No rest for defense
DOD contracts keep Hampton Roads companies busy
Some of the biggest economic news in Hampton Roads over the past year has come from Department of Defense projects.
The top headline belongs to a pair of massive Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) contracts. In November 2019, Reston-based General Dynamics Corp. won the largest Navy contract ever awarded, $22.2 billion, to produce nuclear submarines. It’s a deal that benefits the company’s Electric Boat unit based in Rhode Island, as well as Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding, which was also awarded a $14.9 billion contract to produce nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for the Navy.
Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), which has hired about 10,000 people since 2016, is expected to deliver five submarines between 2025 and 2029. NNS works with General Dynamics’ Electric Boat to manufacture different elements of the attack submarines, which are later assembled. In December, NNS won a $454.1 million contract awarded by the Pentagon for engineering, design, research and development work on nuclear-powered submarines.
General Dynamics received in June an $869 million modification to a 2017 contract to build two ballistic missile submarines for the U.S. Navy, raising the contract’s value to $9.47 billion. The two Columbia-class subs will replace the Navy’s current Ohio-class submarine fleet. Most of the work will be done in Rhode Island and Connecticut, but NNS will take part in the project.
Virginia Beach’s Global Technical Systems, which is building a $70 million headquarters and manufacturing facility on the former Owl Creek Golf Course, landed a $782 million contract in April to manufacture equipment for the Navy’s combat system network. The company, co-founded by Navy veteran Terry Spitzer and his wife, Yusun, in 1997, hopes to add up to 1,100 employees by the time the new facility is operational in fall 2021.
In August, Virginia Beach-based QED Systems Inc. was awarded $30.4 million of a $165.1 million U.S. Army and Navy contract for program management and technical services for the two military branches’ assault craft, submarines and surface ships. QED is among five contractors awarded parts of the DOD project, which also involves logistics, installation of electrical components, fleet support and testing.
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) awarded a $90.7 million contract in December to Suffolk-based Sysco Hampton Roads Inc. for perishable and semi-perishable goods, and General Dynamics NASSCO-Norfolk received a $96.9 million contract for maintenance and repair of the USS Mason destroyer in Norfolk.
ITA International LLC landed a military contract in August, a five-year, $50 million task order to consolidate and modernize the U.S. Air Force’s electromagnetic spectrum operations at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, awarded by the U.S. General Services Administration. EMS includes an array of frequencies used for radios, GPS, cell phones and remotely controlled devices, which has seen more commercial and adversarial military competition for its use, according to DOD officials. ITA will help automate and integrate EMS data under the new contract.