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Huntington Ingalls Industries Has Launched the Virginia-class Block IV submarine USS Massachusetts

Credits: Naval News

The submarine Massachusetts recently reached a significant milestone in its journey to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet. After being christened in May, the submarine was moved from the construction facility to the water using a floating dry dock.

It was then submerged and towed to the shipyard’s submarine pier for further outfitting, testing, and crew certification. This process marks a crucial step in preparing the submarine for its operational duties.

As a Virginia-class submarine, the Massachusetts is a nuclear-powered fast attack vessel designed to conduct a variety of missions in both deep ocean and shallow littoral waters.

Virginia-Class Block IV Submarine (Credits: Naval News)

These submarines are set to replace the aging Los Angeles-class submarines and feature advanced technologies that enhance their warfighting capabilities, including improved firepower, maneuverability, and stealth.

With a top speed exceeding 25 knots, Virginia-class submarines can support a wide range of mission profiles. The Massachusetts is the 25th submarine of its class, with Newport News Shipbuilding responsible for delivering 12 of these vessels.

Specifications for the Virginia-class submarines include a displacement of 7,800 tons, a length of 377 feet, a beam of 34 feet, and a draft of 32 feet.

They are powered by an S9G reactor and auxiliary diesel engine, enabling them to remain submerged for up to three months and reach a test depth of over 800 feet.

These submarines can accommodate a crew of 15 officers and 120 enlisted personnel. Their armament includes 12 vertical launch system tubes and four 21-inch torpedo tubes for Mk-48 torpedoes and BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles.

The Virginia class has been at the forefront of adopting new technologies and construction techniques to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. The use of “commercial off-the-shelf” (COTS) components, particularly in computer and data networks, has helped lower production costs.

An innovative industrial arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries has enabled the sharing of construction responsibilities, further optimizing the production process.

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