The Virginia Class attack submarine is the U.S. Navy’s newest submarine warfare platform, incorporates the latest in stealth, intelligence gathering and weapons systems technology. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, project power a shore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and special operation forces, carry out Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, support battle group operations and and engage in mine warfare.
The Virginia class has several innovations that significantly enhance its war fighting capabilities with an emphasis on littoral operations. Virginia class SSN’s have a fly-by-wire ship control system that provides improved shallow-water ship handling. The class has special features to support special operation forces including a re-configurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of special operation forces and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads.
The Virginia class also has a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. The traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. With the removal of the barrel periscopes, the ship’s control room has been moved down one deck and away from the hull’s curvature, affording it more room and an improved layout that provides the commanding officer with enhanced situational awareness. Additionally, through the extensive use of modular construction and open architecture the Virginia class is designed to remain state of the practice for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.
The USS Virginia SSN-774 was the first one, built in 2004. The Virginia Class, nuclear powered, fast attack submarines are scheduled to remain in service through 2060, possibly 2070.
USS Virginia (SSN 774), Portsmouth, NH
USS Texas (SSN 775), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Hawaii (SSN 776), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS North Carolina (SSN 777), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), Groton, CT
USS New Mexico (SSN 779), Groton, CT
USS Missouri (SSN 780), Groton, CT
USS California (SSN 781), Groton, CT
USS Mississippi (SSN 782), Groton, CT
USSMinnesota (SSN 783), Norfolk, VA
North Dakota (SSN 784), No homeport – Construction began March 2009. Christened 2 November 2013.
John Warner (SSN 785), No homeport – Construction began March 2010
Illinois (SSN 786) – Construction began in March 2011.
Washington (SSN 787) – No homeport, construction began in September 2011
Colorado (SSN 788) – No homeport, construction began in March 2012.
Indiana (SSN 789) – No homeport, construction began September 2012.
South Dakota (SSN 790) – Under contract.
Delaware (SSN 791) – Under contract.