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While testifying before Congress yesterday, two top Navy officials signaled they are open to structuring the upcoming Virginia-class block V submarine multiyear procurement contract to allow for options that would increase the total buy above the expected 10 submarines.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), whose home state houses General Dynamics Electric Boat, the prime contractor for the Virginia- and Columbia-class submarines, told Navy Secretary Richard Spencer the service was sending “mixed signals” to Congress.

On one hand, the service’s 30-year shipbuilding plan indicates a capacity for building three submarines per year in future fiscal years. However, the Navy’s fiscal year 2019 budget request shows the Navy pursuing only two submarines per year from FY-19 to FY-23, Courtney noted.

Spencer acknowledged the option is available and the Navy is discussing it with industry, but said the possibility hinges on money.

The option is available if “the resources are there. It is the managing of the resources. If in fact through reformation I can find another $2 billion within the Navy and I can reapply those funds internally to that program, or any other of the programs, [then the option is] totally available,” Spencer said.

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