The Navy will christen its newest attack submarine Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 27, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Newport News, Va.
Adm. Kirk Donald, Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Ellen Roughead, wife of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and a Minnesota native, will serve as ship’s sponsor and break a champagne bottle against a plate welded to the hull, and officially christen the ship ‘Minnesota.’
Minnesota, the 10th ship of the Virginia class is named in honor of the state’s citizens and their continued support to our nation’s military. Minnesota has a long tradition of honoring its veterans of wars past and present. The state is proud to be home to 46 Medal of Honor recipients that span from the Civil War to the Vietnam War.
“There is a special relationship between a state and its namesake ship,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “Naming this submarine Minnesota not only salutes the proud history of military support and contributions made by the people of Minnesota, but will also serve as a testament to the U.S. Navy’s enduring bond with the great state of Minnesota for decades to come.”
This will be the third ship to bear the state name. The first USS Minnesota, a sailing steam frigate, was commissioned in 1857 and served during the Civil War, remaining in service until her decommissioning in 1898. The second Minnesota was commissioned in 1907. On Dec. 16, 1907 she departed Hampton Roads as one of the 16 battleships of the Great White Fleet sent by then-President Theodore Roosevelt on a voyage around the world. She continued her service through World War I, and was decommissioned in 1921.
Minnesota will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. She will have improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable her to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements.
Designated SSN 783, Minnesota is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Capable of operating in both the world’s shallow littoral regions and deep waters, Minnesota will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
The 7,800-ton Minnesota is built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries. A crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel will operate the 377-foot long, 34-foot beam vessel, which will be able to dive to depths of greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. Minnesota is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship – reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.
Naval Today Staff,October 25, 2012; Image: US Navy