USS NORTH DAKOTA: Here’s Why This Is The Most Advanced Submarine In The World

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USS NORTH DAKOTA: Here’s Why This Is The Most Advanced Submarine In The World

The U.S.S. Virginia.
Over the weekend, the U.S. Navy christened its newest nuclear-powered fast attack submarine, the USS North Dakota, during a ceremony in Groton, Conn.
The North Dakota is the newest Virgina-class submarine and the first of the Block III submarines, which is the most recent upgrade.

The sub has the ability to launch cruise missiles, deliver special operations commandos, and conduct critical surveillance operations over a wide area.

That’s why the Navy is producing Virginia-class submarines at a rate of two per year, adding to the 11 currently in the fleet. They may not carry nuclear missiles like the larger Ohio-class submarines, but these are seen as the future.

Virginia-class submarines are characterized as “fast-attack” submarines, but the moniker is more about the sub’s mission than its actual speed, which isn’t all that fast.
Virginia-class submarines are characterized as “fast-attack” submarines, but the moniker is more about the sub’s mission than its actual speed, which isn’t all that fast.
DoD Photo
Virginia-class subs often operate close to shore and can rapidly deploy special-operations forces.
Virginia-class subs often operate close to shore and can rapidly deploy special-operations forces.
DoD Photo
The Navy dubs them “fast attack” submarines because of their stealth and versatility in shallow water, coupled with armaments that can quickly lock and strike targets ashore.
The Navy dubs them “fast attack” submarines because of their stealth and versatility in shallow water, coupled with armaments that can quickly lock and strike targets ashore.
Reuters
The Virginia-class is 377 feet long, much smaller than the 560-foot Ohio-class submarines (the ones that carry nukes).
The Virginia-class is 377 feet long, much smaller than the 560-foot Ohio-class submarines (the ones that carry nukes).
DoD Photo
They can travel at a little more than 25 nautical miles per hour, faster than Ohio-class subs which move around 20 nautical miles per hour.
They can travel at a little more than 25 nautical miles per hour, faster than Ohio-class subs which move around 20 nautical miles per hour.
DoD Photo
Though Virginia-class submarines largely operate close to shore, they can achieve a maximum diving depth of around 1,600 feet.
Though Virginia-class submarines largely operate close to shore, they can achieve a maximum diving depth of around 1,600 feet.
DoD Photo
Since they are nuclear-powered, they have unlimited range. They are limited only by their food supply.
Since they are nuclear-powered, they have unlimited range. They are limited only by their food supply.
DoD Photo
Meaning they can travel anywhere in the world. This photo was taken on a mission to the Arctic.
Meaning they can travel anywhere in the world. This photo was taken on a mission to the Arctic.
Reuters
Rather than a traditional periscope, Virginia-class subs have photonic masts with high-resolution cameras, infrared sensors, and laser range finders.
Rather than a traditional periscope, Virginia-class subs have photonic masts with high-resolution cameras, infrared sensors, and laser range finders.
Wikimedia Commons
Virginia-class submarines carry a crew of about 130 sailors …
Virginia-class submarines carry a crew of about 130 sailors …
DoD Photo
… who operate 12 cruise missile ports and four 533 mm torpedo tubes.
… who operate 12 cruise missile ports and four 533 mm torpedo tubes.
Reuters
Virginia-class subs may not have nuclear weapons …
Virginia-class subs may not have nuclear weapons …
DoD Photo
… but they carry roughly 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles and heavy anti-ship, anti-submarine Mark 48 torpedoes each. They can also carry teams of commandos.
… but they carry roughly 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles and heavy anti-ship, anti-submarine Mark 48 torpedoes each. They can also carry teams of commandos.
Wikimedia Commons
New control room capabilities give Virginia-class submarines the ability to wield those weapons more effectively. The subs can sink other submarines and ships with heavy torpedoes from more than 20 miles away or strike land targets with cruise missiles from thousands of miles out.
New control room capabilities give Virginia-class submarines the ability to wield those weapons more effectively. The subs can sink other submarines and ships with heavy torpedoes from more than 20 miles away or strike land targets with cruise missiles from thousands of miles out.
DoD Photo
The American arsenal of Virginia-class subs is mostly based out of New England or Hawaii and is currently actively deployed throughout the world.
The American arsenal of Virginia-class subs is mostly based out of New England or Hawaii and is currently actively deployed throughout the world.
DoD Photo
The closest foreign competitor to Virginia-class subs are the Russian Akula-class submarines.
The closest foreign competitor to Virginia-class subs are the Russian Akula-class submarines.
Wikimedia Commons
Akula-class subs are faster and can dive deeper but are no match for the heavier advanced torpedoes of Virginia-class subs, which have more than three times the effective distance of Russian torpedoes.
Akula-class subs are faster and can dive deeper but are no match for the heavier advanced torpedoes of Virginia-class subs, which have more than three times the effective distance of Russian torpedoes.
Wikimedia Commons
The new U.S.S. North Dakota, the first of the Block III Virginia-class subs, has state-of-the-art sonar, expanding its reconnaissance capabilities, and has expanded weapons capabilities.
The new U.S.S. North Dakota, the first of the Block III Virginia-class subs, has state-of-the-art sonar, expanding its reconnaissance capabilities, and has expanded weapons capabilities.
AP Photo
Each Virginia-class vessel costs roughly $2 billion to produce, with much of the computer and data technology coming from commercial providers to keep costs down.
Each Virginia-class vessel costs roughly $2 billion to produce, with much of the computer and data technology coming from commercial providers to keep costs down.
DoD Photo
The Navy has completed 11 of the 35 it plans to build, entering the third of five upgrade blocks.
The Navy has completed 11 of the 35 it plans to build, entering the third of five upgrade blocks.
DoD Photo
Once they are active, they cost an average of $50 million to maintain per year.
Once they are active, they cost an average of $50 million to maintain per year.
Reuters
The Navy is rapidly expanding the Virginia-class program at a rate of two submarines per year in order to fit into a post-Cold War intelligence and reconnaissance scenario that emphasizes tactical operations, as opposed to strategic nuclear deterrence.
The Navy is rapidly expanding the Virginia-class program at a rate of two submarines per year in order to fit into a post-Cold War intelligence and reconnaissance scenario that emphasizes tactical operations, as opposed to strategic nuclear deterrence.
DoD Photo
Now see how else the Navy is stepping into the future.
Now see how else the Navy is stepping into the future.
Michael C. Nutter via U.S. Navy
The US Navy’s Most Intimidating Creation Yet Just Hit The Water>

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-navys-expanding-submarine-program-2013-11?op=1#ixzz2kokbPhAK

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