BAE Systems has received a follow-on contract to produce 28 more payload tubes for the US Navy’s (USN) Block V VIRGINIA-class attack submarines, the company announced on 25 July. Under the contract with General Dynamics Electric Boat, a builder of the Virginia class, BAE Systems will deliver seven sets of four tubes each for the Virginia Payload Modules (VPM). Deliveries are scheduled to begin from the company’s Louisville, KY facilities in 2021.

The USN is adding significant capability to the Block V VIRGINIA-class boats by increasing the firepower and payload capacity. The VPM extends the length of Block V boats over previous versions by adding a mid-body section to create more payload space. Each large-diameter payload tube can store and launch up to seven TOMAHAWK and future guided cruise missiles.

The VPM is critical to the VIRGINIA class because it offers not only additional strike capacity, but the flexibility to integrate future payload types, such as unmanned systems and next-generation weapons, as threats evolve,” explained Vice President and General Manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems, Joe Senftle. “We've invested heavily in the people, processes, and tools required to successfully deliver these payload tubes to Electric Boat and to help ensure the Navy’s undersea fleet remains a dominant global force.” 

BAE Systems is also providing nine payload tubes under previously-awarded VPM contracts. As the leading provider of propulsors and other submarine systems, the company has a long history of supporting the Navy’s submarine fleet. In addition to payload tubes, BAE Systems is also providing propulsors, spare hardware, and tailcones for Block IV VIRGINIA-class vessels and is prepared to do the same for Block V.

According to MON sister publication The World Defence Almanac 2018, a total of 15 VIRGINIA-class boats are currently in service, against a projected class of 48 boats, including the first four BLOCK Vs already ordered. (Photo: USN)

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