General Dynamics' Electric Boat subsidiary has awarded BAE Systems‘ U.S. arm a contract to produce payload module tubes for integration with the U.S. Navy's Virginia-class Block V (SSN 774) submarines.
The Virginia Payload Module tube is part of the submarine's mid-body section and is designed to store and launch up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles, BAE said Thursday.
“The new Virginia Payload Module will bring an additional 28 missiles to each Virginia-class submarine,” said Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of weapon systems at BAE Systems.
The move to build up the Virginia-class submarine's firepower would help the service branch maintain its strike functionality as four SSGN guided-missile submarines approach retirement, Senftle added.
The initial contract award covers tooling and certification work as well as delivery of production readiness-related items.
BAE will perform work at its Louisville, Kentucky-based facility under the transaction and expects to receive contracts to produce launch tubes in early 2017.