Chief of Naval Operations
Submarine Warfare Division


Future Submarine Force

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Modular Design & Technology Insertion

Submarines of the future will require specialized equipment to maximize their effectiveness in each of the numerous mission areas in which they will be called to perform. Furthermore, future submarines must be able to integrate new technologies periodically without requiring intrusive and expensive redesign. Modular design is the means of meeting both of the above requirements.

Open system architecture and modular designs will allow greater capability and easier upgrades at the component and system level. Payload modules will be used in the sail of the submarine to allow rapid change out of mission specific masts and installation of non-mast sail payloads. Bow and amidships payload sections will allow for larger volume modules that may support deployment of special forces, conducting expanded strike missions, or additional specialized sensors including UUVs. These modular concepts will allow greater mission flexibility. Additionally, modular hull design and construction will also enable greater adaptability, such that future ships may be modified to support new capabilities and configurations at lower cost, with less effort, and in less time.

Modular Design

The VIRGINIA Class is designed to support these modular concepts. Additionally it will incorporate a process called Technology Insertion to implement advanced technologies as they become available. Technology Insertion will seek to incorporate both evolutionary and revolutionary technologies in the VIRGINIA Class at the component, system, and module levels. Examples of evolutionary improvements include enhanced electro-optical sensors mast modules with improved standoff range, automated environmental sensing systems, acoustic communications systems, high-frequency sonar upgrades, and affordable array technology components. Some Technology Insertion will occur in pre-designated "bundles" as a means of demonstrating and developing move revolutionary technology to be built into future submarines. Currently envisioned bundles include a conformal bow sonar array that would include new bow modular payloads, an advanced composite sail for additional modular sail payloads, and an electric drive system that will become the standard of future submarines.

Virginia Class Submarine

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