SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Next Virginia-class Sub is Ready

May 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Coming Soon: the USS Mississippi

The U.S. Navy is taking delivery on its newest Virginia-class submarine, the Mississippi, nearly a year early, Navy Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced today (May 2).

The soon-to-be USS Mississippi. Photo courtesy General Dynamics-Electric Boat)

The soon-to-be USS Mississippi. (Photo courtesy General Dynamics-Electric Boat)

The sub, which will be known as the SSN-782 USS Mississippi after it is commissioned on June 2 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, took just over 62 months to build – the fastest delivery yet for the Virginia-class boats. The Mississippi is the ninth vessel in the class, which first entered service in 2004.

The Virginia subs are designed to be kind of a Swiss Army knife of undersea warfare in both the deep blue sea and closer to shore (the littoral waters). Their capabilities include being able to attack surface ships and other submarines, disperse explosive mines and unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) attack land targets with Tomahawk cruise missiles, support special operations forces (like Navy SEALS) and other forms of irregular warfare, provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. NAVSEA says the Virginia-class boats support five of the Navy’s six maritime strategy core capabilities.

At the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Expo last month at National Harbor, Maryland, the program manager for the Virginia-class subs said the Navy planned to research an enhanced payload module that could either increase the boat’s firepower or add flexibility to the types of missions its UUVs could perform. Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley said the large modules, like big missile tubes, would increase a sub’s Tomahawk capacity from 12 to 40 missiles. It also would allow the sub’s crew access to UUVs while the boat is underway, a capability they don’t have now because the existing launch tubes are all in the bow.

An unidentified Virginia-class submarine during Alpha testing. (General Dynamics-Electric Boat photo)

The Virginia-class subs also have Mark 48 torpedoes, Mark 60 CAPTOR mines and advanced mobile mines. To see your 4GWAR editor’s story on the Virginia class submarines on the Navy League website, click here.


Entry filed under: Counter Insurgency, Naval Warfare, Special Operations, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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