The soon-to-be USS South Dakota looks brand spanking new both outside and inside in a new video posted to YouTube. The clip will take you on a guided tour of the submarine, which is the 17th Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine built for the U.S. Navy and will join the service in February.
South Dakota’s keel was laid down in April 2016 at the General Dynamic Electric Boat shipyards in Groton, Connecticut. Each is 377 feet long with a beam of 34 feet and displaces 7,900 tons. The sub includes four 533mm torpedo tubes for launching Mk.48 anti-surface and anti-submarine torpedoes.
In addition to the torpedoes, South Dakota packs a powerful cruise missile punch. Virginia-class vessels are now constructed with two Multiple All Up Round Canisters (MACs) built into the bow of the submarine. The video clearly shows the large round door belonging to one of the MACs, underneath each of which is six ready-to-fire Tomahawk cruise missiles, for a total of twelve cruise missiles per boat. Also new to South Dakota is a new, cheaper Large Aperture Bow sonar array in place of a traditional spherical sonar array.
South Dakota is spotless on the inside, with an all-new interior. Wood facades break up the monotony of green and stainless steel on doors and paneling. The galley shows a variety of wild animals (including the posterior of a mountain goat) that are presumably native to the Mount Rushmore State. The submarine incorporates color touch-screen controls at the diving station.
Crew living quarters look smartly designed but would pose a serious problem for claustrophobes. One set of living quarters appears to have four bunk beds, and the aisle between them is only about as wide as a person. Crews appear to have one large and one smaller locker and only a blue curtain for privacy.
Halfway through the video, the focus shifts to a dive test off the East Coast. The submarine is recorded in 1,805 fathoms of water, or 8,310 feet, and makes a test dive. The Virginia class’ maximum operating depth is unknown.
South Dakota is currently on February 2 at Electric Boat shipyards in Groton, Connecticut. Per Navy policy, she is currently Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) South Dakota and will take the United States Ship (USS) title after the commissioning ceremony.