Washington state is getting its own submarine, sort of.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today that the next five Virginia-class attack submarines will be named the USS Washington, USS Illinois, the USS Colorado, the USS Indiana, and the USS South Dakota.
Mabus named the Virginia-class submarines to honor the great contributions and support these states have given the military through the years.
The selection of Washington, designated SSN 787, is the third ship to bear the state name and the state’s Puget Sound area, where the Navy’s third-largest fleet concentration is located.
“Each of these five states serves as home to military bases that support our national defense and provides men and women who volunteer to serve their country,” Mabus said. “I look forward to these submarines joining the fleet and representing these great states around the world.”
None of the five states has had a ship named for it for more than 49 years. The most recent to serve was the battleship the USS Indiana, which was decommissioned in October 1963.
The selection of Illinois, designated SSN 786, is the second ship to bear the state name and is home to the Navy’s one and only Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes where every enlisted sailor begins his or her service.
The selection of Colorado, designated SSN 788, is the third ship to bear the state name. The second ship was a battleship that stood as the lead ship of her class and took part in the Tarawa invasion.
The selection of Indiana, designated SSN 789, is the third ship to bear the state name and is the home to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, in Crane, Ind., the Navy’s premier engineering, acquisition and sustainment organization which supports our maritime warriors.
The selection of South Dakota, designated SSN 790, is the third ship to bear the state name. The second ship was a battleship that also stood as the lead ship of her class and fought extensively in the Pacific theater during World War II.
“Prior ships carrying the names of these five states stood as defenders of freedom on the water. Now these states will represent the latest and greatest technology ever assembled to submerge below the surface and project power forward,” Mabus said.
These next-generation attack submarines will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. They will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.
These submarines will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping. They are also designed for special forces delivery and support.
Each Virginia-class submarine is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time. The submarines will be built in partnership with General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corp. SSN 786, 788 and 790 will be built by Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. SSN 787 and 789 will be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va.
For more information about the Virginia-class attack submarine, click here.