Northrop has christened the eighth modern and sophisticated Virginia Class attack submarine, the USS California (SSN 781), in Newport News, Virginia.

The 377ft-long California has a 34ft beam and a displacement capacity of 7,800t and can dive to depths of greater than 800ft and cruise at speeds of 25kt submerged.

The submarine has been designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare missions.

The delivery of the submarine is scheduled for 2011 to provide undersea supremacy to the US Navy.

Northrop has teamed up with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build Virginia Class submarines.