House of Representatives supports two-per-year submarine production rate

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a defense spending bill today that authorizes funding for a second Virginia-class submarine in 2014.

In its version of the bill that authorizes appropriations for fiscal 2013, the House included $4.9 billion in funding for the Virginia-class submarine program — $3.2 billion to build two submarines in 2013 and $1.7 billion, or $778 million above the president's budget request, to purchase parts with long lead times for two boats in both 2014 and 2015.

The president's proposed budget calls for building one Virginia-class submarine in 2014 instead of two and two submarines in 2018 instead of one to save money now.

The bill also gives the Navy the contracting authority for a five-year block of up to 10 new submarines instead of capping the total at nine.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who worked to restore the funding for the second submarine, said the steady, two-per-year production rate is "good for EB" and "has massive economic benefits that will ripple up and down the supply chain, across Connecticut."

"Continuing a steady submarine production rate today will ensure that the Navy has the submarine force structure it needs, and that EB will still continue to produce the savings and efficiency that have made the Virginia class submarine program an example for all Pentagon programs," Courtney said.

The bill fully authorizes the budget request of $100 million in 2013 for research and development on a module with missile tubes that could boost firepower on Virginia-class submarines.

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