NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) -- Northrop Grumman is ramping up the submarine-building program at its Newport News shipyard in preparation for building two subs per year starting in 2011.
The company plans to increase the number of workers in the program by up to 1,000 and invest more than $200 million in facility improvements.
The Navy intends to build a class of 30 ships to replace the aging Los Angeles-class attack submarines. In the next 30 years, the plan is to buy 25 at a cost of about $63 billion.
The sea service announced in February it is seeking to buy two attack submarines next year for the first time since the early 1990s and has requested $5.1 billion as part of the defense budget to double the production rate of Virginia Class submarines beginning in 2011.
Officials say the workers will be added over several years and include new hires as well as transfers from other shipbuilding programs. To prepare for the increased production, the company also is constructing a 70,000-square-foot outfitting building, a materials facility and purchase new tools and equipment.
About 3,500 workers build Virginia Class submarines at the shipyard, one of two U.S. shipyards to build the nuclear-powered, fast-attack boats for the Navy.
Northrop and its partner, General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., each build modules of submarines and take turns on final assembly and delivery.