US Navy commissions fast attack submarine USS South Dakota

4 February 2019 (Last Updated February 4th, 2019 12:31)

The US Navy has commissioned its newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine, the future USS South Dakota (SSN 790), at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

US Navy commissions fast attack submarine USS South Dakota
The US Navy has commissioned its newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine, the future USS South Dakota. Credit: US Navy/Tristan B Lotz.

The US Navy has commissioned its newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine, the future USS South Dakota (SSN 790), at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

The fast attack submarine, which was christened in October 2017, is sponsored by the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey’s wife Deanie Dempsey.

US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said: “USS South Dakota enters service during a period of dynamic security challenges. I am confident USS South Dakota and its crew will ensure our Navy and nation remains safe and strong, and proudly serves our nation’s interest for decades to come.”

“South Dakota was built to be on scene and unseen, forward deployed and ready to take the fight to our adversaries and protect our shores here.”

USS South Dakota is the third vessel to bear the state’s name and the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine and the seventh of the eight Virginia-class Block III submarines.

USS South Dakota commanding officer commander Craig Litty said: “South Dakota was built to be on scene and unseen, forward deployed and ready to take the fight to our adversaries and protect our shores here.

“We do that through executing the seven mission areas that the United States Submarine Force, which focuses primarily on anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, but we are also very capable of reconnaissance operations and operations in littoral waters.

The Virginia-class submarines can operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters. They have the ability to support maritime strategy core capabilities, including sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

The Block III submarines are made with two larger 87in-diameter new Virginia Payload tubes, which are designed to be able to house six TLAMS each.

Measuring 370ft in length and having a displacement of 7,800t, SSN 790 will be manned by 132 crew members, including 15 officers and 117 enlisted servicemen.

The nuclear reactor-powered USS South Dakota has a projected lifespan of up to 33 years, can travel at speeds of more than 25k, and operate at a maximum depth of over 800ft.