An Electric Boat Corporation computer generated image of the Virginia Class New Attack submarine.
Virginia Submarine Program Reaches Another Milestone
Washington December 9, 2003 (NNS) - November 7, Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN) celebrated a key milestone on USS Texas (SSN 775), with a ceremony marking the pressure hull being welded completely closed. This event, referred to as Pressure Hull Complete, is a significant step toward the completion and commissioning of the ship.
The second ship of the Virginia-class, Texas is another step closer to "getting wet."
With 81 percent of the construction work complete, Capt. John Heffron, the Virginia-class program manager, said, "The high percentage of work accomplished at Pressure Hull Complete gives me confidence that future key events will be met on time."
NNGN is teamed with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build Virginia-class submarines. Each shipbuilder constructs sections of the ship, while final assembly, outfitting, test and delivery are alternated between them. Texas is the lead ship for NGNN under the co-production plan, and will be assembled and delivered at its facility in Newport News, Va., in 2005.
The Virginia-class, the Navy's next-generation attack submarine, will provide the capabilities, which are required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century.
As one of the class, Texas will have state-of-the-art stealth characteristics, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and Special Operations Forces delivery and support. Texas will be capable of conducting covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other naval forces. Other capabilities include cruise missile strike and enhanced communications connectivity that will enable Texas to provide important battle group and joint forces support, and meet the Navy's multimission requirements.
BACKGROUND ON VIRGINIA NSSN VIRGINIA CLASS ATTACK SUBMARINE, USA The Virginia Class New Attack Submarine is an advanced stealth multi-mission nuclear powered submarine for deep ocean anti-submarine warfare and for littoral (shallow water) operations. Although the Seawolf submarine was developed to provide an eventual replacement for the US Navy Los Angeles Class submarines in combating the Soviet forces, the prohibitive unit cost and changing strategic requirements led to the US Navy defining a smaller new generation attack submarine.
The Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, Connecticut is the lead design authority for the Virginia Class. The US Navy has awarded contracts for the first four vessels. General Dynamics Electric Boat is constructing the first of class, Virginia (SSN 774), which is to be delivered in 2004 and commission in 2006, and the third vessel, Hawaii SSN 776 (commission in 2008). Virginia Virginia was laid down in September 1999 and the pressure hull was completed in November 2002. Northrop Grumman Newport News will construct the second, Texas SSN 775 (commission in 2007) and fourth, North Carolina SSN 777 (in 2009). The keel for Texas was laid down in July 2002. The US Navy's total requirement is for 30 of the class.
The engineering teams and the design and build teams at Electric Boat in partnership with the Naval Sea Systems Command, NAVSEA, of the US Navy have used extensive CAD/CAE simulation systems to optimise the design of the submarine. The hull size is length 377ft by beam 34ft and the displacement is 7,300t dived, which is smaller than the more expensive Seawolf Attack Submarine with displacement 9137t dived.
The hull structure contains structurally integrated enclosures, which accommodate standard 19in and 24in width equipment for ease of installation, repair and upgrade of the submarine's systems. The submarine is fitted with modular isolated deck structures, for example the submarine's Command Center will be installed as one single unit resting on cushioned mounting points. The submarine's control suite is equipped with computer touch screens. The submarine's steering and diving control is via a four-button, two-axis joystick.
The noise level of the Virginia is equal to that of the US Navy Seawolf, SSN 21, with a lower acoustic signature than the Russian Improved Akula Class and Russian Fourth Generation Attack Submarines. To achieve this low acoustic signature, the Virginia incorporates newly designed anechoic coatings, isolated deck structures and a new design of propulsor.
Goodrich is supplying High Frequency Sail Array acoustic windows and composite sonar domes.
The C3I (Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence) system is being developed by a team led by Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Undersea Systems (NE&SS-Undersea Systems) of Manassas, Virginia. It will integrate all of the vessel's systems - sensors, countermeasures, navigation, weapon control, and will be based on open system architecture (OSA) with Q-70 Colour Common Display Consoles. Weapon control will be provided by Raytheon with a derivative of the CCS Mk 2 combat system.
The submarine is equipped with twelve vertical missile launch tubes and four 533mm torpedo tubes. The vertical launching system has the capacity to launch 16 Tomahawk submarine launched cruise missiles (SLCM) in a single salvo. There is capacity for up to 26 Mk 48 ADCAP Mod 6 heavyweight torpedoes and Sub Harpoon anti-ship missiles to be fired from the 21in torpedo tubes. Mk 60 CAPTOR mines may also be fitted.
Virginia will be fitted with the AN/WLY-1 acoustic countermeasures system being developed by Northrop Grumman, which provides range and bearing data, and the mast-mounted AN/BLQ-10 electronic support measures (ESM) system from Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems.
An integral lock out/lock-in chamber is incorporated into the hull for special operations. The chamber can host a mini-submarine, such as Northrop Grumman's Oceanic and Naval Systems Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS), to deliver special warfare forces such as Navy Sea Air Land, SEAL, teams or Marine reconnaissance units for counter-terrorism or localised conflict operations.
The Virginia Class sonar suite will include bow-mounted active and passive array, wide aperture passive array on flank, high-frequency active arrays on keel and fin, TB 16 towed array and the Lockheed Martin TB-29A thinline towed array, with a variant of AN/BQQ-10 sonar processing system. A BPS 16 navigation radar, operating at I-band is fitted.
The submarines will have two Kollmorgen AN/BVS-1 Photonic Masts, rather than optical periscopes. Sensors mounted on the non-hull penetrating Photonic Mast include LLTV (low light TV), thermal imager and laser rangefinder. The mast is the Universal Modular Mast developed by Kollmorgen and its Italian subsidiary, Calzoni.
The Boeing LMRS Long-term Mine Reconnaissance System will be deployed on the Virginia Class. LMRS includes two 6m autonomous unmanned underwater vehicles, an 18m robotic recovery arm and support electronics.
The main propulsion units are the GE Pressure Water Reactor S9G, designed to last as long the submarine, two turbine engines with one shaft and a pump jet propulser. The speed is 28 knots dived. (yeah, right )