Home Americas US Navy christens latest Virginia-class attack submarine Massachusetts (SSN 798)

US Navy christens latest Virginia-class attack submarine Massachusetts (SSN 798)

USS Massachusetts (SSN 798) christening
Photo: HII

At Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Virginia, the US Navy christened its latest Virginia-class submarine, the USS Massachusetts (SSN 798), on May 6.

Massachusetts (SSN 798) is a fast-attack submarine with a nuclear-powered propulsion system, extended range, and endurance.

The Virginia-class submarines have been specifically engineered to undertake a wide range of missions, both in open-ocean and littoral environments. Originally developed as a more cost-effective option compared to the Cold War-era Seawolf-class attack submarines, they now serve as replacements for the aging Los Angeles-class submarines.

To date, 29 Los Angeles-class submarines have been decommissioned as the Virginia-class takes over their duties.

“Shipbuilding is a noble calling, and you can see our pride in the craftsmanship before you,” said NNS President Jennifer Boykin. “When Massachusetts joins the fleet, she will be the latest in innovation and power, forging ahead in defense of our freedom, just like Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride. As SSN 798 supports the Navy’s critical missions around the world, she will carry with her the patriotism of her shipbuilders.”

The Virginia-class submarines are powered by a single nuclear reactor and feature one shaft. With a length of 377 feet (114.8 meters), they have a beam of 34 feet (10.36 meters). When submerged, they displace approximately 7,800 tons (7,925 metric tons).

These submarines can achieve speeds of 25+ knots (28+ miles per hour, 46.3+ kph). Armament includes Tomahawk missiles, twelve VLS tubes (for SSNs 774-783), two Virginia Payload Tubes (for SSNs 784 and beyond), and four additional payload tubes (for SSNs 803 and beyond). Additionally, they are equipped with Mk 48 ADCAP torpedoes and four torpedo tubes.

USS Massachusetts (SSN 798) is the ninth U.S. Navy vessel named after the state. The previous USS Massachusetts vessels include a steamer used in the Mexican-American War and a South Dakota-class battleship commissioned in 1942.