Image Copyright: Dana Jensen / AP
By Jennifer Mcdermott
Copyright: The Day of New London (Conn.) via AP
NEWPORT, R.I. — Inside the “launcher laboratory” at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, underneath a large hatch, stands a tube 30 feet high.
Eventually the 15-by-15-foot hatch will open and a crane will lower in weapons and sensors — and whatever other new technology defense researchers can dream up — to be launched from the “Virginia Payload Tube.”
The payload tube is identical to the vertical missile launch tubes designed for new Virginia-class submarines. Beginning with the North Dakota, currently under construction, new Virginia-class boats will have two launch tubes, each with a diameter of about 7 feet, instead of 12 smaller ones that each can hold only a single Tomahawk cruise missile.