General Dynamics in Pittsfield

The U.S. Navy has increased by $43.2 million its contract with General Dynamics Mission Systems for work on ballistic missile submarines. The work will take place mostly at the company’s Pittsfield facility.

PITTSFIELD — General Dynamics Mission Systems has landed a new four-year, $104.2 million submarine contract from the U.S. Navy. Most of the work will be done in Pittsfield, company officials said Wednesday.

The company is expanding to accommodate the work, which includes development, production and installation of fire-control systems for the Columbia/Dreadnought class of ballistic missile submarines.

That expansion has begun and is expected to be completed by November 2024. The installation of gear will take place outside Pittsfield.

Most of the new work will be done by the company's current 1,633-member workforce, said Laura Hooks, vice president of General Dynamics Mission Systems Strategic Systems.

The company plans to add manufacturing employees under the new contract — though the number was not available Wednesday. General Dynamics hired 55 manufacturing employees last year and is expected to add 15 this year.

"A lot of the work will be done by people who have been supporting the programs in some of our Ohio and Trident [submarine] work," Hooks said. "They will shift over to support the Columbia/Dreadnought work. There will be a ramp-up on the manufacturing side."

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer welcomed news of the contract.

"In these economic times and under the circumstances of our national, state and local economies, this is really good news for job retention for the stability of our economy," she said. "It's speaks to their expertise, and I'm just really very pleased for them."

Although the contract won't significantly boost General Dynamics' workforce, it has managed to thrive despite restrictions placed on the economy by the COVID-19 pandemic,

General Dynamics has hired 38 new Pittsfield employees in 2020, and 23 more are expected to be hired this summer, Hooks said.

The company is hiring for its 32 open local positions. General Dynamics also has brought 52 interns to Pittsfield this summer. That's less than the 78 interns it had last summer, but more than the 45 who interned in 2018.

Of the new interns, 60 percent are returnees from last year and 76 percent are living in the Berkshires (including 53 percent who are residing with their families).

Due to safety concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, 88 percent of General Dynamics' interns are working remotely.

This is the first contract General Dynamics Mission Systems has received for the development, production, installation and support exclusively for this type of submarine.

General Dynamics will deliver the fire-control system for the Navy's first Columbia-class submarine and the first U.S. Columbia-class training facility, the Kings Bay Trident Training Facility in St. Mary's, Ga.

Hooks said the company has been working with the Navy for more than six decades.

General Dynamics has installed safety features for its workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have shifted to work remotely if we can ... and I think that will continue throughout the contract," Hooks said.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-281-2755.

Correction: Laura Hooks is the vice president of General Dynamics Mission Systems Strategic Systems. Her name and title were incorrect in the original version of this story. The number of company employees is 1,633, also incorrect in the original version.