USS Iowa christening ceremony: A nuclear-powered submarine is shown in drydock during a ceremonial christening event with red, white and blue sashes and a large US flag hanging nearby.
The Virginia-class nuclear submarine USS Iowa is shown during its christening ceremony this weekend at the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. Credit: USS Iowa SSN 797 Commissioning Team / General Dynamics Electric Boat

Connecticut-based Electric Boat has landed a $967 million contract from the U.S. Navy for modifications to its Virginia-class fast-attack submarines with much of the work expected to be carried out at the company’s Groton shipyard. 

The General Dynamics company announced the contract in a Tuesday press release, which said the modifications would be conducted in Groton and other EB facilities in McLeansville, North Carolina; Newport News, Virginia; as well as Newport and Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

Around 95% of the work will be completed in Connecticut, according to the Defense Department

“This contract award supports critical work to further advance the capability and superiority of the Virginia class submarine,” Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat, said in a press release. “We are proud to continue our tradition of delivering this state-of the-art platform that ensures the safety of our sailors and their continued dominance in the undersea domain.”

The company expects the submarine upgrades to be completed by October of next year, according to the General Dynamics press release. 

Earlier this year, EB announced plans to hire around 5,700 new employees after expanding its workforce by around 3,700 in 2022. 

The positive news for Electric Boat comes as another Connecticut-based defense company prepared to downsize its staff. Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin company based in Stratford, plans to layoff 179 employees in Connecticut sometime this fall, a spokesperson said Wednesday.

The layoffs will come from the aircraft manufacturer’s business segment, according to the statement, which described a number of major programs no longer requiring developmental support as they move into production. Meanwhile, material shortages have affected the company’s cost effectiveness, the spokesperson said. 

“This was a difficult decision to make, and we intend to retain as many people as possible to fill our open business-critical positions that are required to support urgent national security missions,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Sikorsky is taking these actions to ensure cost-competitiveness in the future.”

In August, Sikorsky celebrated a $2.7 billion Navy contract to 35 additional CH-53K King Stallion helicopters. However, that award followed disappointing news last year when the manufacturer lost a bid to produce the successor to its H-60 Black Hawk helicopter. That contract went instead to Texas-based Bell Textron.