Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has launched the US Navy's newest Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarine Indiana (SSN 789) at its Newport News Shipbuilding division.

The 7,800t submarine was first transported from its construction facility into a floating dry dock before being successfully launched into the James River.

It was then moved to the shipyard’s submarine pier to undergo final outfitting, testing and crew certification.

Indiana is eighth ship of the Virginia-class slated to be delivered to the US Navy by Newport News.

HII Newport News Submarines and Fleet Support vice-president Matt Needy said: “With the navy’s recent increase in SSN force structure requirements from 48 to 66 submarines, the shipbuilders here at Newport News and at our teaming partner, Electric Boat, understand the importance of getting these highly valued ships delivered and ready for mission-tasking by our navy leadership.”

An estimated 4,000 Newport News shipbuilders have participated in the construction phase of the new SSN 789 vessel since work commenced in September 2012.

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"The shipbuilders here at Newport News understand the importance of getting these highly valued ships delivered and ready for mission-tasking by our navy leadership."

The company will work in collaboration with the crew of Indiana to commence the operational life of the vessel over the coming months. The US Navy laid the keel for Indiana in May 2015.

Indiana is a nuclear-powered fast attack Virginia-class submarines designed to carry out a wide range of open-ocean and littoral missions.

The Virginia class are being built to replace the US Navy’s Los Angeles-class submarines and are capable of supporting multiple mission areas.

The vessels can operate at submerged speeds of more than 25k for months at a time.

Image: The Virginia-class submarine Indiana (SSN 789) moved to Newport News Shipbuilding’s submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification. Photo: courtesy of Ashley Major / HII.