The U.S. Navy will spend about $22 billion to purchase nine new nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines as it seeks to maintain superiority over China’s growing Navy.
According to a Navy release Tuesday, the commission for the new ships will be fulfilled by General Dynamics Electric Boat and subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Industries at a shipyard in Rhode Island employing thousands of workers.
“These next generation submarines provide our forces with a distinct national security advantage. They are an unmatched tool for deterrence,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who has held the position for just days following the ouster of his predecessor, Richard Spencer, added that the commission affirmed the U.S. commitment to naval dominance.
“Our submarine force is fundamental to the power and reach of our integrated naval force,” he said. “Today’s announcement affirms our commitment to the future strength of our nation, undersea and around the world.”
The first ships are expected to be completed in 2025. The Navy currently operates 18 Virginia-class submarines, which the service views as a replacement for the older Los Angeles-class ships.