US shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries has launched the 18th Virginia-class submarine Delaware (SSN 791) at its Newport News Shipbuilding division.
During a three-day process that began last Wednesday, the 7,800-ton submarine was moved out of a construction facility and into a floating dry dock using a transfer car system.
The floating dry dock was submerged, and the submarine was launched into the James River. Once in the water, the boat then was moved to the shipyard’s submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification.
Delaware is the 18th Virginia-class submarine built as part of the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat and the ninth to be delivered by Newport News. More than 10,000 shipbuilders from Newport News and Electric Boat have participated in Delaware’s construction since the work began in September 2013. The submarine was christened by Jill Biden, the former Second Lady of the United States and the ship’s sponsor, during a ceremony in October.
Delaware is the final Block III submarine and the seventh US Navy ship to bear the name of “The First State.”
“Successfully launching Delaware into the water the first time is a proud moment for the Virginia-class submarine team and the thousands of dedicated shipbuilders involved in constructing the ship,” said Dave Bolcar, Newport News’ vice president of submarine construction. “With this significant key event behind us, we look forward to completing construction and sea trials next year so this great warship can join the fleet and defend our nation.”
Following testing, Delaware is scheduled to be delivered to the US Navy next year.