U.S. Navy Block IV Virginia-class Attack Submarines Ready to Harass Enemy Shipping – The USS Montana, a fast attack Virginia-class Block IV submarine, has been introduced to the navy. The Montana is almost ready for patrols after passing sea trials earlier this year. Huntington Ingalls Industries produced the 21st Virginia-class sub and this is the third Block IV boat. Ten thousand workers toiled on the submarine for Montana’s production that began in 2015.
The Navy Is Pumping Out the Block IVs
The Montana is the third of ten Block IV submarines, and it was originally christened in 2020. Its planned service life is 30-years. The Montana came after the second Block IV sub, USS Oregon, which was delivered last month at General Dynamics Electric Boat.
The Block IV Has Multiple Mission Parameters
Fast attack submarines can destroy enemy surface fleet vessels, sink other subs, collect intelligence, launch land-attack cruise missiles, insert teams of SEALs, engage in mine warfare, and escort aircraft carriers as part of a battle group. The Virginia-class Block IVs are replacing many of the older Los Angeles-class attack submarines as that sub is retired.
Large Boat Has Ample Firepower
Virginia-class Block IV submarines displace 7,835 tons, with a hull length of 377-feet and a diameter of 34-feet. They can attain speeds of 25-knots with the power from its nuclear reactor. They can dive to more than 800-feet. These boats feature Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to Naval News. The sub comes with the Virginia Payload Module, an 84-foot-long, mid-ship section has four large-diameter, vertical launch tubes for keeping and launching more Tomahawks and other payloads.
Bring the SEALs to Battle
Block IV Virginia-class subs can sneak close to shore with their fly-by-wire ship control system that aids in traveling in shallow waters. The boat can handle large teams of SEALs and their gear with a new torpedo room that features a lockout truck for divers.
Officers Can Achieve Greater Situational Awareness
The captain of the sub can see the surface better with improved telescoping with two photonics masts that have infrared digital cameras.
Keep Them Out to Sea
The $3.45 billion Block IV boats are designed to have shorter maintenance periods for longer periods at sea. The overall life of the submarine will be increased.
The People of Montana Are Proud
This is the second naval vessel named after the state of Montana and residents are excited. A state committee headed by Bill Whitsitt sees much potential in the sub. “It’s been under construction over the last several years in remarkable ways, from putting big pieces, manufactured in Connecticut and in Virginia. And then doing the refinement work, really is a step above, it has capabilities that other submarines and other nations don’t have,” Whitsitt said.
Significant Part of Naval Strategy
The Montana is headed for Norfolk where it will conduct more tests and adjustments and then on to Hawaii for home port. The sub will be a critical piece of maritime defense tactics in the Indo-Pacific region. China is pumping out more ships, militarizing disputed islands, and patrolling close to American surface ships. The more advanced Block V boats will likely be able to launch hypersonic missiles. Thus, it is clear that Virginia-class subs will continue to help the United States accomplish its strategic objectives in the 21st Century.
Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.