Modern Naval Warfare - Navy Log Book #5 - The Virginia-class Submarine

Modern Naval Warfare is the next generation naval combat simulator, which will immerse you in the dark and unforgiving world of the modern high-tech naval battlefield.
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LiamR
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Modern Naval Warfare - Navy Log Book #5 - The Virginia-class Submarine

Post by LiamR »

Virginia_class_submarine.jpg
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Copyright 2003 U.S.DoD. Graphic by Ron Stern. Image ID 030521-D-9078S-001

Ahoy Modern Naval Warfare Fans. In this Navy Logbook we will look at your workhorse, the Virginia class submarine. This series of boats is the latest in service into the US Navy. Be sure to read to the end for some shiny new footage of the command stations featured in Modern Naval Warfare.

In Modern Naval Warfare, you will be able to command either a Virginia Block I, II or III but before entering into the details, let’s have a very short historical background on the Virginia submarine. The Virginia-class submarines have their roots in the Seawolf class submarines, which was designed during the Cold War to counter the Soviet submarine threat. However, due to cost concerns, the Seawolf program was scaled back; only four units are currently in service.

A new class of submarines was requested. The Virginia-class submarine program officially began in 1998, with the goal of producing a versatile and cost-effective submarine for a variety of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, land strike missions and finally intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) with a Special Force delivery capability.

To reduce the cost of the submarine, it was decided to use a modular construction system and wherever possible use COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) parts and softwares. For example, the SONAR suite named the Acoustics-Rapid COTS Insertion (A-RCI) is installed on the submarine. This give the ability to upgrade either the hardware or the software more often, reduce drastically the maintenance costs.

Two naval yards, General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton and Huntington Ingalls Industries/ Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport, were chosen for the submarine production. The goal was to produce at least two Virginia per year to keep the cost contained. With the new AUKUS trilateral security partnership, 2.33/year boats are expected to be build but currently the delivery is only 1.2/year, which also raised the total cost of the program.

The first Virginia-class submarine, USS Virginia (SSN-774), was laid down in 1999 and commissioned in 2004. Since then, 22 are in active service, 2 in pre-commissioning, 10 in different building phase. A total of 66 boat were requested by the USN. Over the years, the Virginia-class submarines have undergone various upgrades and improvements to enhance their capabilities. These include the integration of new weapons launch systems, improved sonar and communication systems.

Specifications:

Length:377 ft (115 m)

Beam: 34 ft (10 m

Propulsion: One S9G nuclear reactor delivering 280,000 hp (210 MW)

Speed: +25 knots (46 km/h)

Test depth: +800 ft (240 m)

Crew: 135 (15 officers and 120 enlisted)

As we wrote before, Modern Naval warfare reproduce the three first block of the series. A block is a batch of boat with the “same” configuration. In fact, almost all submarines are a little different one from the others; new equipment can be installed in one and not in the others or a software upgrade not applied. Modifications of the submarines are done during period of long overhaul.

Block I & Block II

The main visible difference between those are the number of segments used during the construction. Originally, for the first four hulls (hull 774 to 778), 10 modules were built and then assembled to form a Virginia. For the Block II, only four super-modules are used, reducing the whole cost, number of parts and time to build one submarine.

Block III

Block III is a small departure from the two first block. The 12 independent bays housing the Tomahawk cruise missile in the bow where replaced by two Multiple All round-up Canister MAC cylinder carrying each 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Note that the MAC installed on the Ohio SSGN contains 7 missiles. The missing one on the Virginia is to accommodate the connection between the submarines and the missiles.

The block IV and V are the next boat to come in the next years. With the retiring of the SSGN, the USN wanted to add a strike capability to the Virginia. The bock IV will be an elongated version of the Block III with the addition of a new section adding 15m to the boat housing the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) will be able to carry 4 pods of 7 missiles in addition to the 2 already present on the block III.

Systems of the Virginia

The Sensors

The submarines relies on their sensors to create a picture of their surrounding when you think of submarines, you consider sonar and periscope but there is more than these two iconic sensors as you are going to discover.

The SONAR system:

There is not one SONAR aboard the Virginia but a series of passive and active ones that give the submarine a 360 degrees situation awareness.
  • The bow sonar (for the Block I and II) and the Large Aperture Bow (LAB) introduced in the Block III and further.
  • The side sonar, wide aperture lightweight fiber optic sonar array, consisting of three flat panels mounted on either side of the hull,
  • Low-Cost Conformal Array (LCCA), on both side of the sail,
  • Two active sonar complete the series, one below the bow chin and the other on the sail.
The Towed Array

A towed array is a set of hydrophone towed behind a ship or submarine. It’s main advantage is that decoupled from the hull, it is not subject to the ship/submarine self generated noise. In addition, a TA can cover the baffles (the blind area at the rear of the submarine).

Here is two TA aboard the ship. The TB-16 or TB-34 and the TB-23 or the TB-33. The TB-16/34 thick-line towed array. The acoustic array 75m long, trailing behind a 800m cable. Different upgrade, added a self noise reduction, a full digitalization of the data. The TB-16 was found not well suited for shallow waters operation since at slow speed the array tend to sink too depth under the submarine. The TB-23/33 thin-line towed array. This array is 305m long, housing around 100 hydrophones, an environmental module and some radio modules (HF, MF and LF). It trailed behind a 800m line. Like the TB-16, it as been improved a lot with new sensor, telemetry modules…

The Masts (periscopes, antenna, …)

The sail is the house of a number of masts. The Radar is like all others ones mounted on the USN a Sperry Marine AN/PBS-16. There is two optronic periscopes with day, night and thermal cameras. The video can be displayed on almost all station of the boat CIC. The mast are non hull penetrating, meaning they didn’t get below the sail.

Four masts dedicated to communication (SLF, LF, MF, HF and VHF). One Electronic Support Measures dedicated mast, note that on top of each periscope there is a small ESM module to detect any enemy signal as the scope breach the surface. The last one is a snorkel raised only when the auxiliary diesel is in use.
USA_-_Virginia_blk1-3_v1.png
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© 2002 Richard S. - Reproduced with permission.

After a really quick look at the gears used to detect, ID and classify a contact, he the “Boom“ moment, with all the destructions tools needed to sink them.

The Weapons of the Virginia

The Virginia class can use a variety of missiles, torpedoes and even mines. Each Virginia as 12 Tomahawk cruise missile in the bow in the Vertical Launch System and 25 or 26 weapons in the torpedo room depending to the sources. Usually is 2 or 3 Harpoon missile only and 23 or 24 the Mk-48 torpedoes but remember that the loadout is mission specific.

The Mk-48Torpedo:

The history of the Mk-48 begin in the mid 50’s as a replacement of the Mk-37 whose performance against soviet submarines in terms of maximum depth, range and speed had become obsolete. The Bureau of Ordonnance wanted an increase of 150% in depth, 400% in range and the ability to detect a target at greater range by 20%. The Mk-48 entered in service in 1972.

Since then the Mk-48 has been improved multiple time, with the biggest one in 1988 with the introduction of the Mk-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capabilities), following the rapid evolution of the Soviet submarine threat in term of maximum speed, depth and improvement o their self noise reduction. The current version use by the Virginia are the Mk-48 ADCAP mod 6 and 7.

Mines: The Virginia is able to carry mines that can be deployed for interdiction (in a narrow sea-lane or a port for example). This capability is on the Virginia fact sheet but there is no public evidence that any mine has ever been deployed in exercise or in anger.

But, don’t worry, mines will be available in the simulator to add some existing missions! The effector for deployment is a Mk-48 carrying 2 mines.

Missiles

The Virginia SSN can use a wide type of Tomahawk and anti-ship missiles.

BGM-109 Tomahawk: The 12 first Viginia (block I and II) have 12 in separate vertical launch tube like in the Los Angeles class. On the Virginia block II and III, there is 2x6 TLAM in two MAC modules.

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) can be type C (block III or IV), E or D (Block V/VA). The C and E models are use against bunker or fortified targets; the D is the sub-munition dispenser version. Note that currently some TLAM-C are modified to be able to strike naval targets.

UGM-84 Harpoon: The other type of missile aboard are the Harpoon (Blocks 1C, II and II+), those are launched via torpedoes tubes and are use mainly against ships but the block II can also hit land target. So we have land attack missile with anti ship capabilities and vice versa!

The Special Forces: As the Ohio SSGN and Seawolf class, the Virginia, has a dedicated space in the torpedoes room to accommodate some special force and their equipment for covert operation on hostile littoral territories. In addition, a large lockout truck (LOT) allow the SF/Divers to exit or enter the submarine while it is submerged.



To conclude this Navy Logbook on your future office, here's a short video tour to the Virginia Command and Control Center.

Note: some stations in this video were not operational at the time of the recording. Modern Naval Warfare is still work in progress

In Modern Naval Warfare, you will have access to nine stations:
  • Radio
  • ESM
  • Pilot
  • Command
  • Navigation, Map and Situation Awareness table
  • Sonar
  • Fire control system
  • Radar
  • Periscopes
In the future, we will make specific videos detailing the full interfaces of each of the stations.

See you next month, sail safe!
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varangy
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Re: Modern Naval Warfare - Navy Log Book #5 - The Virginia-class Submarine

Post by varangy »

Thank you for the devblog, very nice.

Will the game feature an easy/arcade mode of control, like for example in Cold Waters?
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kakumei
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Re: Modern Naval Warfare - Navy Log Book #5 - The Virginia-class Submarine

Post by kakumei »

varangy wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:34 pm Thank you for the devblog, very nice.

Will the game feature an easy/arcade mode of control, like for example in Cold Waters?
MNW is a simulator but there is an option where you can just let the "AI' crew doing all the hard job and stay at the map station just giving orders like in Cold Waters but you will miss a lot of "fun".

There is an Easy mode in the difficulties options, your crew is better at detecting, doing the TMA, launching the weapons, ...

As you get use of the boat, you will be able to switch to higher difficulties and also to take the role of other crew (eg sonar, fire control station, TMA, ....) or joined by friends and make a full human crew in Multiplayer mode (up to 16).
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Yeeoo
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Re: Modern Naval Warfare - Navy Log Book #5 - The Virginia-class Submarine

Post by Yeeoo »

Image


Amazing.
Galahad78
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Re: Modern Naval Warfare - Navy Log Book #5 - The Virginia-class Submarine

Post by Galahad78 »

kakumei wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:43 pm As you get use of the boat, you will be able to switch to higher difficulties and also to take the role of other crew (eg sonar, fire control station, TMA, ....) or joined by friends and make a full human crew in Multiplayer mode (up to 16).
This is wonderful, but it begs the question: we Dangerous Waters veterans had a very big problem with this game's multiplayer: if a friend lost connection, his station was no longer accesible during the rest of the game. Trust this issue will be solved in MNW, right?
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kakumei
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Re: Modern Naval Warfare - Navy Log Book #5 - The Virginia-class Submarine

Post by kakumei »

Good question. Will have to test it.
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