With a length of 377 ft., a beam of 34 ft. and a displacement of 7,800 tons, the Virginia is the first U.S. submarine designed to satisfy the requirements of regional and near-land missions in the post-Cold War era. The ship is also designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship -- reducing life-cycle costs while increasing underway time.
Unobtrusive, non-provocative and connected with land, air, sea and space- based assets, Virginia-class sub
marines will carry payloads that include special operations forces; unmanned undersea vehicles; mini-submarines to transport special operations personnel; and 38 weapons (torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles). These capabilities will provide the U.S. Navy with continued dominance in coastal waters or the open ocean.
Designed by Electric Boat, the Virginia class
is being built jointly under a teaming arrangement between Electric Boat
and Northrop Grumman Newport News in Virginia. In 1998, the U.S. Navy awarded a $4.2 billion contract for the construction of the first four ships of the class. Virginia is the first of these.
Virginia will be christened at a shipyard ceremony Saturday, Aug. 16, at 11 a.m.