The U.S. Navy’s sixth Block IV Virginia-class attack submarine, USS Iowa (SSN 797), was christened during a ceremony at the General Dynamics Electric Boat Yard facility in Groton, Connecticut, on June 19, 2023.

USS Iowa is the fourth ship in the US Navy and the first submarine named after the state.

About the SSN Block IV class “Virginia.”

USS Iowa

Block IV submarines (SSN 792 to 801) incorporate design changes focused on reducing Total Cost of Ownership (RTOC). By making these smaller-scale design changes to increase the life cycle of submarine components, the US Navy will extend the periodicity between depot maintenance availabilities and increase the number of deployments.

USS Delaware (SSN 791), the last of eight Virginia-class Block III submarines, entered service in April 2020.

Block III submarines are equipped with the new Virginia payload tubes, designed to reduce costs and increase missile payload possibilities. The first 10 Virginia Block I and Block II class submarines feature 12 individual 21-inch-diameter vertical launch tubes capable of firing Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS). Block III submarines are built with two larger tubes, 87 inches in diameter, capable of holding six TLAMS each.

Blocks I to III Virginias are scheduled to undergo four depot maintenance operations and make 14 deployments. Block IV RTOC efforts are intended to reduce planned availabilities from one to three and increase deployments to 15. The US Navy refers to this as 3:15.

Block IV will be followed by the Block V configuration, which involves 10 ships and may incorporate the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), which would give guided missile capability when the SSGNs are withdrawn from service. On December 2, 2019, the United States Navy announced an order for nine new Virginia-class submarines—eight Block Vs and one Block IV—for a total contract price of $22 billion with an option for a tenth ship. . The Block V submarines were confirmed to have a greater length, from 377 feet (115 m) to 460 feet (140 m), and a displacement, from 7,800 tons to 10,200 tons.

Submarines in Block IV configuration:

  • Vermont (SSN 792) – Commissioned 18 April 2020
  • Oregon (SSN 793) – Commissioned May 26, 2022
  • Montana (SSN 794) – Commissioned June 25, 2022
  • Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795) – Baptized July 31, 2021
  • New Jersey (SSN 796) – Launched April 28, 2022
  • Iowa (SSN 797) – Christened June 18, 2023
  • Massachusetts (SSN 798) – Baptized May 6, 2023
  • Idaho (SSN 799) – Keel laying on August 24, 2020
  • Arkansas (SSN 800) – Keel laying on November 19, 2022
  • Utah (SSN 801) – Keel laid 1 September 2022

Tayfun Ozberk