Newport News Considers Bidding for Trident Program

Associated Press

The Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. has expressed serious interest in building Trident submarines, buoying official hopes that General Dynamics Corp.'s monopoly can be broken, Pentagon sources said Friday.

The sources, who agreed to discuss the matter only if not identified by name, provided the Associated Press a copy of a letter sent to the Navy last week by J.E. Turner Jr., a Newport News senior vice president.

"As you are aware," Turner wrote, "we are currently in the process of an in-depth study to determine the feasibility of Newport News Shipbuilding competing in the Trident construction program.

"The preliminary findings appear to favor our becoming deeply involved in this important program. Although our study is not complete, we feel the ultimate conclusion will indicate it to be feasible to compete in the Trident program."

"That shows they are serious, just as we had hoped," said one Pentagon source. "That's the first time they've indicated that kind of interest."

Jack Schnaedter, a spokesman for Newport News, said Friday he could not elaborate on Turner's letter or say when the company would advise the Navy of its final decision.

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