In order to most effectively serve and protect, the USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790) is equipped with the Navy’s best and newest technology.

The USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790), along with all Virginia Class submarines is both longer and lighter than the previous Seawolf class of submarines.


 Scheduled to be commissioned in summer 2016, the USS Illinois, the 13th Virginia Class, offers a look at what the USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790) will be like when it joins the fleet in 2018 and officially becomes the USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790). Take a look.


The USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790) will be manned by 132 crew members: 15 officers and 117 enlisted servicemen. Five chefs provide 24-hour service to the crew in the ship’s galley. The galley also doubles as movie theater and entertainment venue. 


The ship is 370 feet long, 10 feet longer than a standard football field. It is 34 feet wide and is nearly as tall as a 12-story building. The ship’s displacement (weight) is 7,800 tons. That’s equivalent to the weight of 65 blue whales. 


The USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790) is able to stay at sea for up to three months at a time. This sub is powered by a nuclear reactor, an unlimited fuel supply that is able to continuously power the ship for its projected lifespan of up to 33 years.


The USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790) can travel at speeds of over 25 knots (28 miles per hour), enabling it to travel up to 500 miles per day. The ship can operate at a maximum depth of over 800 ft. 


 The USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790) is armed with four torpedo tubes as well as two Virginia Payload Tubes (VPT), each capable of holding six vertical launch Tomahawk missiles that can hit on-shore targets up to 1,240 miles away.


The Virginia Class is the first class of submarines developed for post cold war missions and can operate in littoral (coastal) environments. These fast-attack submarines have the newest technology the Navy has to offer.

With sonar detectors in the bow, fin, and flank, as well as one towed behind the ship, the submarine is able to detect large ships up to 3,000 miles away.


Rather than periscopes, Virginia Class submarines have a pair of extendable photonics masts outside the pressure hull, which utilize thermal imaging and low-light cameras.


The USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790) cruises through the open water via pump jet propulsion for quieter movement.  


The advanced modular construction sequence of the Virginia Class submarines enables the ship to be built in four parts rather than the ten parts of the previous classes of submarines. This has resulted in consistently lower costs to the taxpayer and significantly shortened production schedules. 

HMS Ambush graphic