The US Navy has christened its newest Virginia-class Block IV nuclear attack submarine, the future USS Oregon (SSN 793).

USS Oregon was christened during a ceremony held at General Dynamics Electric Boat’s (GDEB) Groton shipyard in Connecticut, US.

The submarine is the 20th ship of the class and the second Virginia-class Block IV submarine.

Sponsored by retired US Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson’s wife Dana Richardson, SSN 793 is the third navy ship to be named after Oregon.

US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said: “The future USS Oregon will play an important role in the defence of our nation and maritime freedom.

“She stands as proof of what teamwork, from civilian to contractor to military, can accomplish. I am confident USS Oregon and her crew will ensure our navy remains safe and strong to proudly serve our nation’s interest for decades to come.”

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Construction of the submarine started in 2014 and the ship is expected to join the fleet next year.

The Virginia-class vessels feature modular design architecture, allowing them to adapt to changing mission requirements.

The ships in this class can operate in littoral and deep waters. They are used to undertake anti-surface ship and anti-submarine operations, as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

Block IV attack submarines are incorporated with design changes to reduce the planned number of depot availabilities from four to three.

This approach will provide the navy with reduced ownership cost and greater operational availability of the ships.

The vessels of the Virginia-class are built under a teaming agreement between GDEB and Newport News Shipbuilding.