CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

HolidayBuyer's Guide

Soon to look like this...

Sneak peek at the Washington

USS Washington: Pressure hull

Completed sister sub

Modular construction

Not propellers: Propulsors

Everything the subs can do

Bow unit on the move

Welding a war machine

Clamping a filter

Birth of a sub

Meet the Washington

Sub in the sun

Living on a Virginia-class sub

Massive facilities

Panorama of naval might

View from above

Holding it down

The key to surfacing

Looking for defects

Submarine torpedo tubes

There's a lot going on with the Navy's next generation of nuclear subs, the Virginia class. Instead of traditional periscopes, think telescoping photonic sensors. Instead of blade-powered propulsion, think pump jets.

We've got a sneak peak of the construction going on for the next batch of Virginias in the works, Block III. That includes the USS Washington, which was christened earlier this year, but has yet to swim the high seas.

Caption by / Photo by US Navy

When complete, these submarines will be the latest in the Virginia class, joining the ranks of earlier-block vessels such as USS Texas (SSN 775).

Caption by / Photo by US Navy

A crawler transports a unit for the Virginia-class submarine Washington (SSN 787) after it arrives at Newport News Shipbuilding on a shuttle.

The Navy christened the ship in March and launched it in April, but the sub has yet to be formally commissioned.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuilding

Here is the newly completed pressure hull of the Washington. The periscope-replacing photonics masts will go outside this hull.

A photonics mast telescopes up above the water in the same manner as a car antenna. It delivers information through an array of sensors, including high definition low-light and thermographic cameras.

Caption by / Photo by Ricky Thompson

From above, the Washington will look much like this sub, the North Dakota, another Block III vessel commissioned in 2014.

Caption by / Photo by US Navy

Here's a piece of the Washington inside the 10-story Huntington-Ingalls Modular Outfitting Facility. The future of Navy subs is all about modular components.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuildng

A Virginia-class submarine propulsor bolting face is machined on a ring lathe at Newport News Shipbuiding.

In contrast to a traditional bladed propeller, Virginia-class subs use pump-jet propulsors, which are quieter and reduce the risk of unwanted gas bubbles.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuildng

The capabilities of next-gem subs are breathtaking. This handout image illustrates them all.

Caption by / Photo by US Navy/Electric Boat Corp./Newport News Shipbuilding

Newport News Shipbuilding is in charge of building the stern, habitability and machinery spaces, torpedo room, sail and bow for Virginia-class subs.

Caption by / Photo by US Navy

Newport News Shipbuilding welder Juna Claudio works on the Washington.

Caption by / Photo by Ricky Thompson

Newport News Shipbuilding riggers Christopher Parrish (in the gray sweatshirt) and Henry Dillard (in a red shirt) fit a charcoal filter to the fan room for the Virginia-class submarine Indiana. Ricky Campbell, inside the unit, waits to clamp the filter into position.

The Indiana was laid down in 2014 but has yet to be christened or officially commissioned.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuildng

Shipbuilders Nico Brinkley (left) and Andrew Yonta install a welding track on a unit for the Washington, launched in April.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuilding

The crest of the Washington features images of Mount Rainier, the Seattle skyline, evergreen trees and silhouettes of the previous two USS Washington ships.

Caption by / Photo by U.S. Navy

The bow section of Virginia-class submarine Illinois (SSN 786) is moved to the river to be transported. It was christened in October 2015 by First Lady Michelle Obama, but it still officially under construction.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuilding

Tanya Downing inspects a label in the habitability space of Washington.

Caption by / Photo by Photo By Ricky Thompson

The bow units of Washington and Colorado (SSN 788) fill one side of the Supplemental Modular Outfitting Facility. The facility itself is impressive: 65,000 square feet of production area and four main bays for construction, as well as 17 specialized work spaces, offices and areas for lunch breaks.

Caption by / Photo by Photo By Ricky Thompson

A panorama of Newport News Shipbuilding taken from the Floating Dry Dock showing (left to right) USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72); the bow unit of Illinois being moved to a sea shuttle; Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) undergoing final outfitting, and USS Enterprise (CVN 65) undergoing inactivation.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuilding

Shipbuilders work on a unit of Virginia-class submarine SSN 793.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuilding

Welder Jimmie Mosely works in the Supplemental Modular Outfitting Facility on the submarine Washington.

Caption by / Photo by Ricky Thompson

Mike Bishop, left, and Daniel Evans fit a plate on a diving plane for Indiana. Diving planes, sometimes called hydroplanes, allow the vessel to pitch its bow and stern up or down...all the better to surface or submerge.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuilding

John Schiavone applies the dye for a Dye Penetration Test on a South Dakota (SSN 790) torpedo tube shutter door. The tests suss out cracks or weaknesses in a surface.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuilding

Master Shipbuilder Elmer Lundy lays out the machining marks on a torpedo tube shutter door for South Dakota, which was laid down in April.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Oxley/Newport News Shipbuilding
Published:
Up Next
The US Air Force at 70: From early...
44