Virginia Block II
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
5 May 2007
Also Known As: SSN 776 USS Hawaii
Origin: United States of America
General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding
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Description: The SSN 774 Virginia are the next generation US Navy (USN) nuclear-powered fast attack submarines designed to meet the 21st century submarine warfare requirements. The Virginia class ships are intended as the replacement for existing Los Angeles class attack submarines. These submarines feature advanced technologies to achieve improved firepower, maneuverability, endurance and emphasizing integrated acoustic and non-acoustic stealth. They are able to stay submerged for up to three months at a time. Powered by a nuclear pressurized water reactor (PWR) can achieve a top speed submerged of 25 knots with a maximum depth of 500 meters. The US Navy plans call for the procurement of up to 30 Virginia class submarines starting in 2004.
The submarine high data rate (Sub HDR) multi-band satellite communication (SATCOM) system is provided by Raytheon. The Sub HDR connects submarines to the above sea world by raising a mast-mounted antenna above the ocean's surface while the boat remains stealthy and submerged at periscope depth. It supports secure data, voice, multimedia, imagery and video teleconferencing via the Global Broadcast Service, the Milstar satellite constellation, and the Defense Satellite Communication System. The FORCEnet capability being inducted to existing and on order submarines allows to communicate using IP/Internet Protocol connectivity. It allows US submarine fleet to quickly and easily share and exchange information for military purposes, while submarine crew can connect to their families back home via email, web browsing, file transfer, etc.
Virginia nuclear submarines are used to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, intelligence collection, special forces delivery, and land-attack operations using Tactical Tomahawk missiles launched from 12 vertical launch system (VLS) tubes and four 533mm torpedo tubes. They perform the full-spectrum of open-ocean, blue water missions as well as littoral warfare missions. The SSN 774 Virginia class submarines goal is to maintain USN undersea superiority well into the 21st century. In addition to current torpedoes, mines and missiles these submarines will be armed with unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV). Virginia class boats can carry the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) underwater vehicle for special forces infiltration.
The US Navy christened the USS Hawaii (SSN 776) boat on June 17, 2006, during a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut. She was commissioned on May 5, 2007. The third ship of Virginia-class is the first ship of the Block II standard and features improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements. The nuclear reactor plant powering these boats doesn't require to be refueled during the planned service life of the ship. The US Navy awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $1.35 billion contract for construction of the eighth ($1.1 billion for SSN 781) Virginia class submarine and initial funding for the 9th ($208 million SSN 782) and 10th ($40 million for SSN 783) January 30, 2006. This award modified an August 2003 contract covering construction of six boats with the six-ship contract value was set to $8.4 billion. The US Navy commissioned eight Virginia Block II submarines between 2007 and 2013.
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