Bob Hamilton of GDEB answered my question as to how many sections go into each submarine. Here’s his answer: “Since the 778 (NEW HAMPSHIRE) all Virginia Class submarines are built in 4 sections, and that seems pretty optimal so I expect we will settle in there for the rest of the Virginias. It’s basically the first section that encompasses the bow back to the sail, which includes control and the torpedo room; the second section which is crew berthing and auxiliary machinery room spaces; the third section which is propulsion spaces; and the fourth section which is the stern.” To my question of which sections were built where, he told, “Bow and stern are built in Newport News. Two amidships sections at Electric Boat. We alternate final assembly — we do the even numbered hulls.” Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) builds the subs with the odd numbered hulls. He told me the two amidships sections are built at Quonset Point RI, and that the section we saw on May 11th is the crew berthing and auxiliary machinery room spaces . I am posting a photo of that section separately as for some reason it is taking way too long to upload that photo into this blog.
My friend and fellow UND Class of 1964 graduate, CAPT Pete Rice (Ret) sent me this link to an article in the Providence Journal:
The great cooperation between GDEB and NNS in building the VIRGINIA subs should be a model for the defense industry. As you read this article you can better understand how much more efficient it is to build the subs in sections where the interior is more accessible allowing more people to work on all the interior equipment installations as opposed to first building the entire hull and then cutting holes in it to add pieces of equipment.