US Navy will try to upgrade Virginia Submarines with Next Generation Columbia features

The US Navys Tactical Submarine Evolution Plan (TSEP) will create a ready menu of mature and maturing technology that they will insert when ready.

The Virginia submarine program has been expanded to get 48 submarines and to accelerate the rate of construction. They are upgrading manufacturing and systems as each submarine is built.

The TSEP looks at the possibility of using the Columbia-class SSBN design and production line to flow into an SSGN production line in the mid-2030s. General Dynamics’ Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding will build a dozen SSBNs – one in 2021, one in 2024, and then one a year in 2026 through 2035 – and talks are underway about keeping that production line warm by building more guided-missile subs.

14 thoughts on “US Navy will try to upgrade Virginia Submarines with Next Generation Columbia features”

  1. Brian
    Looking at the SSBNX slide that you included in your posting, you will notice 2 ring-like structures positioned aft near the rudder.
    These rings could be steam jets – steam from the reactor is directed to the rings and thrust is produced
    Steam jets are also known as a water hammer.

    • “steam from the reactor”??? I don’t think so.
      I can hardly think of a process that would produce more noise, continuously. It would be broadband, but very loud.
      There’s a reason that screw is so big – so that it can produce a lot of thrust … while not rotating too quickly.

    • Just looked up how the steam jet works. Seems to require a very fine balancing act to prevent bubbles from forming. Also seems that the initiation of the jet will have a bang – unless I missed something.

      I am also curious how they deal with the water turbulence aft of the jet.

    • The drawing showing “Steam Jets” was done by a Community College out of Virginia, it is pure speculation and not based on any Navy design.

      I used to be assigned to a Boomer, and while no expert on submarine propulsion technology, the use of live steam to propel a submarine would be in-efficient and noisy in my mind….

    • Definitely not steam jets. There were russian designs (Akula?) that had a similar structure, which serve a shrouded heat exchanger function (a noise reduction measure? or reduced pumping load using hydraulic ram pressure from forward movement?). US designs previously didn’t like having a rather critical function in a part that could snap off…

      • I believe you maybe thinking of the OK-300 “pods” on the Akula. These were a shrouded prop driven by a 300 hp(?) motor that could be swung out and provided “creep” capability of like 5 knots. They were still noisy….

    • What? Wha’d you say?
      I’m in the engine room of a Russian sub & the self-noise is so loud I can’t hear anything!!!


  2. I hadnt heard talk of the USN revisiting the SSGN concept once the SSGN versions of the Ohios were retired. I thought the idea was to just add more tubes to the Virginia’s.

    In any case, If this is true, I think it’s a good idea.. The Virginia’s (Especially with the retirement of the Ohio SSGNs and LA’s) will be lacking in land attack capability without a dedicated platform. The VPM doesnt get the fleet back to what they will lose with the retirement of the Ohio SSGN.

    • hi , i was navy vet korean war on a carrier also worked in mothball navy in bayonne and fla,, i wish we had these subs when i was in… great picks makes s real good story

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