Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that the Virginia-class submarine John Warner (SSN 785) was launched into the James River on Sept. 10 at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division, kicking off the final outfitting, testing and crew certification phase of construction prior to sea trials next year.
“The John Warner team has made tremendous progress over the last year,” said Jim Hughes, Newport News’ vice president of submarines and fleet support. “To see the submarine afloat in the James River just days after the christening is testament to the dedication and hard work of both the shipbuilders here at Newport News, as well those at our partner yard, Electric Boat.”
John Warner will be the sixth Virginia-class submarine to be delivered to the U.S. Navy by Newport News. Since construction began in 2010, nearly 4,000 shipbuilders have worked on Warner. The submarine, the first Virginia-class submarine to be named for a person, is on schedule to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2015.
Once floating, the approximately 7,800-ton submarine was moved with the help of three tugboats to the shipyard’s submarine pier, where final outfitting, testing and crew certification will take place over the next six months.
“Having the submarine in the water allows us to test the remaining systems and improves the fidelity of the training that we are doing in preparation for crew certification,” said Cmdr. Dan Caldwell, the submarine’s prospective commanding officer. “The ship’s launching is an important milestone that puts us one step closer to our ultimate goal of taking this ship out to sea.”
Press Release, September 18, 2014; Image: HII