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Newport News Shipbuilding Lays Keel for Block III Virginia-Class Submarine Washington (SSN 787)
 
With weld shields in place and sparks flying, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, hosted a keel-laying ceremony Saturday for the future USS Washington (SSN 787), a Virginia-class submarine named for the Evergreen State.
With weld shields in place and sparks flying, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, hosted a keel-laying ceremony Saturday for the future USS Washington (SSN 787), a Virginia-class submarine named for the Evergreen State.
 
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Naval Industry News - USA
 
 
 
Newport News Shipbuilding Lays Keel for Block III Virginia-Class Submarine Washington (SSN 787)
 
With weld shields in place and sparks flying, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, hosted a keel-laying ceremony Saturday for the future USS Washington (SSN 787), a Virginia-class submarine named for the Evergreen State.

The submarine’s sponsor is Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. Acting as the keel authenticator, during the ceremony she chalked her initials onto a metal plate. Her initials were then welded onto the plate, which will be permanently affixed to the submarine as a symbol of her relationship with the ship, its shipbuilders and crew.
     
With weld shields in place and sparks flying, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, hosted a keel-laying ceremony Saturday for the future USS Washington (SSN 787), a Virginia-class submarine named for the Evergreen State.
The keel-laying ceremony for the submarine Washington (SSN 787) took place Saturday in front of one of the ship’s units. The submarine is roughly 70 percent complete and is on track to complete next summer. Photo by Dar Mook/HII
     
“I look forward to watching this boat come together from steel and skill,” Elisabeth said. “I look forward to christening it, I look forward to commissioning it, but most of all, I look forward to meeting the men and women who will make up the crew.”

Other ceremony participants included Secretary Mabus, who gave the keynote speech; Vice Adm. William Hilarides, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command; Vice Adm. Michael J. Connor, commander, Submarine Forces; Matt Mulherin, president, Newport News Shipbuilding; and Jeffrey Geiger, president, General Dynamics Electric Boat.

“The vessel whose keel we lay today will be the most advanced ship in the world, its technology unmatched,” Secretary Mabus said. In his principal address, he celebrated the shipbuilders and supplier base dedicated to constructing the future USS Washington. “Their dedication, their expertise, their incredibly hard work will fashion from steel and wire and electronics the premier platform that will be the Washington,” he said. “We build the best warships in the world.”
     
The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of PCU North Dakota (SSN 784), the 11th ship of the Virginia Class, on Aug. 29, two days prior to its contract delivery date. North Dakota is the first of eight Virginia Class Block III ships. Approximately 20 percent of North Dakota was redesigned as part of the Virginia Cost Reduction work done to lower acquisition cost and increase operational flexibility. The changes include a ship's bow redesign, replacing 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk Cruise Missiles.
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 18, 2014) The PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) during bravo sea trials. The crew performed exceptionally well on both alpha and bravo sea trials. The submarine North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the first U.S. Navy combatants designed for the post-Cold War era. (U.S. Navy Photo/Released)
     
Geiger said the Virginia-class program is fortunate to be in a period of increased submarine production. “With today’s event, over the past five and a half months we have celebrated two keel layings, a christening and a commissioning across four Virginia-class ships,” he said. “It is with great satisfaction that we look out over a horizon of continued robust activity generated by the completion of the remaining block three submarines, and the recent award of 10 additional ships in the Block IV contract.”

Washington will be the 14th Virginia-class submarine and the seventh to be delivered by Newport News. Construction began in September 2011, marking the beginning of the two-submarines-per-year build plan between Newport News and Electric Boat. The submarine is roughly 70 percent complete and is on track to complete next summer.

Virginia-class submarines are 7,800 tons and 377 feet in length, have a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. They are built with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

Virginia-class submarines are built to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting Anti-Submarine; Anti-Surface Ship; Strike; Special Operation Forces; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; Irregular Warfare; and Mine Warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower, and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six Maritime Strategy Core Capabilities - Sea Control, Power Projection, Forward Presence, Maritime Security, and Deterrence.