The investigation into suspected third party components used in the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN-774) program is still ongoing, Naval Sea Systems Command officials told USNI News on Wednesday.
“The investigation is still ongoing so the name of the vendor is still being withheld and the shipbuilders [General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) and Huntington Ingalls industries (HII)] in conjunction with the Navy are heading that investigation,” read the statement provided to USNI News.
“The extremely critical component work is being removed from the vendor and taken in-house with the shipbuilders.”
The investigation into suspected third-party components found in the bow and stern of USS North Dakota (SSN-784), mounted earlier this year, delayed the $2.6 billion boat’s commissioning by five months. The attack boat is the first Block III Virginia, built with extensive modifications to the bow section designed to improve manufacturing efficiencies.
“These components included stern planes and rudder rams, retractable bow plane cylinders, hydraulic accumulators, high pressure air charging manifolds, torpedo tube interlocks and shaft/link assemblies, weapons shipping and handling mechanisms, and other miscellaneous parts,” read an August NAVSEA statement.
“The submarine was certified for sea trials and is tracking towards the Aug. 31 contractual delivery date.”
The yet-as-identified third-party vendor is still working on the Block III Virginia program with a hundred percent “oversight and work controls,” by EB and HII.
NAVSEA did not specify the timeline for the investigation or additional conditions for the oversight.
North Dakota commissioned on Saturday at Navy Submarine Base New London, Conn. The problem with the third-party components is an atypical misstep for the Virginia program, widely considered the service’s highest preforming shipbuilding program.
“[North Dakota] completed sea trials, delivered under budget and [two] days early with the highest Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) results ever,” read the NAVSEA statement.
The following is the complete Oct. 29, 2014 statement to USNI News from U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command:
The investigation is still ongoing so the name of the vendor is still being withheld and the shipbuilders (EB&HII) in conjunction with the Navy are heading that investigation. The vendor is still working on select components with 100% Oversight / Work Controls from the shipbuilders. The extremely critical component work is being removed from the vendor and taken in-house with the shipbuilders. Note that after the inspections were done and repairs completed, SSN 784 completed sea trials, delivered under budget and 2 days early with the highest Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) results ever.