The US Navy has commissioned its newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Indiana (SSN 789) during a ceremony at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Port Canaveral, Florida.
USS Indiana is the 16th Virginia-class submarine and the sixth Virginia-class Block III vessel developed and delivered for the US Navy.
Designed to operate in both coastal and deep-ocean environments, the submarine is equipped with a wide range of capabilities, including anti-submarine and surface ship warfare, special operation forces (SOF) support, as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
US Navy secretary Richard V Spencer said: “The USS Indiana shows the increased capabilities that our industrial partners bring to the fleet as we deliver the navy the nation needs.
“This submarine sends a signal to friend and foe alike that we will maintain supremacy under the waves, and extend our lethality and readiness in every domain.”
Developed under the Virginia-class’ third or Block III contract, USS Indiana features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles.
This helped reduce the vessel’s acquisition cost while maintaining its increased warfighting capabilities.
With its commissioning, SSN 789 will be the third ship and first submarine in service with the US Navy named after the state of Indiana.
Construction on the next-generation attack submarine commenced in 2012 and the vessel was delivered to the US Navy by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division on 25 June.