The Virginia-class attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) was commissioned during a ceremony attended by more than 2,500 in its future homeport of Naval Station Norfolk, Aug. 1, 2015.
Displaying its motto “On a Mission to Defend Freedom,” the ship is the 12th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the US Navy’s operating fleet.
The ship’s namesake is John Warner, a five-term U.S. Senator from Virginia who also served as 61st Secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974. His wife Jeanne is the ship’s sponsor.
John Warner is the second of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are built with new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities. The first 10 Block I and Block II Virginia-class submarines have 12 individual 21-inch diameter vertical launch tubes able to fire Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS). The Block III submarines are built with two-larger 87-inch diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.
The submarine is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. It will operate for 33 years without ever refueling.
Construction on John Warner began April 29, 2009; the submarine’s keel was authenticated during a ceremony on March 16, 2013; and the submarine was christened during a ceremony Sept. 6, 2014.
Image: US Navy