Naval Warfare

SSN-810 Virginia-class attack sub to be named after San Francisco

Secretary of the US Navy Carlos Del Toro announced the name for the future SSN-810 as part of the Navy’s Fleet Week events in San Francisco.

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced at the beginning of October that SSN-810, the ninth Block V Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine, will be named after San Francisco, Calif.

Del Toro announced the name for the future SSN-810 as part of the US Navy’s Fleet Week events in San Francisco while he was speaking in the Embarcadero neighborhood on the city’s eastern shore.

“USS San Francisco will build upon the legacy of her namesakes, and will no doubt represent the people of this city and our nation with honor wherever she may sail,” Del Toro said.

Del Toro also announced that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be the submarine’s sponsor.

SSN-810 to feature Virginia Payload Module

Being a Block V ship, SSN-810 will get outfitted with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), a feature introduced starting with the second Block V ship, SSN 803, currently under construction. VPM incorporates four additional large diameter payload tubes in a new hull section located amidships.

Due to their location, each VPM payload tube is capable of carrying seven Tomahawk cruise missiles adding 28 missiles per VPM. VPM reconstitutes the ability to host dry deck shelters, further enhancing SOF capability, and allows the Navy to host additional advanced payloads via multiple ocean interfaces.

Block V hulls include the ten ships procured from 2019 through 2023 (SSNs 802-811).

The fourth ship named after San Francisco

SSN-810 will be the fourth ship named after the city.

“The first San Francisco, a steel-protected cruiser, blockaded Havana, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War and served as a mine planter in the North Sea during World War I,” reads a statement from the Navy.

“The second San Francisco, a heavy cruiser, had an equally distinguished career, participating in operations and engagements at Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal, Guam, the Marshall Islands, and Okinawa during World War II.”

According to USNI News, the most recent was the Los Angeles-class attack submarine, the former USS San Francisco (SSN-711). San Francisco was inactivated from service in 2017.

During its service life, the attack boat collided with an underwater mountain in 200,5 leading to an extensive refit. The hull is now the moored training vessel for the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, S.C.

The naming of SSN-810 follows Del Toro’s announcement in May at New York Fleet Week that Block V Virginia attack boat SSN-811 would be named after Long Island.

Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines

The Navy continues to build the next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia (SSN 774) class. Twenty-one Virginias have been commissioned to date, and they will replace Los Angeles Class submarines as they retire.

The Virginia class has several innovations that significantly enhance its warfighting capabilities, including in littoral — or coastal — operations.

The class has special features to support SOF, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF personnel and all their equipment for prolonged deployments, as well as future off-board payloads.

The class also has a large lockout truck (LOT) for divers. In Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been supplanted by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. With the removal of the barrel periscopes, the ship’s control room has been moved down one deck and away from the hull’s curvature, affording it more room and an improved layout that provides the commanding officer with enhanced situational awareness.

Additionally, through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture, and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain state-of-the-practice for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.

Virginia-class submarine with the Virginia Payload Module

Photo credit: U.S. Navy

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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