March 28, 2016 / 11:20 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. names General Dynamics prime contractor for new submarines

The Virginia-class USS North Dakota (SSN 784) submarine is seen during bravo sea trials in this U.S. Navy handout picture taken in the Atlantic Ocean August 18, 2013. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Dynamics Corp will be the prime contractor for development of 12 new submarines to carry nuclear ballistic missiles and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc will be the major supplier under a plan released by the U.S. Navy on Monday.

The Navy said its new “Submarine Unified Build Strategy” is aimed at ensuring that concurrent work stays on cost and schedule for both the replacement of the current nuclear-armed Ohio class submarines, and construction of conventional Virginia-class submarines.

The plan, agreed to by both companies, calls for General Dynamics to lead design and delivery of the 12 new Ohio-class replacement submarines, while Huntington Ingalls will work on design and construction of major assemblies and modules.

General Dynamics will remain the prime contractor for work on the Virginia-class submarines, which are also built by both companies.

However, given the priority of the Ohio-class replacement program, the plan calls for Huntington Ingalls to take over building any additional Virginia-class submarines as needed, the Navy said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how many additional Virginia-class submarines Huntington Ingalls would build.

Representative Joe Courtney of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the seapower and projection forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, welcomed the Navy’s confirmation that it planned to continue building two Virginia-class submarines a year through at least 2023.

“Our current fleet is strained beyond its ability to meet the demand for undersea capabilities and ... we need to do all we can to mitigate the looming shortfall in the decade ahead,” he said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by David Gregorio

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