BAE Systems has received a contract from General Dynamics Electric Boat to produce payload tubes for two of the US Navy’s new Virginia-class submarines, the company announced on 5 June.
Under the contract, BAE Systems will deliver two sets, each consisting of four tubes, for the Virginia payload modules (VPMs) on the SSN 804 and SSN 805. The company will also develop the processes and tooling necessary for the Block V payload tube production. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2020.
The VPM extends the length of the Block V submarines over previous versions of the Virginia class by adding an additional mid-body section to create more payload space for increased firepower.
Each large-diameter payload tube can store and launch up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles. The VPM also offers better flexibility for the integration of future payload types, such as unmanned systems or next-generation weapons.
BAE Systems is also supplying payload tubes for the SSN 803 under a previously awarded VPM contract.