The US Navy has christened the 16th nuclear-powered fast attack Virginia-class submarine, Indiana (SSN 789), at Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding.

Indiana has been christened by the ship’s sponsor Diane Donald, the wife of US Navy retired admiral and Naval Nuclear Propulsion former director Kirkland Donald.

Diane Donald said: “While the size of the submarine alone is stunning, the complexity inside sets it apart from any other machine ever built.”

A team of approximately 4,000 shipbuilders from Newport News Shipbuilding participated in the construction the vessel, in close collaboration with General Dynamics Electric Boat.

The submarine's construction began in September 2012 and is now almost 90% complete.

"Indiana can operate at a depth of more than 800ft, and is able to run for a period of 33 years without being refuelled."

Newport News Shipbuilding laid the keel for Indiana in May 2015, with the vessel reaching the 'pressure hull complete' stage in August 2016. It is now slated for delivery to the US Navy by the end of the year.

Indiana can operate at a depth of more than 800ft and cruise at maximum speeds of 25k, and is able to run for a period of 33 years without being refuelled.

The 377ft-long Virginia-class vessels have been designed to replace the US Navy’s Los Angeles-class submarines and can support multiple mission packages.

The submarines will incorporate several new technologies to increase firepower, manoeuvrability stealth, and overall warfighting capabilities, and will be capable of conducting a wide range of open-ocean and littoral missions. 

Image: Christens ceremony of the US Navy’s 16th Virginia-class submarine, Indiana (SSN 789) at Newport News Shipbuilding. Photo: courtesy of Matt Hildreth / HII.