Home » Budget Industry » General Dynamic Electric Boat To Invest $852M to Expand Groton Shipyard


General Dynamic Electric Boat To Invest $852M to Expand Groton Shipyard

The Virginia-class attack submarine North Dakota (SSN-784) is rolled out of an indoor shipyard facility at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. US Navy Photo

General Dynamics Electric Boat is spending about half of its previously announced $1.7 billion multi-year capital expenditure plan on upgrading its Groton, Conn. manufacturing facility to accommodate building the new Columbia-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine.

Last week, Electric Boat officials and Connecticut’s governor announced an economic development plan including $852 million on upgrades to the Groton facility, and corporate spending in-state potentially worth billions more during the life of the program.

New machinery is being purchased and the company plans to build a third dry dock and manufacturing superstructure to house construction of the new Columbia-class. Electric Boat is also pledging to increase annual spending to more than $500 million on parts and material from some 700 Connecticut-based suppliers, said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, in a statement released last week.

“Our state’s partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat will ensure that thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs continue to grow for years to come. This isn’t just a good deal for southeastern Connecticut, it’s a good deal for residents across the state, where over 700 supply chain companies with locations in over 100 towns will see increased demand from the best submarine maker in the world,” said Malloy in a statement.

The Columbia-class will replace the aging Ohio-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines. The Navy plans to buy 12 Columbia-class subs, currently estimated to cost $7.3 billion each, according to statements made previously by Navy officials.

Encouraging such large capital investments made by the defense industrial base is something Pentagon officials frequently cite as part of their pitches to Congress when requesting a steady, predictable flow of money during budget requests.

“Filling up a parts bin does not happen in one fiscal-year cycle. We need to send a signal to industry that we need the parts on a consistent basis, so they make the investments to make the parts,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer while discussing the Fiscal Year 2019 budget request during a media briefing at the Pentagon last week.

An undated artist’s rendering of the planned Columbia-class submarine. Naval Sea Systems Command Image

In return for the commitment from Electric Boat, the state is offering $20 million worth of tax breaks, and loans of up to $35 million to purchase new machinery, which are also eligible for a state loan forgiveness program is Electric Boat meets new employment targets. Electric Boat is eligible for an $8 million state grant to help pay for training new employees hired by subcontractors. To accommodate the new dry dock, Connecticut also plans to spend $20 million on dredging the Thames River in Groton.

“This investment provides crucial support for the workforce development and facility expansion that will help Electric Boat grow, increase its economic contribution to the region, and continue to deliver the world’s most capable submarines to the U.S. Navy,” said Jeffrey S. Geiger, Electric Boat’s president, in a release. “It will also improve our competitive position, help us to secure additional work in the future, and solidify the region’s title of Submarine Capital of the World.”

The large investment in Electric Boat had been talked about by General Dynamics top executives for months. During a January conference call with Wall Street analysts, Chief Executive Phebe Novakovic said the company planned to reinvest $1.7 billion in capital expenditures at Electric Boat during the next several years.

“We are deep into the final engineering phase on the Columbia ballistic-missile submarine. We began material purchases early this year to support construction on the first ship for Columbia, forecast to begin full construction in 2020,” Novakovic said more recently, during a call with analysts discussing first-quarter results.

  • PolicyWonk

    Given the deterioration in the US ship building infrastructure, this is a good development, especially if we can sustain the new capacity.

    I’d also like to see options laid out for replacements for the Ohio-based SSGNs, as even the Virginians with VPM will simply not be able to replace all that firepower.

    • Horn

      If they can get the cost down, you might see an add-on order towards the endlife of the program for 4 SSGNs.

      • DaSaint

        And that would be around 20 years from now.

        • Horn

          Which would be fine, if our four oldest Ohio’s weren’t our SSGNs.

          • DaSaint

            Personally, I think it absurd to wait 20 years for an SSGN capability, as if the world will either just wait the 20 years for us to use them when we need to, or alternatively we find no further need for them in 20 years due to advancements in weaponry.

            If we can’t program in every fourth SSBN to be an SSGN, I’d rather consider each new SSN as contributing to the SSGN capability, or adding an additional VL module in each SSN to compensate across the board.

          • Stephen

            The Soviets presented SSGNs back in the 60s; we’ve never met that match. Russian submarine advances have included a lot of our silencing technology & their mix of weapon delivery continues to be impressive.

          • PolicyWonk

            We didn’t really have to, but when we were trying to figure out what to do about some still very useful SSBN’s that were going the way of the do-do bird as a result of arms treaties, the SSGN really made a lot of sense.

            And now that we have ’em, we’re soon to seeing a lot of stealthy and highly mobile firepower disappear (that the VPM simply cannot replace, as effective as they will be).

          • Duane

            We were firing guided missiles from submarines back in the 50s, before Russia even had a nuclear sub. Look up “Regulus”.

            The Russians today have a grand total of just 23 nuke subs. We are far ahead in both capability and capacity.

          • Stephen

            Sorry, didn’t expect a comment from someone of your stature.

          • Ken N

            Block V Virginia SSN’s will have the added VPM. This will added 28 more VL cells to the boat.

          • DaSaint

            Yes, I know. I’d rather spend the equivalent on modules than dedicated SSGN platforms. More shooters, more distributed lethality if you will.

          • Rocco

            Not in agreement

          • Duane

            The Virginia Payload Module which is now being built into all remaining Block V and later Virginia class SSNs, will result in eventual complete replacement of the SLCM capacity of the current 4 SSGNs now in service, though a temporary dip in capacity is projected for a few years in the late 2030s.

            The SSGNs are an artifact of reduced SLBM capacity from the arms reduction treaties. It made great sense at the time to convert our excess SSBNs to SSGNs, but it was a one time deal. We cannot convert new Columbia class SSBNs to SSGNs without losing necessary capacity in our most survivable and therfore most important leg of our strategic nuclear deterrent force.

        • D. Jones

          What governs useful life for an SSBN/SSGN? Obviously the reactor needs changed out. How about dive cycles? Is there some way to extend the life by reducing max dive depth, or is there some other aspect that places hard limits on sub life?

          • Rocco

            Hrs & time spent on deep dives! Like anything else!

          • Duane

            No. If you are going to pretend to answer sub questions, at least do some homework first. You obviously did not acquire any submarining knowledge first hand.

          • Rocco

            I think I know more about subs than you think mommies boy!! FYI I need substantiate something I don’t know… Unlike yourself!!

          • Michael Lopez

            What Boats did YOU serve on? I was a Torpedoman’s Mate on the Billfish (SSN-676) And the Pennsylvania (SSBN-735 PCU/Blue) and CSG-2 Staff. I am curious about your service, since you attack every one of us who actually served as Bubbleheads.

          • Rocco

            Excuse me!! Did I claim I served on a sub!! It’s none of your business what I served on!! &…….I’m not attacking every one here just Duane boy !! As you have no idea what our past conversations have been on other threads!!

          • Michael Lopez

            Bet you never served at all. Just another keyboard commando

          • Rocco

            What’s your problem!! Have I ever had a beef with you?? No so mind your 🖕 business!!! OK. You can think what you like I don’t care or have to prove my service to you!!! Jackwagon!!

          • Michael Lopez

            Thank you for proving my point. Have a great day sir.

          • Rocco

            GFYS Lopez!! That didn’t prove anything!! The only thing now is that you are harassing me!! So leave it at this!

          • Duane

            Nuclear submarine life is mostly determined by reactor life and refueling cycles. Up until the new Columbia class SSBNs, the reactors of SSNs and SSBNs and now SSGNs required at least one mid-life refueling overhaul

            The Columbias and also the Ford CVNs have for the first time a “life of ship” reactor.

            Reactor fuel is always the life limiting factor, unless a sub has been exposed to extraordinary stresses, such as perhaps a severe depth charge attack or high speed collusion with a ship or an undersea mountain.

    • Stephen

      Hard choices were made to strip Mare Island talent & skill, sent to Puget Sound, closing a shipyard that built a mix of WWII destroyers, diesel & later nuclear subs. MINSY had proven capability to service & maintain 688s; they could accommodate Virginias. The Navy also walked away from Alameda & its potential as a modernized industrial support base. Ironic that SF is a day or two closer (transit) to the Asian theater than any other West Coast facility.

      • D. Jones

        Closing MINSY was another Clinton “gift”

        nps gov/nr/travel/wwIIbayarea/mar.htm

        Between that and selling intel to the Chicoms, one wonders where their allegiances lay. (laid? lied? so may apropos choices)

        • Duane

          Closing any military installation requires Congressional authorization, which is very difficult to get because of pork barrel politics. Presidents cannot close naval bases or shipyards.

          And btw – MINS closed in 1996, and that particular Congress (the 104th), both houses, was controlled by the GOP.

        • PolicyWonk

          According to the 2008 US National Intelligence Estimate (the redacted version might still be available on-line), between 2002 and 2007 the ChiComs were given the largest transfer of dual-use technologies in history, dwarfing all previous administrations *combined*. Add to that, the hard-won manufacturing techniques, and about 30% of the US strategic manufacturing base, and now over 8M American jobs (and the tax base at the federal and state levels).

          In a mere 6 years, the ChiComs were given more technology than the Soviets got in 60 years of Cold War.

          In short: a massive national security disaster for the US and any nation in the Asian region.

          And US national security was sold out in return for a mere pittance.

      • Duane

        Not so on transit distance … The distance from Seattle to Tokyo via great circle track is at least 300 nm less than from San Francisco to Tokyo. We have Puget Sound Naval Shipyard just across the sound from Seattle, as well as Naval Base Bangor (WA) in the Seattle area.

    • NavySubNuke

      Replacements are already in the Navy’s 30 year shipbuilding plan — they don’t start construction until the the COLUMBIA class program is complete though so there will be an almost 20 year gap without dedicated SSGNs. The first new build SSGN arrives sometime in the early 2040s and a new one arrives every 3 – 4 years after that if I remember correctly.
      There simply isn’t the industrial capacity to do SSNs, SSBNs, and SSGNs all at the same time. When the Obama administration delayed the COLUMBIA class program by 2 years they killed the ability to slip in an SSGN any earlier. Without a massive multi-billion dollar upgrade to EB that is since anything is “possible” with money —- though the workforce would be an issue.

      • PolicyWonk

        I see your point. But when the costing estimates for the Columbia class became apparent, it did take a while to figure out where the money was going to come from, ’cause it totally busted the USN’s budget.

        This mess, isn’t merely an Obama problem: its far more emblematic of poor economic management that led to the Great Recession (tax breaks are good to a point, and then it starts damaging US economic security, which is what its doing now), and the most putrid acquisition system in the western world, that arguably garners the US taxpayer the lousiest deal for defense dollar spent in the western (let alone eastern) hemisphere.

        We either fix it, or our national security, and budget, all go to Hades in a hand-basket.

        • Rocco

          Can we sell the LCS class to recover some money??

          • PolicyWonk

            An excellent idea. But no one wants them, and as they keep getting “commissioned” and tied up to the pier (their natural habitat), the USN will probably have to find a way to quiet get rid of them.

            Given the current “designs” are the same ones turned down by the Saudis and Israelis, as too expensive for such a small ROI (the evidence of which is/are tied up/taking up pier space in Mayport and San Diego), the prognosis for finding buyers is remarkably poor.

          • Duane

            “No one” apparently excludes the entire United States Navy and 7 consecutive Congresses controlled by both parties.

            In your Orwellian fantasy universe, apparently “everyone” consists of fewer than two dozen ship hating keyboard warriors.

          • D. Jones

            And leave our nation LCS-less???

          • Rocco

            Lacking Capable System….Or Standard…..Or…..SH..!!

        • NavySubNuke

          Your unwillingness to allow Obama to bear even the slightest amount of blame for this issue checks with chart based on your previous comments of allegiance to him and all he did (despite there being no greater supporter of LCS than his own SECNAV Mabus).
          The bill for COLUMBIA was in no way back breaking and didn’t even come close to busting the Navy’s budget despite comments to the contrary. You have to realize that was all part of a PR effort to make sure the money to pay for the SSBNs actually came from “extra” money given to the Navy. But given the poor state of the fleet after the combined efforts of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama admins there was nothing to do but give the Navy that money anyway.

          • Duane

            No, dude, again. Mabus opposed the LCS, it was the uniformed leadership of the Navy that wanted, and still strongly supports the LCS.

            The decision to request the LCS program came from the Bush 43 administration, under Rumsfeld, and supported and authorized by a GOP controlled Congress, and continuing support for the program including the two large block buy contracts came from both Dem controlled and GOP controlled Congresses.

            And of course you continue to ignore the fact that Mabus was behind the request, as supported by uniformed leaders, to limit LCS to 32 hulls and convert the last 20 SSC hulls to FFG(X).

            Yes, we get it, you are a Trumpian and you hate Mabus and Obama just has you hate an inanimate ship type. But you are not entitled to lie about who supported your favorite ship to hate on and thereby convert a bipartisan, multi administration and multi Congess set of decisions that you loathe into your fantasy of a partisan fistfight.

            It just was not so, no matter how much you may yearn for your “alternative facts”.

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL. Oh Duane – it really is funny the stories you make up to try to justify your fandom of this failed program.
            Please do say hi to Ray, Putin, and Xi for me the next time you guys are at a fan club meeting.

          • PolicyWonk

            If you could share where you believe the information regarding where money for the Columbia program was, then I’ll be happy to review it.

            The Clinton Administration did follow the plans originally laid out by Colin Powell, and left behind by the administration of George H. W Bush to take advantage of the “peace dividend” that never really materialized at the end of the Cold War (which was immediately replaced by an expansion of independent, and state-sponsored terrorism). Those funding plans were found to be inadequate, and subsequently defense budgets were increased.

            George W Bush created an entirely new set of problems for the military that we have yet to recover from, while simultaneously leaving the nation suffering from the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

            Obama wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he was vast improvement over his predecessor, who’s historically significant poor performance as chief executive looks like it’ll be easily surpassed by the current incumbent. Your expectation to make less-than-realistic observations about his presidency and not being called out has little/no bearing whatsoever on my desire to stick to a reality-based discussion.

            Obama did put Ray Mabus into the USN’s drivers seat, and that (as we have beaten to death over the past months/years/etc) he was a lousy choice, has been a point of total agreement between us – as with the abortion known as the LCS program.

            But that program by itself hardly addresses the larger problems (though it is a stinker) caused by gross/incompetent management of this nations national security posture and defense.

            Cheers.

          • NavySubNuke

            Not sure what cost information you are looking for – the decision was made in 2013 to delay the OHIO Repalcement by 2 years — this meant instead of staying at a steady state force of 12 SSBNs we would drop to a steady state force of 10. Also meant that the back end of the program was delayed 2 years.
            By doing so the Obama admin pushed the bill for the lead ship construction from 2019 (which would have been in the FYDP) to 2021 which was safely outside of it.
            Just google “2013 ohio replacement ssbn program delay” for more information.

  • Ed L

    One Word Great

    • D. Jones

      Yep. Excellent.

      Although an argument could be made for them building a parallel facility somewhere between Virginia and Texas. Too many eggs in one basket at Groton.

      • Sir Bateman

        It’s hard to believe that back in the ’60s there was 7 separate shipyards turning out nuke subs for the USN.

        • Duane

          Cold War defense spending was much heavier than now. Also, the nuke SSNs we built were a lot smaller than today’s Virginia class, which is more than double the displacement of the 637 class that I served on, and about 1/3 larger than the follow-on 688 class. So it makes sense to have a lot fewer yards building SSNs.

          But it does appear that current sub production plans are stretching the limits of our industrial capacity, between ongoing Virginias and the Colombia SSBNs that are due to start production in 2020.

        • Rocco

          Why is it hard to believe???

          • Sir Bateman

            Just an observation on the current state of the U.S.’s shipbuilding industry as compared to 50 years, back then the U.S. had 7 nuclear certified yards turning out nuke subs, now we’re down to 2. I wish we still had that sort of industrial capacity at the ready.

          • Rocco

            Agreed! I did time in Philly yards back when!

      • Brian C. Lee

        Are there any facilities/companies that could meet such a requirement, though?

        • Sir Bateman

          Ingalls built 637 class SSNs for the USN back in the 60s & 70s, though I read that they dismantled their nuclear capability in 1980. A CBO estimate put certifying an existing yard for nuclear construction at $500 million. At any rate Ingalls will be pretty busy for the foreseeable future with the DDG-51, NSC, LX(R) and the LHA programs.

          Portsmouth Naval Shipyard built SSNs for the USN in the 1960s, but the powers at be seem to be disinclined to build ships, nuke subs or otherwise, at public shipyards, and I suspect that Portsmouth would need major capital investments to be in a position to build SSNs again.

          • USNVO

            HII NNS also built 688s and is currently building Virginia class subs as well, both final assembly and entire sections for Electric Boat.

            Naval Shipyards quit building nuclear submarines, or other ships for that matter, besides the whole don’t compete with private industry, because they were far more expensive than either Electric Boat or Newport News (or any other private yard).

      • USNVO

        Like like maybe at Newport News? Which would have no issues building either SSNs or SSBNs considering they already do.

  • Sir Bateman

    It looks as though as recently as the early ’90s Groton was laying down 2 SSNs and a SSBN in a single year, I know there’s been a severe contraction in the number of suppliers since then but did Groton decommission some of their facilities and infrastructure during the post Cold War draw down?

    • Rocco

      No their the only one that stayed in business.they just let things go because no money coming in allowed for upgrades!! Now they have no choice!

      • USNVO

        HII NNS is still in the submarine business as well. Both yards build modules and move them back and forth by barge to the final assembly site.

        • Rocco

          OK thanks

  • dog lover

    Just keep building. Thanks to Obama for gutting our MILITARY and enhancing Irans.

    • Rocco

      Lol

    • Stephen

      I’m a little confused; I thought Congress decided what & how many will be built. Our Gator Navy & the LCS programs along with airframe acquisition seems more pork-barrel in nature. The sequester has really hurt the Navy. (Product of divided government.)

      • PolicyWonk

        It is a product of divided government to some extent, but it’s really a product of the Great Recession, imposed on this nation after 7 years of total negligence and irresponsible economic management of this nations affairs.

        Read the CBO Report on the Causes Of The Great Recession. Its a real page-turner!

    • DaSaint

      Congress holds the purse strings, never the POTUS.

    • PolicyWonk

      How did Obama gut our military?

      For example, when Obama took office, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff issued their Report on Force Readiness to The POTUS (spring 2009), that declared our armed forces were “at their lowest state of readiness since Vietnam…”.

      So, this is pretty simple: the US Armed Forces were gutted by the gross mismanagement of this nations affairs at the hands of the GOP Administration of George W Bush.

      Here’s a simple comparison to help your analysis: State of the union inherited by George W Bush, versus State of the Union inherited by Barack Obama.

      Then look at the state of the Union inherited by Obama, and compare that to the state of the union inherited by Donald Trump.

      Then try explaining to me why Obama is/was the culprit.

      cheers.

    • Beomoose

      Obama’s Pentagon increased SSN purchase rate from 1/year to 2/year and put the new SSBN program on pretty solid footing. His industry also oversaw an overall increase in Navy shipbuilding, the first since the 90s.

  • Western

    Thank you, President Trump.

    • Rocco

      Thanks for what!!!!

    • Duane

      The President is not the Congress. Presidents have never determined defense authorizations like this.

    • Beomoose

      Thank you for, what? For not cancelling the new SSBN? Whatever your opinion of him, this is not a result of any action he has taken.

  • Just Bill

    This pleases me to no end as you should know that I believe the Navy should have no surface vessels. Yeah, I know I will catch more flak over this once more. but a submarine can do anything any warship can do but they disappear once the dirty deeds are done. We have came to a junction where ships are no more than large targets when it comes to China and Russia who have an arsenal of missiles that can easily hit their surface targets. Groton would ramp up operations if you gave them the orders and lets not move away from diesel boats as one surfaced right next to a CVN from Sweden and they just happened to be the foe on this exercise and some say there the quietest in the world. Why not let Sweden build some for us?

    • Rocco

      Groton can only go so fast!! & When was this swedish sub incident? We already examined the swed sub…. Diesel boat! I agree with the diesel sub’s! But not with the surface warfare comments!.

      • Just Bill

        Then get Sweden to build us a dozen diesel submarines as politicians have utterly destroyed our industrial base. The Swedish subs are the quietest in the world and the cost is nothing compared to a CVN. One Swedish sub beat an entire CVN battleground and surfaced where the CVN could see them real good. Swedish missile technology is such that that CVN would have damaged that carrier in a bad way.

    • PolicyWonk

      The Swedish boat was a Gotland class AIP boat.

      And you’re right: they cleaned the USN’s clock in wargames so badly so many times, the USN extended the lease on it twice, to try to figure out how to counter it.

      OTOH, for deterrence to work, you have to be seen. And submarines are typically not seen, and therefore aren’t much of a deterrent.

      Until the shooting starts, and all their targets start sinking. But by then however, its too late.

      • Duane

        Most surface warships are at a disadvantage with just about any submarine. But the little coastal AIP boats have nowhere near the capability of any US SSN. Their sensors are poor, their ability to go deep is nil, and they would be sitting ducks in a real shooting war against our subs or surface warships equipped with VDS.

        They are quiet, that. Quiet is very important, but it isn’t the only thing in submarine warfare.

  • Duane

    You keep trolling me on this issue of my service. You are the one who challenged me a few months ago claiming that “637 class subs were boomers”. So you are hardly the one to claim I never served on an SSN because I didn’t know what a 637 class boat is.

    I challenge you, on the other hand, to come up with even one intelligent question about the design or operations of 637 class SSNs in the Cold War that I cannot answer.

    As it is said, put up or shut up.

    • Rocco

      No I won’t shut up!! I told you at that time I miss spoke on the class as I read the SSN number wrong!! …But the way you behave on here & as all others agree that you full of BS!! I’m not a sun guy, but I could look up anything on the web just like you do troll boy & make believe!!

      • Duane

        You haven’t posed an intelligent submarining question to me yet, and until you apologize for slandering me and admit you have no first hand knowledge of submarining, and stop acting like a beligerent troll, then yes, you must either put up or shut up.

    • Bubblehead

      So which 637 did you serve on and when?

      • Duane

        Gurnard, SSN 662, mid 70s

  • Frank Langham

    Remember, though, that Virginia Class SSNs (and Burke DDGs) are the very teeth of our force projection (and force protection). … We will never have enough of either platform (nor soon enough). … We need another shed, in order to build more SSNs (boost the rate of production).