Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has successfully completed initial sea trials of the US Navy's newest Virginia-class submarine, John Warner (SSN 785).
The trials evaluated the ship's systems, components and compartments. In addition, the demonstrations also saw the submarine submerged for the first time, operating at high speeds on the surface and underwater.
Newport News submarines and fleet support vice-president Jim Hughes said: "Alpha sea trials represent the first underway test of the quality of the craftsmanship that went into the construction of this great vessel and the skill of the crew that operates her.
"Both the ship and the crew performed incredibly well, resulting in extremely successful trials that enable the ship to advance directly into its next set of tests."
John Warner prospective commanding officer commander Dan Caldwell said: "We look forward to completing the ship's delivery and joining the operational fleet."
Being built as part of a teaming arrangement between HII's Newport News Shipbuilding division and General Dynamics Electric Boat, John Warner is scheduled to undergo additional rounds of sea trials in the coming months.
John Warner is the 12th Virginia-class submarine being constructed in compliance with navy requirements, and features sophisticated technology to improve firepower, manoeuvrability and stealth.
With a displacement of 7,800t, hull length of 377ft and a diameter of 34ft, the Virginia-class submarines can cruise at a maximum speed of more than 25k and can dive more than 800ft deep.
They can be armed with Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles, and be used for anti-submarine, surface-ship warfare and special operations support.
Under construction since 2010, the vessel is 99% complete and is on schedule for delivery to the navy next month, more than three months ahead of its contracted delivery date.
Image: The US Navy's 12th Virginia-class submarine John Warner (SSN 785) successfully completes alpha sea trials. Photo: courtesy of Chris Oxley / HII.