NEW LONDON, Conn. --- The Navy and Electric Boat have come to an agreement on a multi-year contract for the next group of Virginia-class attack submarines the service intends to buy.
The value of the contract will not be released until it is finalized, which is expected at the end of this year, but it will include a minimum of nine submarines, yielding $1.8 billion in savings, a Pentagon official said.
Congress, during budget negotiations in 2018, authorized up to 13 submarines to be built between fiscal years 2019 and 2023, the period the contract covers. The Trump administration requested that 11 submarines be bought during that time, and the Navy and EB discussed that number during negotiations.
But the Pentagon, in notifying congressional defense committees last week of the proposed contract, indicated that budget "shortfalls" in the coming years restrict the number of submarines the Navy can commit to buying.
While overall there are "sufficient funds" to execute the program, there are "shortfalls" in fiscal years 2022 and 2023, which the Navy has committed to addressing in its next budget proposal, Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense, said in a letter sent last week to lawmakers.
"We have been working closely with the Navy and stand ready to support their needs. The contract being contemplated allows us to maintain a stable Virginia-class build rate," spokeswoman Liz Power said by email Monday. (end of excerpt)
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