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HII Launches 25th Virginia class submarine for the US Navy

The US Navy’s seventh Block IV Virginia class attack submarine, Massachusetts (SSN 798), was recently launched into the James River at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division.

Shipbuilders transferred the submarine from a construction facility to the floating dry dock, where it was later submerged and moved by tugboats to a submarine pier at the shipyard for final outfitting, testing and crew certification.

“Following the christening of this mighty submarine in May, witnessing Massachusetts launch into the river is a source of immense pride for our shipbuilding team,” said Jason Ward, NNS vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction.

“We understand the importance of Massachusetts, and we will continue to execute with purpose to bring this important national security asset to life and deliver it to the Navy.”

Virginia class nuclear-powered fast attack submarines are built for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions to replace the Navy’s Los Angeles-class submarines as they are retired.

Virginia class submarines incorporate dozens of new technologies and innovations that increase firepower, manoeuvrability and stealth to significantly enhance their capabilities. These submarines are capable of supporting multiple mission areas and can operate at speeds of more than 25 knots.

Massachusetts is the 25th Virginia-class submarine and will be the 12th delivered by NNS, which is one of only two shipyards capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines for the U.S. Navy.

Block IV submarines (SSNs 792 to 801) incorporate design changes focused on reduced total ownership cost (RTOC).

By making these smaller-scale design changes to increase the component-level lifecycle of the submarine, the US Navy will increase the periodicity between depot maintenance availabilities and increase the number of deployments.

USS Delaware (SSN 791), the last and final of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines, was commissioned in April 2020.

The Block III submarines are fitted with the new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities.

The first 10 Block I and Block II Virginia-class submarines have 12 individual 21-inch diametre vertical launch tubes able to fire Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS).

The Block III submarines are built with two larger 87-inch diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.

Blocks I-III Virginias are planned to undergo four depot maintenance availabilities and conduct 14 deployments.

Block IV RTOC efforts are intended to reduce planned availabilities by one to three and increase deployments to 15.

Block IV will be followed by the Block V configuration which involves 10 boats and may incorporate the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), which would give guided-missile capability when the SSGNs are retired from service.

On 2 December 2019 the US Navy announced an order for nine new Virginia-class submarines – eight Block Vs and one Block IV – for a total contract price of $22 billion with an option for a tenth boat.

The Block V subs were confirmed to have an increased length, from 377 ft to 460 ft, and displacement, from 7,800 tons to 10,200 tons.

Submarines in Block IV configuration :

  • VERMONT (SSN 792) – Commissioned 18 April 2020
  • OREGON (SSN 793) – Commissioned 26 May 2022
  • MONTANA (SSN 794) – Commissioned 25 June 2022
  • HYMAN G. RICKOVER (SSN 795) – Commissioned 14 October 2023
  • NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) – Launched 28 April 2022
  • IOWA (SSN 797) – Launched 18 June 2023
  • MASSACHUSETTS (SSN 798) – Launched 24 February 2024
  • IDAHO (SSN 799) – Keel laid 24 August 2020
  • ARKANSAS (SSN 800) – Keel laid 19 November 2022 UTAH (SSN 801) – Keel laid 1 September 2022
Ships Montly - January 2024

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