Home Americas HII launches 21st Virginia-class submarine for US Navy

HII launches 21st Virginia-class submarine for US Navy

USS Montana (SSN 794)
Virginia-class submarine Montana (SSN 794) after its launch into the James River. Photo: HII

Huntington Ingalls Industries has launched the US Navy’s Virginia-class submarine Montana (SSN 794) into the James River at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.

The 7,800-ton submarine, which had been in a floating dry dock since being transferred from a construction facility in October, was submerged and moved by tugboats to the shipyard’s submarine pier, for final outfitting, testing and crew certification.

Montana is the third of 10 Virginia-class Block IV submarines that are being delivered by General Dynamics Electric Boat under a 2014 contract worth over $17 billion. HII is a subcontractor on the program.

The main advantage of the Block IV submarines is that they will require three major maintenance periods instead of their predecessors’ four. This will allow them to put in an extra deployment during their service life.

“For our shipbuilders, launching Montana signifies five years of hard work, commitment and dedicated service,” said Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction. “We look forward to executing our waterborne test program, and working toward sea trials and delivering the submarine to the Navy later this year.”

Through the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat approximately 10,000 shipbuilders, as well as suppliers from all 50 states, have participated in Montana’s construction since the work began in 2015. Montana is approximately 92% complete and scheduled to be delivered to the US Navy in late 2021.

Virginia-class submarines, a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, are built for a broad spectrum of open ocean and littoral missions to replace the Navy’s Los Angeles-class submarines as they are retired. Virginia-class submarines incorporate dozens of new technologies and innovations that increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth and significantly enhance their warfighting capabilities. These submarines are capable of supporting multiple mission areas and can operate at submerged speeds of more than 25 knots for months at a time.