The U.S. Navy's $22.2 billion new contract with Groton-based submarine manufacturer General Dynamics Electric Boat is a major boost for the state's economy and job growth.

Announced this week, the long anticipated agreement to deliver at least nine Virginia-class attack submarines—to be built over the next five years—is the Navy's largest submarine contract in history.

The $22.2 billion contract calls for the delivery of nine Virginia class submarines with an option for a 10th.

The contract, which calls for larger and more complicated submarines than originally specified, will require thousands of skilled workers and pour hundreds of millions of dollars into Electric Boat's supply chain.

Electric Boat president Kevin Graney said the agreement includes an option to build a 10th submarine, bringing the potential value of the contract to over $24 billion.

"This contract allows for our shipbuilding team, our suppliers, and our employees to plan ahead so that we can continue to deliver submarines of unmatched quality, stealth, and lethality," Graney said in a statement.

"Increasing the cadence of our production from one per year to two, coupled with the start of full production of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, represents a generational increase in submarine production for our nation.

"We are prepared to meet the challenge."

Review

The option for a 10th submarine is contingent on a six-month review by the Navy to assess workforce needs and production capabilities at Electric Boat and its partner Newport News Shipbuilding.

Electric Boat, which has orders for 42 Virginia class and 12 new Columbia class submarines to be delivered over the next 20 years, broke ground in September on an $850 million expansion at its Groton shipyard.

The company employs more than 17,000 workers at its Groton, New London, and Quonset Point, Rhode Island facilities.

Over 2,200 new employees were hired in 2018 with another 1,400 new positions filled this year.

Electric Boat spent approximately $514 million across 446 suppliers in 2017, with over 75% of that total going to companies in southeastern and central Connecticut.

'Enhanced Project'

Connecticut U.S. House Representative Joe Courtney, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee's sea power subcommittee, said the new contract represented "a new, much more enhanced project."

"That's good news that continues to support an historic surge in workload and workforce at the Groton shipyard and throughout the Connecticut and national supply chain that supports it," Courtney told the Connecticut Mirror.

Gov. Ned Lamont welcomed the agreement, calling it "big news for workers throughout southeastern Connecticut."

"For years to come, the most advanced and most capable submarines in the world will continue to be built in Connecticut," he said.