The Virginia Class was the four-ship follow-on to the two ship California Class. Although slightly shorter than the Californias, the Virginias at 11,400 tons, full load, had around 1,000 tons greater displacement. Designed to escort carriers and multipurpose offensive operations, the class presented formidable AAW, ASW and anti-surface capabilities. The nuclear powered two turbines generated 60,000 hp and gave the ship a maximum speed in excess of 30 knots. Through their careers, the class received upgrades and system improvements, including Tomahawks and Harpoon canisters and the Standard AAW system. The JAG kit portrays the class early in their career before the addition of these weapons systems.
Although newer than the California and South Carolina, the class had shorter careers and left service before the older cruisers. The budget crunch in the early 1990s spelled their doom. They were due for nuclear fuel replacement and upgrades at a time when the naval budget was slashed in the first half of the 1990s. Something had to go and the Virginia, Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were decommissioned and disposed with less than 20 years service.
Displacement: 11,400 Tons (Full Load); Dimensions: Length- 585 Feet (oa), Beam- 63 feet, Draught- 29 feet; Armament: Guns- 2 Mk 45 Five Inch/54cal. ; Missiles- Two twin rail Mk 26 Mod 0/1 MR-SAM; Torpedo Tubes- Six (2x3) ASROC; One LAMPS Helicopter
Machinery: Two D2G water pressurized reactors, 2 shaft, two turbines, 60,000 shp; 30+ knots
Complement: 519 (30 Officers, 489 Enlisted)
Sisterships: USS Texas CGN-39, USS Mississippi CGN-40, USS Arkansas CGN-41
Other significant features that are perfectly captured by the JAG Virginia are the knuckles on the bow. These very prominent features run almost to the superstructure. They in part give the bow a rakish look. The hull came free of defects of any description. Dead flat with not a pinhole void or resin bubble to be seen, other than on the flat bottom. Not only was it perfectly cast but the efficiency of the JAG packaging is readily apparent in the absence of breakage of any type.
With so much detail cast into the hull, you might think that there would be a fairly small number of smaller resin parts. JAG gives you two resin runners and one resin wafer of the smaller parts. These contain 66 finely crafted resin parts. JAG has not skimped on the inclusion of minute detail for these parts. Shipís boats, missile rails, radomes, radar & mounts, ventilators, life raft canisters, gun mounts and the host of other smaller parts, all received the same attention to detail that was lavished on the hull. As with the hull, there was no breakage. The two gun barrels and the resin wafer sheet (not the parts thereon) had a slight warp, which undoubtedly was caused by heat in the back of the UPS van during shipping. Very fine parts are susceptible to warping when placed in a hot environment and the back of an UPS van in the summer in the Southeastern US is very conducive to heat build up. The two barrels can easily be corrected by application of hot air from a hairdryer. JAG also provides separate plastic pieces for masts, some platforms, landings and support posts.