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Navy names new attack submarine after Washington state

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next five Virginia-class attack submarines will be named the USS Illinois, the USS Washington, 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.

“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.”

“I am pleased that the Navy has announced that one of their newest submarines will recognize Washington state’s great contributions to the Navy’s submarine history and its role as the third largest fleet concentration in the United States,” said U.S. Senator Patty Murray. “As home to Naval Base Kitsap, our state has been a center for the construction, operation, repair and maintenance of the U.S. submarine fleet for nearly 40 years. This is a well deserved honor.”

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 USS Indiana, which was decommissioned in October 1963.

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.

“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. Each is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship.

 

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