11 Jun 2018

BAE to outfit Virginia-class subs with additional payload tubes

BAE Systems is to provide additional payload tubes for two US Navy Virginia-class (SSN 774) submarines in order to boost firepower on-board the Block V variant.

In collaboration with General Dynamics Electric Boat – builder of the Virginia-class – BAE will manufacture two sets, each consisting of four tubes, for the Virginia Payload Modules (VPM) on the SSN 804 and SSN 805.

For the uninitiated, these modules will lengthen both submarines, adding an additional mid-body section and clearing payload space for more firepower in the process. Each large-diameter payload tube will be capable of storing and launching up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles. Crucially, VPM is also able to integrate with future payload types, be it as unmanned system or a next generation weapon.

“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 is no stranger to the Virginia-class submarine. Under a separate, previously awarded contract, the company was hired to outfit the SSN 803 with additional payload tubes. This most recent contract will see BAE Systems develop the processes and tooling required for Block V payload tube production. Work will take place at the company’s facility in Louisville, Kentucky, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2020.

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