Virginia class submarine

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12 × VLS (BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile) &

The Virginia class (or SSN-774 class) of attack submarines are U.S. submarines designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions. They were designed as a less expensive alternative to the Cold War-era designed Seawolf class attack submarines, and they are slated to replace the aging Los Angeles class submarines, seventeen of which (from a total of 62) have already been decommissioned.

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Innovations

The Virginia-class incorporates several innovations not previously seen in other submarine classes.[1]

Photonics Masts

Instead of a traditional periscope, the class utilizes a pair of telescoping photonics masts[1] located outside the pressure hull. Each mast contains high-resolution cameras, along with light-intensification and infrared sensors, an infrared laser rangefinder, and an integrated Electronic Support Measures (ESM) array. Signals from the masts' sensors are transmitted through fiber optic data lines through signal processors to the control center. Visual feeds from the masts are displayed on LCD interfaces in the command center.

Propulsion

The class also makes use of pump-jet propulsors, which significantly reduces the risks of cavitation, allowing for quieter and faster operations.

Sonar

The Virginia class submarines are equipped with a bow-mounted spherical active/passive sonar array, a wide aperture lightweight fiber optic sonar array (three flat panels mounted low along either side of the hull), as well as two high frequency active sonars mounted in the sail and keel (under the bow). The submarines are also equipped with a low frequency towed sonar array and a high frequency towed sonar array.[2]

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