The US Navy has authenticated the keel for its future Virginia-class nuclear-powered fast attack Block V submarine USS Arizona (SSN 803).

The new construction milestone was marked by a keel-laying ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat’s (GDEB) Quonset Point facility in Rhode Island, US.

The event was attended by various senior officials and leaders from the US Navy, along with representatives from the shipbuilding company.

During this traditional ceremony, initials of the submarine’s sponsor were welded onto a steel plate. 

Arizona is sponsored by Nikki Stratton, the granddaughter of US Navy former seaman first class Donald Stratton.

He served aboard the US Navy’s USS Arizona (BB 39) warship, the first vessel to bear this name, during the 1941 attack.

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BB 39 was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941.

Programme Executive Office Attack Submarines rear admiral Jonathan Rucker said: “The boats in this class are the most advanced attack submarines ever designed.

“Their stealth, firepower, and manoeuvrability are superior to every other attack submarine force in the world.

“Additionally, Arizona will be the first of the Virginia-class equipped with the Virginia Payload Module, enabling the submarine to deliver an even wider variety of capabilities.

“Building, operating and maintaining Arizona and other Virginia-class subs is crucial to ensuring the Navy’s ability to project power in an ever-shifting global threat environment, and to maintaining peace and the free operation of our sea lanes.”

SSN 803 is the 30th Virginia-class multi-mission submarine. The vessels of this class can provide stealth surveillance to the sea forces against different littoral waters and ground-based targets.

The submarines can strike the shore-based targets using the Tomahawk cruise missiles.