Today is an exciting day for the shipyard. We aren’t just breaking ground on a new facility, we're breaking the mold on how we build aircraft carriers and submarines. JMAF will be a cross‐program facility equipped with multiple worksites and outfitted with advanced technology, including automated equipment, heavy weight cranes, large transportation doors and specialty paint bays. This state‐of‐the‐art facility will provide the shipyard with a competitive and sustainable advantage in an industry faced with tightening defense dollars and budget cuts. This is extremely important as we look to the future of our business, our growth potential and job sustainment.
We have designed JMAF to accommodate the long‐term aircraft carrier and submarine program requirements outlined in the U.S. Navy’s 30‐year shipbuilding plan. It will be built in phases, with the first phase opening in 2017, to support Virginia‐class submarines and our newest aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy. In the years that follow, we will work with the city and the Commonwealth to expand the facility in support of future carrier contracts and submarine programs that will continue to bring jobs and economic vitality to Hampton Roads.
In short, JMAF is a big step forward. But while impressive, it’s still just bricks and mortar. It’s the shipbuilders who will work here that are the key differentiators in our overall success. That's true across the shipyard, no matter what organization you're talking about. It’s the people behind the art and science of shipbuilding who make all the difference. This facility is going to help them in their daily jobs. It will improve their quality of life and safety by moving work indoors, where they are protected from the weather. And it will provide on‐site support services and equipment, which gives them everything they need to do their job in one location. These improvements will increase productivity and efficiency, while driving down overall cost and ensuring schedule performance.
Strong performance is critical to every job we perform at this shipyard. This has never been truer than it is now, in today's environment. If we are going to secure future contracts and build new product lines, we must focus on being on‐time and at or below budget. This facility will allow us to meet those goals.
For 129 years, we have been a fixture here in Newport News, Virginia. We believe that investing in this new facility is an investment in our shipbuilders, our community and our company's future, continuing our legacy of "Always Good Ships" well into the next century.