Photo: Christina Shaw / US Navy
The USS Virginia-class submarines are the United State’s newest and most advanced submarine.The first Virginia slipped beneath the waves just eight years ago and only nine vessels have been completed.
They take more than five years to build and run about $2.4 billion apiece.
Here, we look at the Virginia class of submarines from stern to bow, finding out what makes these ships unique.
We’ll start in the engine room, move our way over the reactor, through the barracks to the command centre and down into the torpedo room.
So far, nine have entered service — here is Cheryl McGuiness, the widow of one of the pilots killed on 9/11, christening the USS New Hampshire
Here are the USS Virginia's engines, which powers a pump-jet propulsor rather than a conventional propeller
The engine room, near the sub's stern, is the place where power from the SG9 nuclear reactor core drives the ship to nearly 32 mph when it's submerged
This hallway — extending from the engine room, over the reactor and through the living habitat in the centre of the ship — is dark so that sailors can sleep
Submariners eat well — the quality of the food is designed to offset the stress and burden of living underwater for months at a time
Going further toward the bow of the sub, the command centre is directly beneath the main sail of the sub and where the navigators do their work
The command centre doesn't have to be directly under the deck of the ship in the Virginia-class subs because there isn't a periscope.
The Virginia eliminates the traditional helmsman, planesman, chief of the watch and diving officer by combining them into two stations manned by two officers
Down below the command centre is the torpedo room, where it is possible to set up temporary bunks for special operations team
The subs were designed to host the defunct Advanced SEAL Delivery system, a midget submarine that transported the Navy SEALs from the sub to their mission
The only thing in front of the torpedo room is the bow of the submarine, which contains sonar equipment and shielding designed to make the sub stealthier
Even as they are being built, new improvements and upgrades are being added into the design of the submarines
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.