Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division has successfully delivered the US Navy’s Virginia-class submarine Delaware (SSN 791).

The 377ft-long, 7,800t nuclear-powered fast attack submarine was launched in December last year. It completed sea trials earlier this month.

Delaware, which is the second ship to be named in honour of the US state, is the ninth Virginia boat to be delivered by Newport News Shipbuilding division. It was christened by the ship’s sponsor, Jill Biden, in October 2018.

The 18th submarine of the class has been built under HII’s teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat.

Newport News submarine construction vice-president Dave Bolcar said: “Like the last two submarines we delivered to the navy, Delaware has received some of the highest quality scores since the Virginia-class programme began.”

“Our team of shipbuilders continues to perform at a high level, and nothing makes us prouder than delivering one of the most mission-ready submarines to the fleet.”

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According to HII, construction of the vessel started in September 2013. The construction phase saw the participation of over 10,000 shipbuilders from Newport News and Electric Boat.

The US Navy is expected to commission the future USS Delaware in 2020. Delaware falls under Block III submarines, which feature a new bow design with a water-backed Large Aperture Bow array and two large-diameter 87-inch Virginia Payload Tubes.

The Virginia-class vessels are being procured to replace Los Angeles-class submarines. They can conduct a range of peacetime and wartime missions such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, covert offensive and defensive mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface ship warfare.