Tag Archive: U.S. Navy

  1. The U.S. Navy to Facelift Existing Missile Submarine Fleet

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    submarine

    The Navy “Boats”

    • Ohio (1981 to 1997)
    • Virginia (2000 – present)
    • Planned – Columbia

    The U.S. Navy Ohio class submarines are reaching their age out date. The current 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines have been in service between 1981 and 1997.

    The new Columbia class submarine, in conjunction with the existing Virginia class submarine, is meant to take over as the next line of defense for the American Navy.

    Congress passed funding for the Virginia submarines in the form of an upgrade called “Virginia Payload Module” or VPM’s, meaning that the Virginia’s Tomahawk strike missile load-out will increase from 12 to 40 by inserting a module increasing the length of the submarine.

    This mammoth task is entrusted to the Huntington Ingalls Industries to do the upgrades on the Virginia class submarines and start the new production of the Columbia class submarines. The Columbia class submarines will serve for more than 40 years and will carry hundreds of nuclear warheads to sea at a time and is due to enter service in 2031.

    On the 23rd of May, technology and production amalgamated when a steel cutting ceremony took place where the first steel plate was cut with a plasma-burning machine and using an all-digital blueprint to aid in construction.

    Statistics

    Ohio:

    Length: 560 ft
    Beam: 42 ft
    Propulsion: nuclear reactor
    Speed:

    • 12 knots surfaced (22 km/h; 14 mph)
    • 20 knots submerged (official) (37 km/h; 23 mph)
    • 25 knots submerged (reported) (46 km/h; 29 mph)

    Range: Limited only by food supplies
    Test depth: +800 ft (240 m)
    Complement: 15 officers, 140 enlisted
    Armament: 22 tubes, each with 7 Tomahawk cruise missiles, totaling 154

    Virginia:

    Length: 377 ft (115 m)
    Propulsion: S9G reactor 40,000 shp (30 MW)
    Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) or over
    Range: unlimited
    Endurance: Only limited by food and maintenance requirements.
    Test depth: +800 ft (240 m)
    Complement: 135 (15 officers; 120 NCOs and enlisted)
    Armament:
    Block I-IV:

    • 12 × VLS (Tomahawk BGM-109) tubes
    • 4 × 533 mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedo)
    • 37 × torpedoes & missiles (torpedo room)

    Block V (VPM Module):

    • 2 × VLS (Tomahawk BGM-109) tubes
    • 4 × 533 mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedo)
    • 65 × torpedoes & missiles

    Columbia:

    Length: 560 ft (171 m)
    Installed power: Nuclear reactor
    Range: Unlimited
    Complement: 155 (accommodation)
    Armament: 16 × Trident D5

    The Objective

    The U.S. Navy submarine facelift will form a powerful deterrent against a surprise land nuclear attack on American soil and any of its Allies.

    Image by David Mark from Pixabay

  2. Boeing Awarded $43 Million to Develop an Autonomous Submerging Watercraft

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    Boeing to Develop an Autonomous Submerging Watercraft

    Echo Voyager, photo by Boeing

    Weapon systems never seize to evolve into smarter, more effective, and more sophisticated marvels of engineering. In the recent years, the focus has shifted on autonomously flying drones and augmented reality suites, but that’s not all of it. The U.S. Navy is reportedly developing a pioneering watercraft that will be able to get submerged, opening up a whole host of new utilization opportunities that make America’s foes nervous. According to revelations made by Captain Pete Small, who also happens to be the Naval Sea Systems Command program manager for unmanned maritime systems, the U.S. Navy is working in collaboration with Boeing on a $43 million program that aims at the development of a highly versatile, weapon-equipped underwater submerging unmanned vehicle (UUV).

    This new watercraft will be completely autonomous, will feature high-precision navigation, and will be able to endure damage from other weapon systems as well as the environment of course. The program’s first phase will yield four UUVs of this type, and depending on the first operational results; it will get renewed and extended. From the operational value perspective, the new watercrafts will be able to travel afar, deploy sensors in strategic positions, or even deploy other smaller UUVs that are specialized in surveillance and intelligence data collection. The Navy is expected to treat these new UUVs like small submarines, as they will be deployable from a ship’s well deck or the shore. With a diameter of about 7 feet (about two meters), those watercrafts will undoubtedly be very versatile in all kinds of operations.

    Boeing will carry out the hull, propulsion, and instrumentation design, as they know how to make them well-performing while keeping the costs low. They have already materialized quite a few submersible vehicles for the U.S. Navy in the recent past, and the experience that they have gathered from the research and development process is both invaluable and unique at a global scale.