By Shaunta Saxton, July 15, 2020
The USS Helena (SSN 725) is due for repair, maintenance, modernization, and various upgrades this year. The $35.3 million contract has recently been awarded to Newport News’ own Huntington Ingalls Industries. Although a new award, the contract is set to be complete by October of this year, making for an overall fast turnaround. The work will be completed during dry-docking selected restricted availability (DSRA).
Launched in 1986, the USS Helena was originally built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut. The Los Angeles class nuclear submarine is the 4th U.S. Navy vessel to be named after the city of Helena, MT. In it’s 34 years of service the Helena has traveled throughout the globe and has completed missions in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic oceans.
The demand for expansion and improvements in undersea warfare stems from pressures in the Asia-Pacific region by India and China. Nuclear attack subs are expected to be the largest segment of military growth in the global submarine arena in the coming years. Much of this is driven by several high-value global procurement programs including those for the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class submarines.
Providing more than 70% of the U.S. Navy’s vessels, Huntington Ingalls specializes in the design and manufacturing of expeditionary and amphibious assault ships. This latest award represents less than 1% of the $32.3 billion defense budget planned in 2021 for shipbuilding.
Planned military spending in the years ahead is likely to increase the demand for various assault ships, including LHA-9 class warships. Several companies should benefit from these initiatives including Huntington Ingalls, Bae Systems, General Dynamics and others.
Shaunta Saxton has worked with Ameri-Force since 2006 and is currently the Manager of our Norfolk, VA branch office. Her work has focused primarily on the Newport News shipyard for the past 13 years. Shaunta is well known throughout the shipyard as she has spent a great deal of time aboard the various vessels under construction. This has given Shaunta a first-hand appreciation of the work our craftsmen put into every inch of the ships they help create. Shaunta has developed a passion for the Maritime Industry and says “it isn’t work for me, it’s one of the things I love.”