US Navy accepts delivery of 17th Virginia-class submarine ‘South Dakota’ (SSN 790)

Future USS South Dakota (SSN 790) underway during sea trials. Photo: GDEB

Groton-based shipbuilder General Dynamics Electric Boat has delivered the 17th Virginia-class submarine to the US Navy.

The future USS South Dakota (SSN 790) was delivered in a ceremony on Sept. 24.

The ship began construction in 2013 and is scheduled to commission in early 2019.

South Dakota is the seventh Virginia-class Block III submarine. Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow with enhanced payload capabilities, replacing 12 individual vertical launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles.

“South Dakota’s delivery is an important milestone,” said Capt. Chris Hanson, Virginia Class Program manager. “It marks the penultimate Block III delivery and will be a vital asset in the hands of the fleet.”

The submarine’s sponsor is Deanie Dempsey, wife of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.

The submarine will be the third US Navy ship to be commissioned with the name South Dakota. The first South Dakota (ACR 9) was a Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser. The ship served in the Pacific until the American entry into World War I, where it patrolled the South Atlantic operating from Brazil, and escorted troop transports destined for Europe.

During World War II, the second South Dakota (BB 57) was commissioned as the lead ship in its class. South Dakota served in the Pacific and Atlantic as a carrier escort and patrolled the North Atlantic with the Royal Navy.

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