Keel Laying Ceremony for future USS Massachusetts (SSN 798)

The initials of Virginia-class submarine Massachusetts (SSN 798) Sheryl Sandberg were displayed at the ship’s keel authentication ceremony. Sandberg (center left) delivered pre-recorded remarks during the event, which marks the ceremonial start of construction. (Picture source Huntington Ingalls)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy Recognition)

The Virginia-class attack submarine Massachusetts SSN 798 is the 25th Virginia-class fast attack submarine being built under the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat. Construction began in March 2017 and is approximately 50% complete. The boat is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2023. Massachusetts was part of a $17.6 billion contract awarded by the U.S. Navy to prime contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat to construct ten Virginia-class submarines.

The Virginia-class is a nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarine. Currently, 19 Virginia-class submarines are in service with the U.S. Navy and another batch of 18 submarines are already ordered by the U.S. Navy. 

The U.S. Navy has been procuring Virginia-class SSNs since Fiscal Year 1998 and the first submarine entered service in October 2004. The baseline Virginia-class design is slightly larger than the Los Angeles-class design but incorporates newer technologies, including technologies used in the Seawolf-class design

The U.S. Navy has three classes of SSNs (Submersible Ship Nuclear) in service. Los Angeles-class (SSN 688) submarines are the backbone of the submarine force, with approximately 40 now in commission.  The U.S. Navy also has three Seawolf-class submarines. Commissioned July 19, 1997, USS Seawolf (SSN 21) is exceptionally quiet, fast, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors. 

The U.S. Navy continues to build the next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia (SSN 774) class. More than a dozen Virginias have been commissioned to date, and they will replace Los Angeles Class submarines as they retire. The Virginia-class is available in five Blocks from I to V. 

The Virginia-class Block I to IV is armed with 12 VLS Vertical Launching System (Tomahawk BGM-109) tubes, four 533 mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedo), RGM-84 Harpoon, 25 torpedoes & missiles (torpedo room) + 12 missiles (VLS tubes), while the Block V will be armed with VPM module (28 Tomahawk BGM-109), VLS (Tomahawk BGM-109) tubes, four 533 mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedo), RGM-84 Harpoon and 65 torpedoes & missiles.

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