Electric Boat’s services were called upon in WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. During WWI, Electric Boat delivered more than 80 submarines and overhauled another 30. It also built 550 submarine chasers for Great Britain. During WWII, the company pumped out another 74 subs. Electric Boat also delivered the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, which was requested by the Navy in the early 1950s.
Once the war was over, Electric Boat did not get any orders from the Navy. During that time it focused operations on building tugboats, ferries, fishing trawlers, and yachts. Printing Presses, machines to skin fish and stamp out bobby pins, and even repaired hair curlers for beauty parlors were part of the manufacturing line. In 1931, EB built the first welded submarine called the Cuttlefish. Soon after, the Navy was ordered several welded boats a year.
In its first 14 years of operation, Electric Boat was at risk of bankruptcy. Soon, however, the sinking of the passenger ship RMS Lusitania by a German U-Boat would renew international interest in submarines. Soon the company found itself flooded with orders from the US Navy, Great Britain, Russia, and Italy.
The company has maintained its focus on nuclear submarine repair and design, creating 15 of the 18 U.S. classes of nuclear submarines. Beginning with the U.S.S. George Washington in 1960, Electric Boat can be credited with all of the United States’ ballistic missile-firing submarines. To meet its demands, EB built a state of the art $150 million dollar facility in Groton, CT.
Electric Boat also played a vital role in this country’s success in the Cold War and beyond by delivering the three-ship Seawolf class, which includes the USS Jimmy Carter and the USS Connecticut. On recent challenges, Electric Boat has partnered with Newport News Shipbuilding in an effort to increase efficiency and lower cost to its customers. Electric Boat boasts that submarines will remain a key part of defense needs well into the future.