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Virginia class

Nuclear-powered attack submarine

Virginia class SSN

The Virginia class is a smaller, cheaper and more versatile alternative to the Seawolf class



Entered service 2004
Crew 134 men
Diving depth (operational) over 250 m
Diving depth (maximum) ?
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 114.9 m
Beam 10.3 m
Draught 9.3 m
Surfaced displacement 7 800 tons
Submerged displacement ?
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 25 knots
Submerged speed 32 knots
Nuclear reactors 1 x S9G
Steam turbines 2 x ?
Armament
Missiles 12 x vertical launch system tubes for UGM-109 Tomahawk missiles
Torpedoes 4 x 533-mm bow tubes for Mk.48 torpedoes
Other smart mines in place of torpedoes

 

   The US Navy's Virginia class nuclear-powered attack submarine is as a successor to the Los Angeles class. It was designed as a smaller, cheaper and more versatile alternative to the Seawolf class. It is worth mentioning that the Seawolf class showed itself to be too costly and insufficiently versatile at a time after the dissolution of the USSR info the CIS had removed the grand strategic threat of the Soviet forces and ushered in a new world order demanding cheaper solutions for a whole range of lower threat operational tasks. The US Navy therefore wanted a new generation of SSNs. Production run of the Seawolf was stopped with only three vessels built.

   The Virginia class nuclear-powered attack submarine, was conceived as an advanced 'stealthy' type with multi-mission capability for the completion of deep-ocean service in the anti-submarine role and also for shallow-water service in a whole range of littoral tasks. A total of 30 of these submarines are planned. The USS New Hampshire and other submarines constructed since 2007 are a Block II submarines and have a number of improvements. The USS North Dakota and other submarines constructed since 2012 are further improved Block III submarines.

   The Virginia class submarines are built by the Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corporation and Northrop Grumman Newport News. The building programme is in fact collaborative, with Electric Boat making the cylindrical central section of the hull, and Newport News the bow and stern sections as well as three modules to be inserted in the central hull, each of the companies makes the reactor plant module for the submarine it completes.

   The Virginia class submarines are fitted with 12 vertical launch system (VLS) tubes. The VLS can launch 16 submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missile. These missiles have a range of 1 700 km and are used to attack ships and land targets. Also there are four 533-mm torpedo tubes. Torpedo tubes are used to fire a total of 26 Mk.48 heavyweight torpedoes and Sub Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Smart mines can be used in place of torpedoes.

   These boats can be also used for special operations. It is the first US submarine to employ a built-in Navy SEAL staging area allowing a team of 9 men to enter and leave the submarine.

   The Virginia class submarines incorporate newly designed anechoic coating, isolated deck structures and new design of propulsor to achieve low acoustic signature. It is claimed that noise level of the Virginia is equal to that of the Seawolf class.

   These submarines are powered by the S9G pressurized water reactor, two turbine engines with one shaft and pumpjet propulsor. It is worth mentioning that nuclear reactor was designed to last as long as the submarine. It will run for 33 years without refueling. Submarines of this class are fitted with with multi-band satellite communication system.

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
USS Virginia (SSN-774) 1999 2003 2004 active, in service

USS Texas (SSN-775)

2000 2005 2006 active, in service

USS Hawaii (SSN-776)

2004 2006 2007 active, in service

USS North Carolina (SSN-777)

2004 2007 2008 active, in service

USS New Hampshire (SSN-778)

2007 2008 2008 active, in service

USS New Mexico (SSN-779)

2008 2009 2010 active, in service

USS Missouri (SSN-780)

2008 2009 2010 active, in service

USS California (SSN-781)

2009 2010 2011

active, in service

USS Mississippi (SSN-782)

2010 2010 2012

active, in service

USS Minnesota (SSN-783)

2011 2011 2013

active, in service

USS North Dakota (SSN-784)

2012 2013 expected in 2014

under construction

USS John Warner (SSN-785)

2013 ? expected in 2015

under construction

USS Illinois (SSN-786)

? ? ?

under construction

USS Washington (SSN-787)

? ? ?

under construction

USS Colorado (SSN-788)

? ? ?

planned

USS Indiana (SSN-789)

? ? ?

planned

USS South Dakota (SSN-790)

? ? ?

planned

USS Delaware (SSN-791)

? ? ?

planned

 

Video of the Virginia class nuclear-powered attack submarine

 

 
Virginia class SSN

Virginia class SSN

Virginia class SSN

Virginia class SSN

Virginia class SSN

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