By Chris Barrett
Providence Business News Staff Writer
NEWPORT – The Naval Undersea Warfare Center at Naval Station Newport said Thursday that the program pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy last year.
The center, just one component of the naval base, had a $1.1 billion budget during 2010. Of that, the center spent more than $668 million on payroll, construction, facility support and local contracts. That made the center the largest federal activity in Rhode Island when measured in terms of personnel and payroll, the center said in a news release.
The center provides research and development for military submarines, autonomous underwater systems and undersea weapons. In 2010, it employed 2,758 civilian employees and 30 military personnel and had a total gross payroll of nearly $277 million.
The civilian employee count increased from the 2,683 people employed in 2009 as the center went on a spree of hiring scientists and engineers. The military count remained unchanged.
The center also awarded $534 million in contracts. Of that, Rhode Island-based businesses received $317 million, Massachusetts companies $30 million and Connecticut firms $14 million.
The center traces its roots to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Todd Cramer, the center maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, N.Y.; and Dodge Pond, Conn.
While visiting Naval Station Newport, plan to stay at The Spring Seasons Inn in Newport, Rhode Island.