US Navy sets future USS Indiana (SSN 789) commissioning date

Future USS Indiana departs for its first set of sea trials with two aircraft carriers visible in the distance at Norfolk Naval Station. Photo: John Whalen/HII

The US Navy has announced that its newest fast-attack submarine, USS Indiana (SSN 789), is scheduled to be commissioned on September 29, 2018.

The ceremony will take place at the Navy Port at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Port Canaveral, Florida, Sept. 29, 2018.

The Huntington Ingalls Industries-built Block III submarine completed her initial sea trials, also known as alpha trials, in May this year.

Indiana will be the sixteenth Virginia-class submarine to join the fleet and the third US Navy ship, and first submarine, to be commissioned with a name honoring the state of Indiana. Diane Donald, wife of retired Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, is the ship’s sponsor.

Designed to operate in both coastal and deep-ocean environments, Indiana will present leadership with a broad and unique range of capabilities, including anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces (SOF) support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions.

Indiana is a part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce acquisition costs. Indiana features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost.

Indiana has special features to support SOF, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. Also, in Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms.

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