Construction work on the US Navy’s latest Virginia-class submarine John Warner (SSN 785) is 96% complete.
The submarine is currently undergoing final outfitting, testing and crew certification phases at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding unit.
On schedule for delivery later this year, the submarine will undergo initial sea trials, including a series of operational assessments to demonstrate its capabilities.
Newport News Shipbuilding submarines and fleet support vice-president Jim Hughes said: "This is a special milestone for the shipbuilders and the crew.
"From now on, this ship will take on the personality of her crew as they move aboard. For the shipbuilders, it marks significant progress toward delivery and reminds us that we are not only building a warship, but a home for these sailors as they work to protect our country."
John Warner, which is the 12th Virginia-class submarine, is being constructed in compliance with navy requirements.
The vessel has sophisticated technology to improve firepower, manoeuvrability and stealth.
With a displacement of 7,800t, hull length of 377ft and a diameter of 34ft, Virginia-class submarines are capable of cruising at a maximum speed of more than 25k and can dive more than 800ft deep. They can also stay submerged for approximately three months at a time.
The vessels can be armed with Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles, and can be used for anti-submarine, surface-ship warfare and special operations support.
Image: John Warner during its final outfitting, testing and crew certification phase at Newport News Shipbuilding’s submarine pier. Photo: courtesy of Ricky Thompson / HII.