The US Navy has christened its newest Virginia-class SSN 795 submarine as USS Hyman G. Rickover.

It has been named in honour of the navy admiral Hyman G. Rickover, who created USS Nautilus (SSN 571), the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine.

Virginia-class submarines are being built by General Dynamics (GD) Electric Boat in collaboration with Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ Newport News Shipbuilding unit as part of a $17.6bn contract.

"Our US Navy and P-8 industry team continues to meet milestone after milestone on this world-class programme."

The submarines meet the navy’s multi-mission requirements with stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements.

The 377m-long, 7,800t USS Hyman G. Rickover is designed with a reactor plant, which does not require refuelling during the programmed life of the vessel, and can cruise at maximum speed of 25k when submerged.

It also includes new Virginia payload tubes that are designed to reduce expenses while enhancing missile-firing payload potential.

Armed with Mark 48 advanced-capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles, the submarines can carry out anti-submarine, anti-surface ship, strike, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, as well as special operation forces and irregular and mine warfare.

Using the highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles, they can attack targets ashore and conduct long-term covert observations of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces.