Virginia Class Submarines


Virginia Class Submarines

Edited by David Barth 26 May 2013.

Building of the Virginia class began in 1998. The subs can carry 12 vertical launch tomahawk missiles and 38 torpedoes. The crew complement is 134.

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Texas (SSN 775).

Newport News, Virginia, July 12, 2002: (Left to Right) The Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, First Lady Laura Bush, President of Northrop Grumman Newport News Thomas Schievelbein, and Senator John Warner (R-VA) celebrate an official ceremony to authenticate the keel of the next Virginia-class attack submarine Texas (SSN 775). The First Lady used chalk to mark her initials on a metal plate, which is then traced by a welder's torch and permanently affixed to the stern of the boat. Texas is the second of the Virginia-class submarines, following the USS Virginia (SSN 774), with advanced technologies, increased firepower, maneuverability and stealth. She was delivered to the Navy in 2005. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Journalist David Nagle. (RELEASED)

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

Groton Connecticut Shipyard of the Electric Boat (EB) Corporation, April 15, 2003: The nuclear powered attack submarine Virginia under construction. EB is the lead design authority for the Virginia attack submarine class. Building of the first Virginia class submarines began in 1998. Four of this class were: USS Virginia (SSN 774), USS Texas (SSN 775), USS Hawaii (SSN 776) and USS North Carolina (SSN 777). Virginia was commissioned in June 2004. U.S. Navy photo. (RELEASED) For more information go to: chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-ssn.html

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Texas (SSN 775).

2003: The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) during construction.

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Texas (SSN 775).

July 31, 2004: The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) christening ceremony.

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

Atlantic Ocean, August 21, 2004: Machinist's Mate 1st Class James Guild and Machinist's Mate 1st Class Derrick Jones, both assigned to the Auxiliary Division aboard the USS Virginia (SSN 774), operate the submarine's V-12 diesel engine during Bravo trials. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class James Pinsky. (RELEASED)

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774) Diesel Generator Control Panel.


Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

Atlantic Ocean, August 21, 2004: General Dynamics Electric Boat test engineers, Glen Colechia, Jason Hartle, and Matt Derosier place a Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment (SEIE) test mannequin in the lock-out truck aboard USS Virginia (SSN 774) for a fully instrumented trunk test which simulates an escape cycle to ensure survivable operation during Bravo trials. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class James Pinsky. (RELEASED)

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

Atlantic Ocean, August 22, 2004: Chief Electronics Technician Jerry Allan Bolte, co-pilot, and Senior Chief Machinist's Mate Scott McIntire, pilot, operate the ship's control panel aboard the attack submarine Virginia. Unlike submarines before it, Virginia eliminates the traditional helmsman, planesman, chief of the watch and diving officer of the watch stations by combining all of them into two watch stations manned by E-6 and above personnel. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class James Pinsky (RELEASED).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

Atlantic Ocean, August 22, 2004: General Dynamics Electric Boat test engineers rest in modified berthing facilities located in the Torpedo Room aboard USS Virginia (SSN 774) during Bravo trials. The torpedo room can be reconfigured to meet a variety of operational missions including bunking a special operations team. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class James Pinsky (RELEASED).

Virginia Class Submarines

Atlantic Ocean, August 22, 2004: The Virginia (SSN 774) has one of the most advanced torpedo delivery systems in the fleet. In addition to torpedoes, the Virginia-class will be armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles and has been designed to host the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) and Dry-Deck Shelter to support various missions. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class James Pinsky (RELEASED).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

Atlantic Ocean, August 23, 2004: A crew member aboard Virginia (SSN 774) makes his way to the engine room through the forward compartment upper level passageway. The dim lighting helps Sailors sleep in the berthing units located on either side of the forward compartment upper level passageway. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class James Pinsky. (RELEASED)

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

August 25, 2004: The nuclear-powered attack submarine Virginia (SSN 774) passes the skyline of Portsmouth, Virginia, on its the way to Norfolk Naval Shipyard, upon completion of Bravo sea trials. The Virginia was designed with the post-Cold War security environment in mind and embodied the war fighting and operational capabilities required to dominate the littorals (shallow, coastal waters) while maintaining undersea dominance in the open ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Christina M. Shaw. (RELEASED)

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Texas (SSN 775).

Port Canaveral, Florida, August 25, 2006: Petty officer 1st class Craig Herb, left, plots a course as Lt. David Leathers, right, looks on in the control room aboard the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775). The second boat in her class, Texas is able to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other naval forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, special forces delivery and support, mine delivery and minefield mapping. Texas was commissioned on September 9, 2006 at the Port of Galveston piers in Galveston, Texas. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Roadell Hickman (RELEASED).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Texas (SSN 775).

Port Canaveral, Florida, August 25, 2006: Petty Officer 1st class Raymond Monk assists in a shipboard test evolution aboard the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775). Texas and her crew were firing water through torpedo tubes as a part of the testing cycle. Texas is the the second boat in the Virginia class. Texas was commissioned on September 9, 2006 at the Port of Galveston piers in Galveston, Texas. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Roadell Hickman (RELEASED).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Hawaii (SSN 776).

Key West, Florida, October 26, 2007: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kori Melvin documents Navy divers and special operators from SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team (SDV) 2 and Naval Special Warfare Logistics Support conducting Lock Out Training with the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) for material certification. Material certification allows operators to perform real-world operations anytime, anywhere. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Andrew McKaskle. (Released)

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Hawaii (SSN 776).

Key West, Florida, October 26, 2007: A Navy diver from Naval Special Warfare Logistics Support conducts Lock Out Training with the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) for material certification. Material certification allows operators to perform real-world operations anytime, anywhere. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Andrew McKaskle. (Released)

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

Atlantic Ocean, February 19, 2008: Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) The Honorable Dr. Donald C. Winter takes a tour of the fast-attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 774) off the coast of Florida. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien (Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Virginia (SSN 774).

Atlantic Ocean February 19, 2008: Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) The Honorable Dr. Donald C. Winter tours the fast-attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 774) off the coast of Florida. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien (Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
The boat's sponsor, Cheryl McGuinness, christens the New Hampshire (SSN 778).

Groton, Connecticut, Saturday, June 21, 2008: USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) sponsor Cheryl McGuinness and General Dynamics Electric Boat President John P. Casey formally christened the fifth Virginia class submarine at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. McGuinness was a resident of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She lost her husband, Tom, on September, 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center attacks. He was a co-pilot on American Airlines Flight 11. U.S. Navy photo by John Narewski. (Released)

Virginia Class Submarines
USS New Hampshire (SSN 778).

Kittery, Maine October 20, 2008: Commander Mike Stevens, commanding officer of the Virginia-Class fast-attack submarine Pre-commissioning Unit, USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), demonstrates the photonics mast for members of the media during a media tour of the submarine at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. New Hampshire was commissioned on Saturday, October 25, 2008, as the fifth submarine in the Virginia class. (U.S. Navy photo by Jeremy Lambert/Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS New Hampshire (SSN 778).

Kittery, Maine October 22, 2008: Chef Dan Dumont, left, Culinary Specialist Nate Baker, and Chef Chris Soulder prepare lunch for the crew of the Pre-commissioning Unit USS New Hampshire (SSN 778). Dumont and Soulder, chefs of restaurants in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kittery, Maine, area, were aboard New Hampshire to experience what its like to cook for the ship's crew. New Hampshire will be commissioned Saturday, October 25, during a ceremony at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The New Hampshire is the fifth submarine in the Virginia class. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Roadell Hickman/Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS New Mexico (SSN 779).

Norfolk, Virginia April 23, 2010: Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West flips burgers with Culinary Specialist Seaman Mykal Martin aboard the Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS New Mexico (SSN 779).

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 11, 2010: Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus tours the Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) with the boat's commanding officer, Commander Mark Prokopius. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien/Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS New Mexico (SSN 779).

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 11, 2010: Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus tours the Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) with the boat's commanding officer, Commander Mark Prokopius. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien/Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Missouri (SSN 780).

Groton, Connecticut, July 30, 2010: Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West visits the crew of the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) USS Missouri (SSN 780) at Naval Submarine Base New London. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS Missouri (SSN 780).

Groton, Connecticut, July 30, 2010: Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West visits the crew of the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Missouri (SSN 780) at Naval Submarine Base New London. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
USS New Mexico (SSN-779).

Atlantic Ocean January 26, 2012: Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert meets the crew and tours the spaces of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN-779) during the joint exercise Fellowship 2012 with the Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute (SSN 20). New Mexico and Astute performed various tracking, deterrence, and attack scenarios to test and certify each respective submarine's capabilities. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor/Released).

Virginia Class Submarines
Virginia Class Submarines.

Drawing of how the Virginia class Hydrojet propulsion system works. It operates much the same as small units that power jet skis. Scheme 1: Ahead; Scheme 2: Astern.

Virginia Class Submarines
Torpedo and Tomahawk launch control.


Virginia Class Submarines
Virginia Class Submarine.


Virginia Class Submarines
Virginia Class Submarine.


Virginia Class Submarines
Virginia Class Submarine.


(The following information is courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

HISTORY
The Virginia-class, also known as the SSN-774-class, is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines (hull classification symbol SSN - Submersible Ship, Nuclear) in service with the United States Navy. The submarines are designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions. They were conceived as a less expensive alternative to the Seawolf-class attack submarines, designed during the Cold War era, and they are planned to replace the older of the Los Angeles-class submarines, twenty of which had been decommissioned by 2012 (from a total of 62 built). The Virginia class was developed under the codename Centurion, renamed to NSSN (New SSN) later on. The "Centurion Study" was initiated in February 1991.

The Virginia class incorporates several innovations not previously incorporated into other submarine classes.
  • Photonics masts
    Instead of a traditional periscope, the class utilizes a pair of AN/BVS-1 telescoping photonics masts located outside the pressure hull. Each mast contains:
    • High-resolution cameras.
    • Light-intensification and infrared sensors.
    • Infrared laser rangefinder.
    • Integrated Electronic Support Measures (ESM) array.

    Signals from the masts' sensors are transmitted through fiber optic data lines through signal processors to the control center. Visual feeds from the masts are displayed on liquid crystal display (LCD) interfaces in the command center.

  • Propulsor
    In contrast to a traditional bladed-propellor, the Virginia class uses pump-jet propulsors (built by BAE Systems), originally developed for the Royal Navy's Swiftsure class submarines. The propulsor significantly reduces the risks of cavitation, and allows quieter operation. They operate much like the jet ski propulsion system.

  • Improved sonar systems
    The Virginia class submarines are equipped with:
    • Bow-mounted spherical active/passive sonar array.
    • Wide-aperture, lightweight fiber optic sonar array (three flat panels mounted low along both sides of the hull).
    • Two high-frequency active sonars mounted in the sail and keel (under the bow).
    • Low-frequency, towed sonar array.
    • High-frequency, towed sonar array, chin-mounted (below the bow), that supplements the (spherical/LAB) main sonar array enabling safer operations in coastal waters as well as improving ASW performance.

  • Signature Reduction System.
    The USS California (SSN 781) will be the first Virginia-class submarine with the advanced electromagnetic signature reduction system (AESRS, pronounced "acers") built into it, but this system will be retrofitted into the other submarines of the class.

  • Virginia Class Diesel Generator Control Panel.

  • Fiber-optic, fly-by-wire Ship Control System that replaces electro-hydraulic systems for control surface actuation.

  • Command and control system module (CCSM) built by Lockheed Martin.

  • Modified version of the AN/BSY-1 integrated combat system designated AN/BYG-1 (previously designated CCS Mk2) and built by Raytheon. AN/BYG-1 integrates tactical control and weapons control.

  • Integral, 9-man lock-out chamber for ingress/egress of SEAL teams.



The Virginia class submarines were the first US Navy warships designed with the help of computer-aided design (CAD) and visualization technology. Around 9 million work hours are required for the completion of a single Virginia class submarine. Over 4,000 suppliers are involved in the construction of the Virginia class. Each submarine is projected to make 14-15 deployments during its 33-year service life, and each deployment could be 10 to 12 months long because as the 688 class boats are decommissioned, there will be fewer fast attacks at sea.

The Virginias were intended, in part, as a cheaper ($1.8 billion vs $2.8 billion) alternative to the Seawolf class submarines, whose production run was stopped after just three boats had been completed. To reduce costs, the Virginia-class submarines use many "commercial off-the-shelf" (or COTS) components, especially in their computers and data networks. In practice, they actually cost less than $1.8 billion (in fiscal year 2009 dollars) each, due to improvements in shipbuilding technology.

In hearings before both House of Representatives and Senate committees, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and expert witnesses testified that the current procurement plans of the Virginia class, one per year at present, accelerating to two per year beginning in 2012, would result in high unit costs and (according to some of the witnesses and to some of the committee chairmen) an insufficient number of attack submarines. In a 10 March 2005 statement to the House Armed Services Committee, Ronald O'Rourke of the CRS testified that, assuming the production rate remains as planned, "production economies of scale for submarines would continue to remain limited or poor."

In 2001, Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat Company built a quarter-scale version of a Virginia class submarine dubbed Large Scale Vehicle II (LSV II) Cutthroat. The vehicle was designed as an affordable test platform for new technologies.

The Virginia-class is built through an industrial arrangement designed to keep both GD Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company (the only two U.S. shipyards capable of building nuclear-powered vessels) in the submarine-building business.

Under the present arrangement, the Newport News facility builds the stern, habitability and machinery spaces, torpedo room, sail and bow, while Electric Boat builds the engine room and control room. The facilities alternate work on the reactor plant as well as the final assembly, test, outfit and delivery.

O’Rourke wrote in 2004 that, "Compared to a one-yard strategy, approaches involving two yards may be more expensive but offer potential offsetting benefits." Among the claims of "offsetting benefits" that O'Rourke attributes to supporters of a two-facility construction arrangement is that it "would permit the United States to continue building submarines at one yard even if the other yard is rendered incapable of building submarines permanently or for a sustained period of time by a catastrophic event of some kind", including an enemy attack.

In order to get the submarine's price down to $2 billion per submarine in FY-05 dollars, the Navy instituted a cost-reduction program to shave off approximately $400 million in costs off each submarine's price tag. The project was dubbed "2 for 4 in 12," referring to the Navy's desire to buy two boats for $4 billion in FY-12. Under pressure from Congress, the Navy opted to start buying two boats a year earlier, in FY-11, meaning that officials would not be able to get the $2 billion price tag before the service started buying two submarines per year. However, program manager Dave Johnson said at a conference on 19 March 2008, that the program was only $30 million away from achieving the $2 billion price goal, and would reach that target on schedule.

The Virginia Class Program Office received the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award in 1996, 1998, 2008, "for excelling in four specific award criteria: reducing life-cycle costs; making the acquisition system more efficient, responsive, and timely; integrating defense with the commercial base and practices; and promoting continuous improvement of the acquisition process".

In December 2008, the Navy signed a $14 billion contract with General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman to supply eight submarines. The contractors delivered one submarine in each of fiscal 2009 and 2010, and two submarines on each of fiscal 2011, 2012 and 2013.

This contract brought the Navy's Virginia-class fleet to 18 submarines. And in December 2010, the United States Congress passed a defense authorization bill that expanded production to two subs per year. Two submarine-per-year production resumed on 2 September 2011 with commencement of USS Washington (SSN 787) construction.

On 21 June 2008, the Navy christened the New Hampshire (SSN 778), the first Block II submarine. This boat was delivered eight months ahead of schedule and $54 million under budget. Block II boats are built in four sections, compared to the ten sections of the Block I boats. This enables a cost saving of about $300 million per boat, reducing the overall cost to $2 billion per boat and the construction of two new boats per year.

Beginning in 2010, new submarines of this class will include a software system that can monitor and reduce their electromagnetic signatures when needed.

In September 2010, it was found that urethane tiles, applied to the hull to damp internal sound and absorb rather than reflect sonar pulses, were falling off while the subs were at sea.

Professor Ross Babbage of the Australian National University has called on Australia to buy or lease a dozen Virginia class submarines from the United States, rather than locally build 12 replacements for its Collins class submarines.

In 2013, just as two per year sub construction was supposed to get started, Congress failed to resolve the United States fiscal cliff, forcing the Navy to attempt to "de-obligate" construction funds.

Technology barriers
Because of the low rate of Virginia production, the Navy entered into a program with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to overcome technology barriers to lower the cost of attack submarines so that more could be built, to maintain the size of the fleet.

These include:
  • Propulsion concepts not constrained by a centerline shaft.
  • Externally stowed and launched weapons (especially torpedoes).
  • Conformal alternatives to the existing spherical sonar array.
  • Technologies that eliminate or substantially simplify existing submarine hull, mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Automation to reduce crew workload for standard tasks.

Virginia Payload Module
Submarines built from 2019 onward will have an additional Virginia Payload Module (VPM) mid-body section, increasing their overall length. The VPM will add four large vertical launch tubes, carrying up to seven Tomahawk missiles apiece, that would replace some of the capabilities lost when the SSGN conversion Ohio-class submarines are retired from the fleet. The VPM could potentially carry (non-nuclear) medium-range ballistic missiles. Adding the VPM would increase the cost of each submarine by $500 million (2012 prices). This additional cost would be offset by reducing the total submarine force by four ships.

The trend in submarine design is to modularize and externalize major system components such as sonar, weapons, sensors, propulsion, and others so that they can be "strapped on" to the hull, either during construction or later, during overhaul, to add or update submarine capabilities. The hull itself is life-limited due to compression and decompression during diving and surfacing, but the engineering estimate of that life is classified.

This rationale is possible because the design of the hull has nearly reached its economic limit. Of course, hulls can be constructed thicker or of more exotic materials, such as titanium, but the expense and resulting cost-benefits precludes such expensive approaches for a submarine fleet. The Soviets built titanium-hulled subs, but it is doubted that the expense of construction was economically viable.

The primary purpose of military submarines relegates them to the regions relatively near the surface where they can launch weapons, move SEALs inside and outside the hull, and employ their sensor arrays. An extremely deep-diving submarine renders itself inert because from deep depths, it cannot perform any signification military actions. If all the enemy submarines in the world's oceans would dive deep, and stay at that depth, the operational depths, relatively near the surface, would be safe for everyone else. Of course, research and experimental vessels such as NR-1 take on missions different from those of military submarines.

Furthermore, the advancement in weapons and the evolution of the world situation since the Cold War means that the trend is to combine the SSBN, SSGN, and FA functions into one type of submarine that can execute any mission. Of course, some external modifications might be necessary, depending upon mission requirements, made possible by the modular "Lego" approach to submarine design as described above.

Virginia Class Attack Submarine Future
Modular construction techniques were incorporated during construction of the Block I boats. Block I boats were built in 10 modules with each submarine requiring roughly 7 years (84 months) to build.

Attack Submarine Details
ITEMDETAIL
BuildersElectric Boat (EB) Division of General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HHI) Newport News Shipbuilding.
Length377 ft (114.91 m).
Beam34 ft (10.36 m).
Displacement7,800 long tons (7,900 t).
Payload40 weapons, special operations forces, unmanned undersea vehicles, Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS).
PropulsionS9G nuclear reactor, 29.8 MW delivering 40,000 shaft horse power.
Nuclear Core Life33 years (est.)
Maximum diving depthGreater than 800 ft (240 m), allegedly around 1,600 feet (490 m).
SpeedGreater than 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), allegedly up to 34 knots.
Planned costabout US$1.65 billion each (based on FY95 dollars, 30-ship class and two ship/year build-rate).
Actual costUS$1.5 billion (in 1994 prices), US$2.6 billion (in 2012 prices).
Crew120 enlisted and 14 officers.
Armament12 Vertical Launch System (VLS) & four torpedo tubes, capable of launching Mark 48 torpedoes, UGM-109 Tactical Tomahawks, Harpoon missiles and the new advanced mobile mine when it becomes available.
DecoysAcoustic Device Countermeasure Mk 3/4.


Virginia Class Block I
BLOCKNAMENO.COMMISSIONED
[ESTIMATED]
#
IVirginia77420041
ITexas77520062
IHawaii77620073
INorth Carolina77720084


Block II boats were built in four sections rather than ten modules, saving about $300 million per boat. Block II boats (excluding SSN-778) were also built under a multi-year procurement agreement as opposed to the block-buy contract in Block I, enabling savings in the range of $400 million ($80 million per boat). Improvements in the construction process also enabled shorter construction periods. For example, USS New Mexico (SSN-779) required one million fewer work hours to build than USS North Carolina (SSN-777).

Virginia Class BlockII
BLOCKNAMENO.COMMISSIONED
[ESTIMATED]
#
IINew Hampshire77820085
IINew Mexico77920106
IIMissouri78020107
IICalifornia78120118
IIMississippi78220119
IIMinnesota783[2013]10


Block III: SSN-784 through approximately SSN-791 are planned to make up the Third Block or "Flight" and began construction in 2009. Block III subs will feature a revised bow with a Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar array, as well as technology from Ohio-class SSGNs (2 VLS tubes each containing 6 missiles).[66] The horseshoe-shaped LAB sonar array will replace the spherical main sonar array which has been used on all U.S. Navy SSNs since 1960.

Virginia Class Block III
BLOCKNAMENO.COMMISSIONED
[ESTIMATED]
#
IIINorth Dakota784201411
IIIJohn Warner785201512
IIIIllinois786[2016]13
IIIWashington787[2016]14
IIIColorado788[2017]15
IIIIndiana789[2017]16
IIISouth Dakota790[2018]17
IIIDelaware791[2018]18


No block IV submarines are yet under contract. The first block IV submarine is not scheduled to be procured until FY14. Block IV will consist of 9-10 submarines. Based on the planned split between block IV and block V boats, the block IV procurement should comprise the following hull numbers. Long-lead-time materials contract for SSN 792 awarded on April 17, 2012, with SSN 793 and SSN 794 following on December 28, 2012.

Virginia Class Block IV
BLOCKNAMENO.COMMISSIONED
[ESTIMATED]
#
IV793[2019]19
IV794[2020]20
IV795[2020]21
IV796[2021]22
IV797[2021]23
IV798[2022]24
IV799[2023]25
IV800[2024]26
IV801[2025]27
IV792[2026]28


Block V subs may incorporate the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), which would give guided-missile capability when the SSGNs are retired from service. The Navy plans to acquire at least 30 Virginia class submarines, however, more recent data provided by the Naval Submarine League (in 2011) and the Congressional Budget Office (in 2012) seems to imply that more than 30 may eventually be built. The Naval Submarine League believes that up to 10 Block V boats will be built.

Virginia Class Block V
BLOCKNAMENO.COMMISSIONED
[ESTIMATED]
#
V802[2027]29
V803[2028]30
V804[2029]31
V805[2030]32
V806[2031]33
V807[2032]34
V808[2033]35
V809[2034]36
V810[2035]37
V811[2036]38


The Naval Submarine League believes that 10 additional submarines could be built after Block V submarines, with 5 in Block VI and 5 in Block VII, largely due to the delays experienced with the "Improved Virginia". These 20 submarines (10 Block V, 5 Block VI, 5 Block VII) would carry VPM bringing the total number of Virginia class submarines to 48 (including the 28 submarines in Blocks I, II, III and IV).

Virginia Class Block VI
BLOCKNAMENO.COMMISSIONED
[ESTIMATED]
#
VI802[2037]39
VI803[2038]40
VI804[2039]41
VI805[2040]42
VI806[2041]43


Virginia Class Block VII
BLOCKNAMENO.COMMISSIONED
[ESTIMATED]
#
VII802[2042]44
VII803[2043]45
VII804[2044]46
VII805[2045]47
VII806[2046]48


The CBO in its 2012 report states that 33 Virginia class submarines will be procured in the 2013-2032 timeframe, resulting in 49 submarines in total since 16 were already procured by the end of 2012. Such a long production run seems unlikely but it should be noted that another naval program, the Arleigh Burke class destroyer, is still ongoing even though the first vessel was procured in 1985. However, other sources believe that production will end with Block V. In addition, data provided in CBO reports tends to vary considerably compared to earlier editions.

Improved Virginia
Initially dubbed Future Attack Submarine, improved Virginia-class submarines will be an evolved version of the Virginia-class. It was planned that the first "Improved" Virginia-class submarine would be procured in 2025. However, according to some reports their introduction has been pushed back by eight years, to 2033.