Huntington Ingalls Industries welcomed the crew of the newest Virginia-class submarine, Minnesota (SSN 783), on March 14 as it moved aboard and enjoyed its first meal in the ship’s galley.
Sharing in the celebration were Ellen Roughead, the ship’s sponsor, and her husband, former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, who accompanied about 120 crew members to the ship.
The submarine is in the final stages of construction and testing at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division.
“I would go anywhere for this crew,” Ellen Roughead said. “They are terrific, and it’s fun to see all of the progress that has been made—and its enormous progress. It’s also my first time aboard.”
Minnesota, the last of the block II Virginia-class submarines, is more than 96 percent complete and is on track to delivery in late spring. Construction began in February 2008, and Minnesota was christened on Oct. 27, 2012. The submarine’s next significant construction milestone is initial sea trials, an aggressive series of operational tests that demonstrate the submarine’s capabilities.
“This is an exciting step forward in bringing life to Minnesota,” said NNS Vice President of Submarines and Fleet Support Jim Hughes. “While there is work yet to be done, we look forward to working even more closely with the crew as they continue to take ownership of this magnificent vessel.”
Naval Today Staff, March 15, 2013; Image: HII