The US Navy has commissioned its 21st Virginia-class Block IV nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, USS Montana (SSN 794).

The vessel was commissioned during a traditional ceremony held at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on 25 June.

During the ceremony, the submarine’s sponsor and former Secretary of the US Department of Interior Sally Jewell gave the traditional order to the crew to man USS Montana.

Jewell said: “With awe, I have witnessed the USS Montana come to life through hardworking shipbuilders, capable submariners, and supportive families, all operating through a global pandemic, to ready her for service to nation and allies.”

In September 2020, the US Navy christened USS Montana at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

The newly commissioned submarine is the US Navy’s second warship named after the Treasure State.

US Navy undersecretary Erik Raven said: “When USS Montana joins that fleet, she will add next generation of stealth, surveillance, and special warfare capabilities to our Joint Force, and extend our integrated deterrence capabilities.

“This powerful boat and her crew will protect our sea lanes, strengthen our maritime dominance, and contribute to strengthening our relationships with our allies and partners.”

USS Montana is the third Block IV Virginia-class submarine.

Block IV incorporates small-scale design changes to increase the lifecycle of the submarine while reducing ownership costs.

The changes will increase the deployments to 15 and reduce scheduled availabilities by one to three.

Block I to III submarines are planned to perform 14 deployments and four depot maintenance availabilities.