THE NAVY’S 2.4 BILLION USS VIRGINIA-CLASS NUCLEAR SUBMARINE

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From: JUNE CERRETA
Date: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 4:50 AM
Subject: Fw: THE NAVY'S 2.4 BILLION USS VIRGINIA-CLASS NUCLEAR SUBMARINE

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Step Aboard The Navy's $2.4 Billion
Virginia-Class Nuclear Submarine
uss                                                          vi

Christina Shaw / US Navy
The USS Virginia
-class submarines are
the United State 's newest and most
advanced submarine.  The first Virginia slipped beneath the
waves just eight
years ago and only nine vessels have been
completed.
They take more than five years to build and run about $2.4
billion apiece.
Here, we look at the Virginia class of submarines
from stern to bow, finding
out what makes these ships unique. 
We'll start in the engine room, move our
way over the reactor,
through the barracks to the command center and down
into the torpedo
room.

The Virginia-class submarine is a
new breed of high-tech post-Cold War nuclear subs

The Virginia-class submarine is a new breed

The submarines are nearly 400 feet
long and have been in service since 2003

The submarines are nearly 400 feet long and

The ships were designed to function
well in both deep sea and low-depth waters

The ships were designed to function well in

So far, nine have entered service.
Here is Cheryl McGuiness, the widow of one of the pilots
killed on
9/11, christening the USS New Hampshire

So far, nine have entered service here is

Here are the USS Virginia's engines,
which powers a pump-jet propulsor rather than a
conventional
propeller

Here are the USS Virginia's engines, which

This design cuts back on corrosive
damage and also makes the ship stealthier

This design cuts back on corrosive damage

The engine room, near the sub's
stern, is the place where power from the SG9 nuclear
reactor core
drives the ship to nearly 32 mph when it's submerged

The engine room, near the sub's stern, is

This hallway  extending from
the engine room, over the reactor and through the living
habitat in
the center of the ship is dark so that sailors can sleep.

This hallway extending from the engine room,

The ship has an airlock chamber with
room for 9 SEALs

The ship has an airlock chamber with room

The SEALs can exit the sub while its
underwater by passing through this airlock

The SEALs can exit the sub while its

This lock-out chamber is in the
center of the ship

This lock-out chamber is in the center of

Submariners eat well.  The
quality of the food is designed to offset the stress and burden
of
living underwater for months at a time.

Submariners eat well the quality of the food

As one sailor said, "It's like
having comfort food 24-hours a day

Going further toward the bow of the
sub, the command center is directly beneath the main
sail of the sub
and where the navigators do their work.

Going further toward the bow of the sub, the

The command center on the Virginia
subs are much more spacious compared previous submarines

The command center on the Virginia subs are

The command center doesn't have to
be directly under the deck of the ship in the
Virginia-class subs
because there isn't a periscope.

The command center doesn't have to be

The monitor the Commander is looking
at is this is the sub's "periscope" � a state-of-the
-art photonics
system, which enables real time imaging that more than one person can
see
at a time

The Virginia eliminates the
traditional helmsman, planesman, chief of the watch and diving

officer by combining them into two stations manned by two
officers

The Virginia eliminates the traditional

The subs are equipped with a
spherical sonar array that scans a full 360-degrees

The subs are equipped with a spherical sonar

The Virginia subs carry a full crew
of 134 sailors

The Virginia subs carry a full crew of 134

Despite computer navigation systems
all routes are plotted manually as well

Despite computer navigation systems all

Down below the command center is the
torpedo room, where it is possible to set up
temporary bunks for
special operations team

Down below the command center is the torpedo

The ships carry up to 12 vertical
launch tomahawk missiles and 38 torpedoes

The ships carry up to 12 vertical launch

Here an officer on the USS Texas
fires water through the torpedo tubes as part of a test

Here an officer on the USS Texas fires water

The subs were designed to host the
defunct Advanced SEAL Delivery system, a midget
submarine that
transported the Navy SEALs from the sub to their mission

The subs were designed to host the defunct

The only thing in front of the
torpedo room is the bow of the submarine, which contains
sonar
equipment and shielding designed to make the sub stealthier

The only thing in front of the torpedo room

Even as they are being built, new
improvements and upgrades are being added into the
design of the
submarines

Even as they are being built, new

That's what the U.S. has in the
works beneath the waves

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