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NAVSEA: Investigation Into Third Party Virginia Submarine Components Ongoing

USS North Dakota (SSN-784) during August 2013 sea trials. US Navy Photo

USS North Dakota (SSN-784) during August 2013 sea trials. US Navy Photo

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.

  • Boris M Garsky

    This has been ongoing with general dynamics corporation since the 1970s. Back then, beside falsified billing practices which amounted to billions, they substituted inferior metals which caused stress fractures on the hulls, hull covers to break from the hull deck, cracked welds, etc, etc, etc. Back then, I was employed as a supervisor in the Industrial Engineering Dept. Sad to say, the navy investigators turned their heads out of fear of admiral rickover, who was dispised by the navy as incompetent and corrupt. One incident comes to mind; I was told by internal auditors hoe rickover demand to navigate one of the boats on sea trial and ran it into an underwater mountain causing substantial damage to the then 600 million dollars radar cone. I doubt that this investigation will go anywhere, they never do! By the way, this is not the only current investigation of GD by the Navy; they are again being investigated for fraud.

    • gunterprien

      Yeah. I read the book “Running Critical” By Patrick Tyler. A riveting read.
      Engine bedplates for the Steam turbines were installed backwards. and the subs had to be cut open..One Los Angles Submarine was “launched” but then spent a year been virtually rebuilt. It sounded like a dreadful waster …that was until I heard about the F-35…Now that is some deal. that thing.

    • NavySubNuke

      Radar cone you say? Interesting — in your version of reality do submarines use radar a lot?