US Navy Pushes for Improved Firepower for Virginia-Class Submarines
The United States Navy is looking into adding 28 additional Raytheon Tomahawk
missiles to every one of the branch’s Virginia-class submarines. The production of the dubbed Virginia Payload Modules (VPM) onto the Block V submarines is planned to be completed by 2019. This move will add a new section of missile tubes to the submarines along with an increase firepower ability of Tomahawk missiles from 12 units to 40 units.There is currently an evaluation going on to analyze the practicality of adding the VPM ahead of the current schedule. A decision of expediting is expected to be made in April or May. A 70-foot module for the Virginia-class submarines is currently being worked and designed by Navy engineers.
With a goal of housing 28 more Tomahawk missiles, the VPM missile tubes are engineered to accommodate a new payload, new missile, or a large unmanned underwater vehicle.The VPM production is being done to counteract the retiring of four large Ohio-class guided missile submarines. Planned to be done in 2020, the retirement will reduce the fire power of the United States Navy by 616 Tomahawk missiles as each submarine is able to fire up to 154 units. If no action is taken to replace this firepower, the Navy will lose approximately 60 percent of its undersea strike launchers. The VPM production will drop the 60% to only 40% by the year 2028. The Virginia-class submarines were designed to replace the submarines of the 1980s.
General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries
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Posted on March 26, 2015
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