The US Navy is outfitting a pair of its submarines with new technologies that will improve its sonar and cut back on the noise of the boat's nuclear-powered steam generator. The new techs are being installed on the Virginia-class attack sub USS South Dakota (shown above is the Virginia-class USS Hawaii) and the Ohio-class ballistic-missile boat USS Maryland.

The sonar tech consists of a larger vertical array, according to Defense Tech, which extends the range accuracy of a sub's sensors, making it easier to detect potential threats while also providing a more accurate picture of the ocean floor.

"The USS South Dakota is a platform for three crucial aspects of our efforts to work on acoustic superiority. The large vertical array is about 60-percent designed with a preliminary design and we are installing a similar array on the USS Maryland that is 75-percent complete," Rear Adm. Joe Tofalo, the director of sub warfare, told DT.

Aside from the sonar tech, the Navy is coating the South Dakota's hull in a new material that will reduce the boat's sonar signature. Inside the hull, the engine room is being fitted with about a dozen sound-deadening tricks, Defense Tech reports.

"It is my intention to pursue all of these acoustic superiority technologies for in service and future SSNs and SSBNs. The submarine force is the key that unlocks that A2/AD (anti-access/area denial) bubble. We are the folks who are expected to get in underneath and – at the time and place of our choosing – do what needs to be done. A significant part of our ability to do this is an acoustic advantage," Rear Adm. Tofalo said.

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