General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has been awarded a contract from General Dynamics Electric Boat for manufacturing, production, and delivery of Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs) for upcoming Virginia-class submarines. GA-EMS will prepare manufacturing and quality systems, and will build, test and ship two VPTs for use by Electric Boat and HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding in their construction of the submarines. The Virginia class, also known as the SSN-774 class, is a class of nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines, in service in the United States Navy. Designed by General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Virginia class is the United States Navy’s latest submarine model, which incorporates the latest in stealth, intelligence gathering, and weapons systems technology.
“Our Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Tupelo, Mississippi offers world-class fabrication and precision machining industrial base capabilities, supported by an experienced program management team and manufacturing engineering and quality assurance experts that are critical for on-time production of large, complex submarine assemblies. We are very proud to be working with Electric Boat, as we bring demonstrated expertise in manufacturing to tight tolerances, exacting specifications, and documented first-time-quality performance to deliver these critical payload tubes that allow the Virginia-class submarines to support critical national security missions,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS.
The Block III submarines have two multipurpose Virginia Payload Tubes (VPT) replacing the dozen single purpose cruise missile launch tubes. The Block V submarines built from 2019 onward will have an additional Virginia Payload Module (VPM) mid-body section, increasing their overall length. The VPM will add four more VPTs of the same diameter and greater height, located on the centerline, carrying up to seven Tomahawk missiles apiece, that would replace some of the capabilities lost when the SSGN conversion Ohio-class submarines are retired from the fleet. Initially eight payload tubes/silos were planned but this was later rejected in favor of four tubes installed in a 70-foot (21 m) long module between the operations compartment and the propulsion spaces. The VPM could potentially carry (non-nuclear) medium-range ballistic missiles.
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) Group is a global leader in the research, design, and manufacture of first-of-a-kind electromagnetic and power generation systems. GA-EMS’ history of research, development, and technology innovation has led to an expanding portfolio of specialized products and integrated system solutions supporting aviation, space systems and satellites, missile defense, power and energy, and processing and monitoring applications for critical defense, industrial, and commercial customers worldwide.