Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division has achieved a milestone in the construction of the US Navy’s new Virginia-class attack submarine New Jersey (SSN 796).
As informed, the company reached pressure hull complete on 10 February, meaning that all of its hull sections were joined to form a single, watertight unit.
This is the latest major milestone before the submarine is christened and floated off.
“Achieving this milestone is especially significant as it continues to prove our teams can safely perform at a high level in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jason Ward, vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction, said.
New Jersey is the 23rd Virginia-class fast attack submarine whose construction began in March 2016 at HII’s Newport News facility. It is now about 72% complete, according to HII.
The submarine is named after the city of New Jersey where USS Holland, the navy’s first submarine, was designed and constructed in October 1900.
The boat is scheduled for delivery to the US Navy in 2022.
The Virginia-class, also known as the VA-class or 774-class, is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines in service with the US Navy. The submarines are designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions. They were conceived as a less expensive alternative to the Seawolf-class attack submarines, designed during the Cold War era, and are replacing older Los Angeles-class submarines. The Virginia-class submarines are expected to remain in service until at least 2060.
Virginia-class submarines displace 7,800 tons, with a hull length of 377 feet and a diameter of 34 feet. They are capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet, while carrying Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles.
New Jersey belongs to the so-called Block IV submarines which incorporate improvements that allow them to spend less time undergoing maintenance. They are scheduled to undergo three major maintenance overhauls during their lifetime, compared to their predecessors’ four, enabling them to perform an additional deployment.
The $17.6 billion contract for the construction of ten Block IV submarines was awarded in April 2014 to General Dynamics Electric Boat as prime contractor.