General Dynamics Electric Boat

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This article is about a US corporation named Electric Boat
Not to be confused with electric boats.
General Dynamics Electric Boat
Industry Shipbuilding
Founded 1899
Founder Isaac Rice
Headquarters Groton, Connecticut, USA
Number of locations
Groton, CT,
Quonset Point, RI, New London, CT
Key people
Jeff Geiger
Parent General Dynamics

General Dynamics Electric Boat[1] (GDEB) is a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation. It has been the primary builder of submarines for the United States Navy for more than 100 years.

The company's main facilities are a shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, a hull-fabrication and outfitting facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and a design and engineering facility in New London, Connecticut.


The company was founded in 1899 by Isaac Rice as the Electric Boat Company to build John Philip Holland's submersible designs, which were developed at Lewis Nixon's Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Holland VI was the first submarine that this shipyard built, later renamed USS Holland (SS-1). On 11 April 1900, it became the first modern submarine to be purchased and commissioned into the United States Navy. The success of Holland VI created a demand for follow-up models (A-class or Plunger class) that began with the prototype submersible Fulton built at Electric Boat (EB). Some foreign navies were interested in John Holland's latest submarine designs, and so purchased the rights to build them under licensing contracts through the Electric Boat Company, and these included Great Britain's Royal Navy, Japan's Imperial Japanese Navy, Russia's Imperial Russian Navy, and the Netherlands' Royal Netherlands Navy.

During the World War I era, the company and its subsidiaries (notably Elco) built 85 submarines (via subcontractors) and 722 submarine chasers for the US Navy, and 580 80-foot motor launches for the British Royal Navy.[2] After the war, the US Navy did not order another submarine from the company until Cuttlefish in 1931.[3] During World War II, the company built 74 submarines, while Elco built nearly 400 PT boats.[4] Electric Boat ranked 77th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[5]

In 1952, Electric Boat was reorganized as General Dynamics Corporation under John Jay Hopkins. General Dynamics acquired Convair the following year, and the holding company assumed the "General Dynamics" name, with the submarine building operation reverting to the "Electric Boat" name.[6]

Electric Boat built the first nuclear submarine USS Nautilus, which was launched in January 1954, and the first ballistic missile submarine USS George Washington in 1959. Submarines of the Ohio-, Los Angeles-, Seawolf-, and Virginia-classes were also constructed by Electric Boat.

In 2002, Electric Boat conducted preservation work on the Nautilus, preparing her for her berth at the US Navy Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut, where she now resides as a museum. Electric Boat's first submarine Holland was scrapped in 1932.

Electric Boat overhauls and undertakes repair work on fast attack class boats. Electric Boat built the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines and Seawolf-class submarines, as well as others. However, most of the work done in the shipyard today is focused on construction of the Virginia-class, notably the new Block III evolution.


  1. ^ General Dynamics Electric Boat home page
  2. ^ Gardiner, p. 101, 132-133
  3. ^ Lenton, H. T. American Submarines (Doubleday, 1973), p.37; Friedman, Norman. U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History (United States Naval Institute Press, 2005), pp. 285–304.
  4. ^ Lenton, pp.5 & 62-102 passim.
  5. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  6. ^ "General Dynamics Corporation". U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Retrieved 2006-03-31. 
  • Gardiner, Robert, Conway's all the world's fighting ships 1906–1921 Conway Maritime Press, 1985. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Defender: The Story of General Dynamics, by Roger Franklin. Published by Harper and Row 1986.
  • Brotherhood of Arms: General Dynamics and The Business of Defending America, by Jacob Goodwin. Published 1985. Random House.
  • The Legend of Electric Boat, Serving The Silent Service. Published by Write Stuff Syndicate, 1994 and 2007. Written by Jeffery L. Rodengen.
  • International Directory of Company Histories Volume 86 under General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corporation, July 2007; pp. 136–139. Published by St James Press/Thomson Gale Group.
  • Who Built Those Subs? Naval History Magazine, Oct. 1998 125th Anniversary issue, pp. 31–34. Written by Richard Knowles Morris PhD. Published by The United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, Md. Copyrighted 1998.
  • The Klaxon, The U.S. Navy's official submarine force newsletter, April 1992. Published by the Nautilus Memorial Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton/New London, CT.
  • "The Ups and Downs of Electric Boat" John D. Alden, United States Naval Institute, Proceedings Magazine, July 1, 1999, p. 64.
  • Running Critical: The Silent War, Rickover, and General Dynamics, by Patrick Tyler. Published by Harper & Row 1986.

External links[edit]