The US Navy is set to commission its newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine, the future USS Colorado (SSN 788) at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

As the 15th Virginia-class fast attack submarine and the fifth Block III boat of the class, SSN 788 will be the fourth US Navy vessel that has been named to honour the US state of Colorado.

Construction work on the future USS Colorado commenced in 2015 and was christened on 3 December 2016. Its commissioning date is scheduled for 17 March.

US Navy Secretary Richard V Spencer said: “USS Colorado is a true marvel of technology and innovation, and it shows the capability that our industrial partners bring to the fight.

“Today’s world requires undersea platforms designed for dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions.”

“Today’s world requires undersea platforms designed for dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions, and I am confident Colorado will proudly serve in defence of our nation’s interests for decades to come.”

The ship was delivered to the US Navy on 21 September last year.

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The US Navy’s Block III Virginia-class submarines are equipped with a redesigned bow,  replacing 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, which are each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Designed specifically to operate in the littoral and deep waters worldwide, the submarines are capable of carrying out warfare operations such as anti-submarine, anti-surface, and strikes, as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Vessels feature inherent stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower that directly allow the ships to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities.

The Virginia-class submarines are being built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News.