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US Navy USS Missouri SSN 780 Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine ready for operational deployment


After two years of maintenance and modernization at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, the US Navy USS Missouri (SSN 780) the seventh Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine is now ready for operational deployment. It began its maintenance period almost 24 months ago. Since then, more than 2.2 million work-hours and more than 20,000 individual jobs were required to keep the boat fit for service. The availability officially ended on May 21, 2020, following the submarine’s successful sea trials and certification.
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US Navy USS Missouri SSN 780 Virginia class nuclear powered attack submarine ready for operational deployment 925 001 The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780) departs Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard after completing a scheduled extended dry-docking selected restricted availability (EDSRA). (Picture source U.S. Navy)


The U.S. Navy’s submarine force has unique access to a critical undersea domain. The ability to rapidly deploy is a key component to the Pacific Fleet’s ability to respond to crisis and conflict throughout the Indo-Pacific region. While underway, the submarines are conducting combat readiness training and employing undersea warfare capabilities in support of a wide-range of missions. The shipyard’s ability to complete complex maintenance operations and deliver submarines back to the fleet on time, or even early, ensures that our submarine force remains ready and responsive for any tasking.

The USS Missouri submarine, homeported at the historic submarine piers in Pearl Harbor, was commissioned on July 31, 2010, and is the fourth ship named in honor of the state of Missouri. It is the seventh commissioned Virginia-class submarine.

The Virginia class, also known as the SSN-774 class, is a class of nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines in the U.S. Navy.

The USS Missouri Virginia class submarine is fitted with 12 Vertical Launching System (VLS) able to fire BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile. A vertical launching system (VLS) is an advanced system for holding and firing missiles on mobile naval platforms, such as surface ships and submarines. Each vertical launch system consists of a number of cells, which can hold one or more missiles ready for firing.

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is an all-weather, long-range, subsonic cruise missile used for deep land attack warfare, launched from U. S. Navy surface ships and U.S. Navy and the United Kingdom Royal Navy submarine.

The Tomahawk Block III Conventional variant (TLAM-C) contains a 1,000-lb class blast/fragmentary unitary warhead while the Submunition variant (TLAM-D) includes a submunitions dispenser with combined effect bomblets. The Tomahawk Block IV (Tactical Tomahawk, TLAM-E), conventional variant, which entered the Fleet in 2004, adds the capability to reprogram the missile while in-flight via two-way satellite communications to strike any of 15 pre-programmed alternate targets or redirect the missile to any Global Positioning System (GPS) target coordinate.

The Block IV missile is capable of loitering over a target area in order to respond to emerging targets or, with its on-board camera, provide battle damage information to warfighting commanders. Tomahawk Block IV is currently in Full Rate Production (FRP). it has a maximum firing range of 1,600 km.

The USS Missouri Virginia class submarine has also four 533 mm torpedo tubes able to fire the Mark 48 ADCAP torpedo. The MK 48 ADCAP torpedo is a heavyweight acoustic-homing torpedo with sophisticated sonar, all-digital guidance-and-control systems, digital fusing systems, and propulsion improvements. Its digital guidance system allows for repeated upgrades to counter evolving threats through software upgrades.

The MK 48 ADCAP Mod 6 torpedo combines two significant enhancements: one in guidance and control (G&C Mod), and the other in the torpedo propulsion unit (TPU Mod). The G&C Mod improves the acoustic receiver, replaces the guidance-and-control hardware with updated technology, increases memory, and improves processor throughput to handle the expanded software demands required to improve torpedo performance against evolving threats. The TPU Mod provides a significant reduction in torpedo radiated-noise signatures.

The latest version of the MK 48 ADCAP is Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) which is optimized for both the deep and littoral waters and has advanced counter-countermeasure capabilities.