Friday, April 13, 2012

New USS Washington

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next five Virginia-class attack submarines will be named the USS Illinois, the USS Washington, the USS Colorado, the USS Indiana, and the USS South Dakota. 

Mabus named the Virginia-class submarines to honor the great contributions and support these states have given the military through the years. None of the five states has had a ship named for it for more than 49 years. 

"Each of these five states serves as home to military bases that support our national defense and provides men and women who volunteer to serve their country," Mabus said.

“This is an exceptional way to recognize the men and women in Washington state who serve our country and to acknowledge the communities surrounding the base that support them in various ways,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “I appreciate that the Navy is honoring us in this way.”

The selection of Washington, designated SSN 787, is the third ship to bear the state name and the state's Puget Sound area, where the Navy's third-largest fleet concentration is located.  Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., is builder for the USS Washington, in partnership with General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corp.

The other states are:  Illinois, designated SSN 786, Colorado, designated SSN 788, Indiana, designated SSN 789, South Dakota, designated SSN 790.

These next-generation attack submarines will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century.  They will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements. 

These submarines will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces.  Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping.  They are also designed for special forces delivery and support. 

Each Virginia-class submarine is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.  

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