Home Americas US Navy commissions first Block IV Virginia-class submarine Vermont

US Navy commissions first Block IV Virginia-class submarine Vermont

USS Vermont
Official crest of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Vermont (SSN 792). Photo: US Navy

Virginia-class submarine USS Vermont (SSN 792) became the second submarine to be commissioned without a formal ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it entered service on April 18.

In addition to being the 19th nuclear-powered attack submarine in its class, Vermont is the first Block IV unit, and will require three major maintenance period instead of its predecessors’ four, putting in an extra deployment during its service life.

While a traditional public commissioning ceremony was canceled due to public health restrictions on large public gatherings, the navy said it is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the ship’s sponsor, crew and commissioning committee.

USS Delaware (SSN 991) suffered the same fate, as it transitioned into active service earlier this month, without a formal ceremony. What is curious about the April 4 commissioning is the fact that Delaware is possibly the first US Navy submarine to enter service while submerged.

USS Vermont (SSN 792)

USS Vermont is the third US Navy vessel to bear the name of the Green Mountain State. The first Vermont was one of nine 74-gun warships authorized by Congress in 1816. The second Vermont, Battleship No. 20, was commissioned in 1907 and first deployed in December that year as part of the “Great White Fleet.” She was decommissioned June 30, 1920.

Vermont is the first the first of 10 Virginia-class Block IV submarines that are being delivered by General Dynamics Electric Boat under a 2014 contract worth over $17 billion.

Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, said Vermont’s entry to service marks a new phase of American undersea warfare dominance for a global submarine force that is ready to deter, defend and defeat threats to our nation, allies, and rules-based international order.

“This warship carries on a proud Vermont legacy in naval warfare and unyielding determination stretching back to the birth of our nation,” Caudle said.

“To her crew, congratulations on completing the arduous readiness training to enter sea trials and prepare this ship for battle. I am proud to serve with each of you! Stand ready to defend our nation wherever we are threatened – honoring your motto – FREEDOM AND UNITY.”

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. The boat’s construction began in May 2014.