The US Navy has begun the construction of its 13th Virginia class submarine, the unnamed SSN 787, marking the construction of two submarines of the same class in the same year after 22 years.

Virginia class programme manager, Rear Adm. (sel.) Michael Jabaley, said: “Our team has been diligently driving down the cost and construction time of these submarines to get to this key two per year milestone.”

“Building two submarines per year is the most economical way to procure these boats and will help ensure that our submarine force has the platforms it needs to carry out its various missions,” he added.

Designed for open-ocean and littoral missions, the Virginia class submarine is a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine and is planned to replace the older of the Los Angeles-class submarines.