The Virginia class submarines are arguably the best fast-attack, nuclear-powered submarines that currently incorporate cutting-edge stealth, intelligence gathering, and weapons system technology, especially for its upcoming Block V lines that will feature the sophisticated Virginia Payload Module (VPM). Future attack submarines will now have “four additional large-diameter payload tubes in a new hull section located amidships,” and because of this, “each of these VPM payload tubes will be capable of carrying seven Tomahawk cruise missiles,” increasing the submarine’s armament capacity to 28 shells per VPM. This new feature will also allow for the distribution of strike assets, giving theater commanders more flexibility in staging payloads and allowing them to cover more long ranges of targets.

Currently, the United States Navy maintains three classes of nuclear-powered submarines (classified as SSNs), including its backbone Los Angeles-class (SSN-688), USS Seawolf-class (SSN-21), and the Virginia-class (SSN-774)—all equipped with technological superiority that delivers speed, endurance, mobility, and stealth.

Nonetheless, as times change and technology advances, the USN focuses on upgrading its Virginia-class deterrence and combat capability in deep ocean warfare as well as coastal/littoral operations, all while progressively replacing its aging Los Angeles vessels.

Manufactured by General Dynamics Electric Board Division (GDEBD) and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) – Newport News Shipbuilding (previously Northrop Grumman Ship Systems), the collaborative project kickstarted in the late 1990s for the USN, beginning with the design and development of the lead vessel, USS Virginia (SSN-774). Its forerunner, the Seawolf class, was intended to succeed the Los Angeles submarines. However, it was later found how costly one unit of the former SSN submarine was. As a result, due to budget constraints, it was later canceled and opted for the much-cheaper yet significantly enhanced Virginia class, which includes special features to aid special operations forces, such as a reconfigurable torpedo room that can accommodate many special operations forces and all of their equipment for extended deployments and future off-board payloads.