The US Navy is set to commission its newest Virginia-class submarine, John Warner (SSN 785), strengthening country's underwater capabilities.
The commissioning of the 12th Virginia-class submarine will take place at Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia, tomorrow.
Built as part of a teaming arrangement between HII's Newport News Shipbuilding division and General Dynamics Electric Boat, John Warner features sophisticated technology to improve firepower, manoeuvrability and stealth.
US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: "The commissioning of USS John Warner marks the beginning of what is expected to be 33 years of distinguished service for this great submarine, a fitting tribute to a man who served his nation for so long as a sailor, a Marine, a US Senator and, as one of my most esteemed predecessors as secretary of the navy."
John Warner is the first Virginia-class submarine to be named after a person, Senator John W. Warner, while the remaining submarines have been named after US states.
With a displacement of 7,800t, hull length of 377ft and a diameter of 34ft, the Virginia-class submarines can cruise at a maximum speed of more than 25k, and dive more than 800ft deep.
They can be armed with Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles, and be used for anti-submarine, surface-ship warfare, and special operations support.
The submarines of the class will also support a range of warfare missions including anti-submarine, anti-surface ship, strike, irregular and mines, in addition to special operation forces support, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Image: The US Navy's 12th Virginia-class submarine John Warner (SSN 785). Photo: courtesy of Chris Oxley / HII.