U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has announced that SSN 798, a Virginia-class attack submarine, will bear the name USS Massachusetts. The USS Massachusetts and its Virgina-class sister ships are advanced stealth, multimission, nuclear-powered submarines designed for deep ocean anti-submarine warfare and littoral (shallow water) operations. Virginia-class submarines are capable of attacking targets ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct long-term, covert surveillance of land areas and littoral waters among other sea-based forces.
Although most naval contracts are between the Navy and a single manufacturer, this particular contract is a unique teaming agreement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division wherein both companies build certain portions of each submarine and then alternate deliveries. That being said, the USS Massachusetts will ultimately be delivered by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding.
The USS Massachusetts is one of 10 Block IV submarines scheduled to be authorized between from 2014 – 2018. This particular Block of new submarines focuses on incorporating design changes that reduce total ownership costs. By making small scale design changes to increase the component-level lifecycle of the submarine, the Navy will increase the length of time that each sub can be deployed.General Characteristics, Virginia Class Submarines Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. - Newport News Shipbuilding Date Deployed: USS Virginia commissioned October 3, 2004 Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft Length: 377 feet (114.8 meters) Beam: 34 feet (10.36 meters) Displacement: Approximately 7,800 tons (7,925 metric tons) submerged Speed: 25+ knots (28+ miles per hour, 46.3+ kph) Crew: 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted Armament: Tomahawk missiles, twelve VLS tubes (SSNs 774-783) or two VPTs (SSNs 784 and beyond), MK48 ADCAP torpedoes, four torpedo tubes.
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