS Hartford was first sidelined for maintenance, it was our shipbuilders in Groton who buckled down and set to work under the first-of-its-kind ‘Smart Start’ contract award, which allowed them to get in and get an early jump on the project. My colleagues and I on the Seapower Subcommittee authorized the funding for that innovative approach, and our shipbuilders took full advantage,” he said in a statement.
“Their success on that initial maintenance led directly to today’s nearly $700 million contract award, which was also authorized by our Subcommittee, and that’s going to fuel activity at the Groton shipyard and throughout our manufacturing sector for years to come,” Courtney continued.
He reiterated that a potential higher rate of submarine fleet deployments to meet current challenges is incentivizing both the need to use private shipyards for more maintenance and U.S. cooperation with the U.K. and Australia on helping the latter build nuclear-powered submarines with the AUKUS agreement.
“To meet that demand, we’ll have to lean heavily on the skill of our private shipyards to tamp down maintenance backlogs and keep our subs ready to deploy.”