US Navy to name latest Virginia-class submarine USS Massachusetts

8 November 2015 (Last Updated November 8th, 2015 18:30)

The US Navy's latest Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN 798) will be named USS Massachusetts, navy secretary Ray Mabus has announced.

The US Navy's latest Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN 798) will be named USS Massachusetts, navy secretary Ray Mabus has announced.

The future USS Massachusetts will be the fifth Navy vessel to serve under that name.

The first vessel was a wooden steamer built in Boston in 1845, and served the navy between 1849 and 1867, with the second vessel being an iron screw steamer serving from 1861 to 1865.

"Virginia-class attack submarines are designed to provide the Navy with enhanced stealth and sophisticated surveillance capabilities."

According to the US Navy, the third vessel to bear the name was a battleship commissioned in 1896. The final Massachusetts was a battleship commissioned in 1942, during the middle of World War II.

Virginia-class attack submarines are designed to provide the Navy with enhanced stealth and sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements to meet its multi-mission requirements.

With a displacement of 7,800t, hull length of 377ft, and a diameter of 34ft, Virginia-class submarines can cruise at speeds in excess of 25k, while diving to more than 800ft deep.

The submarines 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.

The vessels will be able to carry Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles, and unmanned underwater vehicles.

In August, the US Navy christened one of its Virginia-class attack submarines USS Idaho (SSN 799), in honour of the long-standing history its namesake state has had with the navy.

The future USS Idaho will be the fifth naval vessel to bear the name. The last Idaho was a New Mexico-class battleship launched in 1917.