America’s new Arizona sub harbors secrets the enemy won’t like

Project SSN-803, or the Virginia-class Arizona submarine, laid down its keel in December 2022. This submarine is the next generation of submarines of the same class. The USS Arizona is a Block V submarine.

America's new Arizona sub harbors secrets the enemy won't like
Photo credit: Ashley Cowan / U.S. Navy

Still, in production, the US Navy’s new underwater platform is awaiting its first tests in the coming years. But the USS Arizona is no ordinary submarine. It may be starting a fearsome Block V that opponents won’t like.

The secret of the 30th Virginia-class submarine is the Virginia payload module (VPA). Many would say so what – a larger payload module. But it is this module that can change the balance in a future submarine war.


First, VPA gives a new role to the submarine – effectiveness not anywhere, but on the seabed. Where the world has laid heavy and long fiber optic cables or a network of pipelines that carry fuel from one continent to another. The memory of the bombed Russian gas pipelines “Nord Stream 1” and “Nord Stream 2” is still fresh.

This is why seabed security is becoming increasingly imperative. Regardless of who is responsible for the bomb pipelines, the gas leak affected their structure and upset the balance on an international scale, affecting both the economic and defense sectors.

The VPA or more commonly called the Virginia Payload Module [VPM] could prove to be a game-changing addition. According to Kevin Greaney, the VPM will allow the Arizona submarine and all Bolk V successors to conduct underwater warfare on the bottom. This means Arizona will come up with new underwater torpedo and missile tubes that will be designed to operate at similar depths.

Simply put, Arizona will be armed with more Tomahawk missiles than any submarine in the US fleet can currently carry. According to sources, in numerical terms, this equates to at least 40 more cruise missiles than standard. The amount of other supplies carried by the submarine will also be increased.

America's new Arizona sub harbors secrets the enemy won't like
Photo credit: 1945

The Arizona submarine modification includes a new hull plug that extends 84 feet. This plug will also be modified for underwater warfare on the sea or ocean floor. But that’s not all that will be modified. The submarine will have to adapt to the new water pressure and requirement of modern warfare. And many experts predict that warfare on the bottom of the sea may be an invariable part of future wars.


The US considers the Virginia-class submarines the most feared in its fleet. At the present moment, as it became clear, they are 30, but their number will grow. At least 10 more Block V submarines of the same class should be built and launched in years. Thus, the fleet of Virginia-class submarines will become impressive over 40 units.

Each Block of this class of submarines leads us to different functions and missions to perform. Submarines can be used both for reconnaissance and guarding, as well as exploring the seabed, as well as attacking and even fighting other submarines.

The first Virginia-class submarines entered service at the beginning of the new millennium. Each can displace nearly 8,000 tons and approach a hull length of about 377 feet. The diameter of the submarines is at least 34 meters.

Top 5 best submarines in the world-USS Virginia, US
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Virginia class submarines are nuclear-powered. They can submerge and move to a depth of just over 800 feet, and reach a top speed of about 25 knots underwater.

The Blocks I, II, III, and IV variants have already been released to the seas and the introduction of the latest iteration of the Block V is imminent.


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