The Groton shipyard of Electric Boat may be looking forward to making two Virginia Class submarines per year, but members of the state’s congressional delegation say they’ll continue to push for an additional major building program.
Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney visited EB this week, along with Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations. They toured the yard, and discussed preliminary work that's underway to replace the Ohio class of submarines. The replacement will be the next generation of ballistic missile subs. The first task for EB is the design work for the new boat.
Blumenthal said it’s a step ahead. "I'm impressed with the technological complexity and advance that's represented by this boat, and all the components that go into it," he said. "I am going to be strongly supporting efforts to fund it fully, and opposing any efforts to delay or reduce funding."
Blumenthal spoke of the strategic importance of the new platform in a changing global security situation. Meanwhile, Joe Courtney said it’s essential to keep up the pressure on Congress to continue funding the $80 million first phase of the project.
"There really is no margin for error here in terms of any delays that might be thrown out there for budget reasons," Courtney told a news conference at Electric Boat. "If you look at the lifecycle of the existing fleet in terms of when it goes offline...we've got to stay on track."
Twelve boats are planned in the Ohio replacement program. The first would be due to be commissioned in 2031.