Groton – The commissioning pennant and American flag were raised on the USS Missouri Saturday, marking the first time in more than three years that a submarine has joined the fleet in a ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base.
It was only the second time in more than a decade that two submarines were commissioned in the same year. Another Virginia-class submarine was commissioned in March in Norfolk, Va.
That is about to change as shipbuilders Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News in Virginia ramp up to build two submarines annually instead of just one, starting next year.
The Virginia-class incorporates several innovations not previously seen in other submarine classes. Instead of a traditional periscope, the class utilizes a pair of telescoping photonics masts located outside the pressure hull. Each mast contains high-resolution cameras, along with light-intensification and infrared sensors, an infrared laser rangefinder, and an integrated Electronic Support Measures (ESM) array. Signals from the masts’ sensors are transmitted through fiber optic data lines through signal processors to the control center. Visual feeds from the masts are displayed on LCD interfaces in the command center. The class also makes use of pump-jet propulsors, which significantly reduces the risks of cavitation, allowing for quieter operations.
USS California will be the first Virginia with the advanced electromagnetic signature reduction system built in, but this will be retrofitted into the other submarines of the class.
More from our own Boston Maggie here:
USS Missouri FaceBook page here
Slide show of Virginia class tech here