Stealth, Endurance, and Agility Under the Sea

The next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia Class Submarine (or SSN-774 class), will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. Virginia-class submarines are designed to conduct anti-submarine; anti-surface; strike; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower, and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

The Virginia-class is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the boat - reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time. Designed by Electric Boat, the Virginia-class is being built jointly under a teaming arrangement between Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics located in Groton, CT and Northrop Grumman Newport News in Virginia. In December 2008, the Navy awarded a $14B contract for eight more VA-class subs calling for an increased production rate by building two subs per year, construction time of 60 months and costs to be held at $2B each (in 2005 dollars).

The 134-member crew of a Block III Virginia class submarine can launch up to 12 Tomahawk land-attack missiles from two Virginia Payload Tubes adapted from the Ohio class SSGNs and Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes from four 21-inch torpedo tubes.

More information:

Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic
The VIRGINIA Class: America's Next Submarine
Inside the world's most advanced submarine
VOICES from Virginia: Early Impressions from a First-in-Class
Next Generation Of American Fast Attack Submarines
US Navy Submarines