Home Americas US Navy lays keel for 1st Block V Virginia-class sub Oklahoma (SSN...

US Navy lays keel for 1st Block V Virginia-class sub Oklahoma (SSN 802)

Photo: HII

The US Navy commemorated the ceremonial keel laying of the Virginia-class submarine, future USS Oklahoma (SSN 802), at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division on August 2.

As part of the Navy’s tradition, Ms. Mary Slavonic, the submarine’s sponsor, witnessed an NNS welder etch her initials onto a special steel plate that will remain affixed to the submarine throughout its life.

The upcoming USS Oklahoma marks the 29th addition to the Virginia-class submarine fleet, representing the inaugural Block V submarine. Notably, it is the second US Navy vessel, and the first submarine, to be named after the state of Oklahoma.

Once completed, SSN 802 will be equipped with a guided-missile capability, taking the place of the Navy’s retiring Los Angeles-class submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), which was decommissioned in May of last year.

“Today represents a culmination of hard work and skill performed by a talented shipbuilding workforce and a strong foundation for future Sailors who will patrol the deep seas aboard Oklahoma in service of our nation,” said Capt. Mike Hollenbach, Virginia Class Program Manager.

The Virginia-class submarines are designed to carry out a wide range of missions in both littoral and deep waters, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, support for special operations forces, intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance, irregular warfare, and mine warfare.

The Block V submarines are larger than previous versions, with their length increased from 377 feet to 460 feet and displacement from 7,800 tons to 10,200 tons. They are the second-largest US submarines after the Ohio-class, with an added section increasing missile launch tubes from twelve to forty, tripling the capacity for short-range targets.

In June of this year, continuing its efforts to gradually replace the aging Los Angeles-class submarines, the US Navy christened one of its latest Virginia-class fast-attack Block IV submarines, the future USS Iowa (SSN 797).