General Dynamics Electric Boat
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Founder: Isaac Rice
Headquarters: Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Number of locations: (3) Groton, Ct., Quonset Point, R.I., New London, Ct.
Key people: Jeff Geiger
Parent Company: General Dynamics
General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) is a division of General Dynamics Corporation. It has been the primary builder of submarines for the United States Navy for over 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. The first submarine this shipyard built was Holland VI, which was later renamed U.S.S. 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 ushered in the demand for follow up models (A class or Plunger class) that began with the prototype submersible Fulton built at the same shipyard as Holland. Some overseas 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 United States Navy, and 580 - 80 foot motor launches for the British Royal Navy. After the war, the U.S. Navy did not order another submarine from the company until Cuttlefish in 1931. During World War II, the company built 74 submarines, while Elco built nearly 400 PT boats. Electric Boat ranked 77th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.
In 1952, Electric Boat was reorganized as General Dynamics Corporation under John Jay Hopkins. When General Dynamics acquired Convair the following year, the holding company assumed the ''General Dynamics'' name, with the submarine building operation reverting to the ''Electric Boat'' name. Electric Boat built the first nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, which was launched in January 1954, and the first ballistic missile submarine, the U.S.S. 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 U.S. 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 1913.