US shipbuilder HII revealed it launched the US Navy’s newest Virginia-class submarine into the James River at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division earlier this month.
New Jersey (SSN 796) is the navy’s 23rd submarine and was launched following a christening ceremony in November last year.
The 7,800-ton submarine is the third navy vessel named in recognition of the state and is the fifth Block IV Virginia-class submarine to be built.
New Jersey had been in a floating dry dock since being transferred from a construction facility in March, and was submerged and moved by tugboats to the shipyard’s submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification in mid-April.
“Achieving this construction milestone is a very rewarding event to our shipbuilding team,” said Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction. “Our shipbuilders and suppliers have dedicated years of hard work to this critical capability that will maintain our customer’s undersea superiority. We now look forward to executing our waterborne test program, and working toward sea trials so we can deliver to the navy.”
Through the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat, approximately 10,000 shipbuilders, as well as suppliers from 50 states, have participated in New Jersey’s construction since the work began in 2016. New Jersey is approximately 92% complete.
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. The new boats incorporate dozens of new technologies and innovations that increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth to significantly enhance their warfighting capabilities.
Current boats in the class can carry 12 Tomahawk missiles in addition to Mk 48 torpedoes. Block V boats that will be fitted with the Virginia Payload Module, starting with the second Block V ship, SSN 803, and will be capable of carrying up to 40 Tomahawks, including the latest Block V variant of the missile.