The US Navy has commissioned the third of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines, USS Illinois (SSN 786), at the Naval Submarine Base, New London, US.
USS Illinois, which represents the nation’s 13th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine to be commissioned into the US navy, is expected to boost the service undersea capability and ensure military success.
USS Illinois commanding officer Jessie Porter said: "Over the coming years, this submarine and others like her will continue the impressive legacy that our submarine forbearers have established in making our country more secure.
"The crew of Illinois has assumed our watch-a watch that will continue for the next 30 years always waiting for the call, always ready."
The 377ft-long submarine integrates new 87in diameter Virginia payload tubes containing six Tomahawk land attack missiles (TLAMS), which are designed to reduce expenses while increasing missile-firing payload possibilities.
The vessel can dive to more than 800ft and can operate at a speed of more than 25k while submerged. It is capable of operating for more than 30 years without being refuelled.
USS Illinois offers a flexible, multi-mission platform, which can be deployed in missions such as submarine and anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.
The Virginia-class submarines are being constructed under a teaming agreement between General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton and Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Virginia.
Image: USS Illinois (SSN 786) conducts sea trials. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat/Released.