The US Navy’s newest Virginia-class attack submarine Washington (SSN 787) is set to be christened this weekend at Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII).
Washington will be the 14th Virginia-class vessel and the seventh to be delivered by HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.
Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, will christen the vessel.
The construction of the vessel commenced in November 2014 and last year, the company had attached the hull sections of the submarine containing structurally integrated enclosures, into a single, watertight unit.
The 377ft-long submarine is capable of diving to more than 800ft and can cruise at maximum speeds of 25k when submerged. It can also operate for 33 years without being refuelled.
Modularly developed, the submarine features separate deck structures and the control suite is equipped with computer touch screens.
The submarine is equipped with artillery comprising of 12 vertical missile launch tubes and four 533mm torpedo tubes. The vertical launching system has the capacity to launch 16 Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) in a single salvo.
The Virginia-class submarines are capable of executing anti-submarine, anti-surface ship, strike, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, in addition to special operation forces and irregular and mine warfare.
Last year, NNS delivered the US Navy’s 12th Virginia-class submarine, pre-commissioning unit (PCU) John Warner (SSN 785).
Image: An artistic rendition of the US Navy’s SSN 787 submarine. Photo: courtesy of US DOD graphic by Ron Stern.