Up periscope for US nuclear sub

The US‘s newest nuclear-powered submarine, USS Texas (SSN 775), has returned to Northrop Grumman’s Newport News shipyard after concluding a clean sweep of initial sea trials.

‘I’m pleased to report that the ship’s trials were successful,’ said Admiral Kirk Donald, director of naval nuclear propulsion. ‘It was a great ride. I thoroughly enjoyed it myself and, more importantly, we are a step closer to delivering a great ship to the fleet.’

The sea trials provided an opportunity to test all systems, components and compartments. They included submerging for the first time, plus high-speed runs while submerged and on the surface.

The 114.91m Virginia-class submarines are capable of submerged speeds of more than 25 knots (28+mph) and can stay underwater for three months.

Northrop Grumman Newport News is working with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build the first 10 ships of the Virginia class. Current plans call for 30 Virginia-class submarines in the fleet.

Designed to meet the US Navy’s requirements in a post-Cold War era, Virginia-class submarines will be armed with Tomahawk missiles, VLS tubes, MK-48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes, advanced mobile mines and an unmanned undersea vehicle.

Texas, which will have a crew of 134, is in the final stages of construction at the Newport News shipyard. It is the second ship of the Virginia class and will be the first submarine from Newport News since 1996. Delivery to the navy is scheduled for later this month.