Tag Archives: Block V


General Dynamics Electric Boat, a business unit of General Dynamics (GD), announced it hold a keel-laying ceremony for the future submarine USS Arizona (SSN-803) on December 7, 2022, at its facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The keel laying is a ceremonial event in which the initials of the ship’s sponsor are welded onto a plate to be affixed to the submarine. It marks a milestone in the construction of a ship.

USS Arizona (SSN-803)
VPM firing underwater

The submarine will be the first U.S. Navy warship to carry the name Arizona since the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39), sunk in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. Several armored-piercing bombs struck the ship, including one which exploded the forward magazines. The sunken hull is a permanent memorial to the 1,177 officers and crewmen who were killed in the attack.

«We are proud to observe this milestone in the construction of the submarine USS Arizona (SSN-803), a ship which symbolizes the legacy and courage of those who died that fateful day serving their country, a legacy we must never forget», said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat. «The capabilities provided by this ship will enhance the reach of America’s warfighters to preserve our nation’s freedom».

General Dynamics Electric Boat Hold Keel-Laying Ceremony for Submarine Arizona December 7
General Dynamics Electric Boat Hold Keel-Laying Ceremony for Submarine Arizona December 7

The ship’s sponsor, Nikki Stratton, welded her initials onto a steel plate to be permanently mounted in a place of honor on the completed vessel. Stratton is the granddaughter of Donald Stratton, who served on the battleship during the 1941 attack. Badly burned, he was discharged in 1942 and sent home, but successfully reenlisted in 1944 and returned to the Pacific Theater to fight in campaigns in New Guinea, the Philippines and the Battle of Okinawa. He worked throughout life to help honor the memory of Pearl Harbor and those who gave their lives in service to their country. Stratton died in February 2020 at the age of 97.

The Arizona will be the 30th ship of the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class fast attack submarines and the first to be equipped with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM). The VPM comprises four large-diameter, vertical payload tubes in a new hull section inserted into the existing Virginia-class submarine design. The tubes enable the submarine to deliver a variety of capabilities, including weapons, unmanned undersea vehicles, and other undersea payloads.

General Dynamics Electric Boat is the prime contractor and lead design yard for the Virginia class, which is the first class of U.S. Navy submarines produced for post-Cold War missions. It is designed to be more cost-effective and modular construction enables it to be equipped to perform a wider range of mission capabilities than previous classes. The company’s construction teammate is Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

Virginia Payload Module
Virginia Payload Module


General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G (*) nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 460 feet/140 m
Beam 33 feet/10 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.4 m
Displacement Approximately 10,200 tons
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 135: 15 officers; 120 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles

four 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Modules (VPMs), each capable of launching 7 Tomahawk cruise missiles or 3 hypersonic missiles

Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

(*) – Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories


Nuclear Submarine Lineup


Block V

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-802 Oklahoma EB Under construction
SSN-803 Arizona EB Under construction
SSN-804 Barb NNS Under construction
SSN-805 Tang EB Under construction
SSN-806 Wahoo NNS Under construction
SSN-807 Silversides NNS Ordered
SSN-808 (Unnamed)
SSN-809 (Unnamed)
SSN-810 (Unnamed)
SSN-811 (Unnamed)


Block V Tomahawk

The Navy received its first Block V configured Tomahawk missile from Raytheon March 25, paving the way to provide the fleet with an upgraded warfighting capability.

Block V Tomahawk Missile
A Block V Tomahawk off the recertification production line at Raytheon’s Camden, Arkansas facility in March 2021 (Photo courtesy of Raytheon)

These first Block V missiles are from the existing Tomahawk Block IV inventory, and have been recertified and modernized for fleet use.

«This is the next big advancement in Tomahawk capability, and a major achievement for the program», said Captain Red, program manager for the Tomahawk Weapons System program (PMA-280). «We’re focused now on delivering advanced capability to the fleet by recertifying and modernizing our Block IV inventory, and by contracting production Block V missiles».

Red spoke at a virtual ceremony March 25 to commemorate the event along with industry leaders. He noted over the last four decades the program has continued to upgrade Tomahawk’s capability and this marked the collaboration between Raytheon, supply chains, field activities and the program office.

Raytheon is conducting the mid-life recertification process at its Camden, Arkansas facility. The process replaces life-limited components in Block IV missiles to enable their remaining 15 years of service life, and provides the opportunity for the missiles to receive Block V modernizations. All Block IV missiles will undergo recertification and modernization.

Block V Tomahawk missiles feature a NAV/COMMs upgrade that maintains the capability for In-Flight Target Updates and Improved Navigation. Future Block V capabilities will add to the NAV/COMMs upgrade and include the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) variant, designated as Block Va; and the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS), designated as Block Vb.

Block V Virginia-class

General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, is awarded a $2,417,500,565 fixed-price incentive modification to previously awarded contract N00024-17-C-2100 to exercise an option for the construction of a 10th Block V Virginia-class submarine with Virginia Payload Module.

Block V Virginia-class
The U.S. Navy inks a deal for a tenth Block V Virginia-class submarine

On 2 December 2019, the Navy announced an order for nine new Virginia-class submarines – nine Block Vs – for a total contract price of $22 billion with an option for a tenth boat.

Electric Boat Corp. will continue to subcontract with Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding. Work will be performed in:

  • Newport News, Virginia (34%);
  • Quonset Point, Rhode Island (14%);
  • Sunnyvale, California (7%);
  • Groton, Connecticut (7%);
  • Annapolis, Maryland (1%);
  • Norfolk, Virginia (1%);
  • Tucson, Arizona (1%);

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1%), with other efforts performed at various sites (each less than 1%) throughout the U.S. (33%) and other areas outside of the U.S. (1%).

Work is expected to be complete by February 2030:

  • fiscal 2021 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $2,139,601,847 (79%);
  • fiscal 2020 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $388,281,954 (14%);
  • fiscal 2019 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $174,049,792 (6%);
  • fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $18,844,873 (1%) will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

These include funding for previously announced long lead time material and economic ordering quantity material. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Payload Module

BAE Systems has received a contract to produce payload tubes for two of the U.S. Navy’s new Virginia-class (SSN-774) submarines to support increased firepower on the Block V version of the attack subs.

BAE Systems to provide additional payload tubes for new Virginia-class subs
BAE Systems to provide additional payload tubes for new Virginia-class subs

Under the contract with General Dynamics Electric Boat, a builder of the Virginia class, BAE Systems will deliver two sets, each consisting of four tubes, for the Virginia Payload Modules on the SSN-804 and SSN-805.

The Virginia Payload Module (VPM) extends the length of the Block V submarines over previous versions of the Virginia-class by adding an additional mid-body section to create more payload space for greater firepower. Each large-diameter payload tube can store and launch up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles. The VPM offers exceptional flexibility as well for the integration of future payload types, such as unmanned systems or next-generation weapons.

«The Virginia Payload Module is critical to the Navy’s undersea presence», said Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems. «With the VPM, the Navy is adding significant capability to the Virginia-class by increasing the firepower of these subs and tripling their payload capacity».

BAE Systems, which is also providing payload tubes for the SSN-803 under a previously awarded VPM contract, has a long history of supporting the Navy’s submarine fleet as the leading provider of propulsors and other submarine systems. The company was selected to provide propulsors, spare hardware, and tailcones for Block IV Virginia-class vessels and stands ready to provide the same support for the Block V subs.

Under this most recent contract, BAE Systems will also develop the processes and tooling necessary for the Block V payload tube production. Work will be performed at the company’s facility in Louisville, Kentucky, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2020.