U.S. Navy signs $492 million in contract options for nuclear subs

LYNCHBURG, Va. Nuclear-component company BWXT reports that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group has signed contract options totaling approximately $492 million with the the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for the manufacture of naval nuclear-reactor components.

Under the terms of the options, BWXT will perform a variety of manufacturing and material procurement activities, primarily to support Virginia-class submarine construction.

U.S. Navy materials show that the Virginia-class submarines have several innovations that significantly enhance its warfighting capabilities with an emphasis on littoral operations: Virginia class SSNs (the hull designation for a nuclear-powered attack submarine) have a fly-by-wire ship control system that provides improved shallow-water ship handling; special features to support Special Operation Forces (SOF), including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future offboard payloads; and a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. Virginia-class SSNs have replaced the traditional periscope with two masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms; because the barrel periscopes have been removed, the sub's control room has been moved down one deck and away from the hull's curvature, giving sailors extra room and an improved layout that provides the commanding officer with enhanced situational awareness.

BWXT’s facilities in Lynchburg, Virginia; Barberton and Euclid, Ohio; and Mount Vernon, Indiana will complete the nuclear-propulsion work over the next several years.

Topics covered in this article