Tubes Triple Tomahawk Launch Capacity
General Dynamics Electric Boat has contracted BAE Systems to begin work associated with the production of Virginia Payload Module (VPM) tubes for the US Navy’s Block V VIRGINIA-class (SSN 774) nuclear attack submarines. The award funds work on certification, special tooling, and other items related to production readiness. BAE Systems already provides propulsors, spare hardware, and tailcones for the Block IV boats. A production contract is expected in 2017, with deliveries anticipated through 2019.
The VPM is an additional mid-body section that will be integrated into the submarines, beginning with the second boat of Block V. It comprises four large-diameter payload tubes, each capable of storing and launching up to seven TOMAHAWK cruise missiles. Accessible while at sea, the VPM also offers unprecedented flexibility in the potential integration of future payloads
“The new Virginia Payload Module will bring an additional 28 missiles to each VIRGINIA-class submarine, tripling their payload strike capacity,” Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems, said. “Increasing the firepower of the VIRGINIA-class is a cost-effective way for the Navy to maintain its strike capability after its four SSGN guided missile submarines retire.”