USS Minnesota Christened

USS Minnesota Christened

The Navy christened its newest submarine, the future USS Minnesota (SSN 783), Oct. 27, at Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News in Newport News, Va.

Minnesota’s sponsor, Ellen Roughead, broke a ceremonial bottle of sparkling wine against the submarine’s hull, officially naming the ship. Roughead, the wife of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. (Ret.) Gary Roughead, has been a tireless supporter of military families and continuing education initiatives for Navy spouses.

“We were honored to have Mrs. Roughead participate in such an important milestone for PCU (pre-commissioning unit) Minnesota,” said Capt. David Goggins, Virginia class program manager. “The Virginia class is an outstanding platform and Minnesota builds on the stellar reputation of quality and success that the class is known for.”

Minnesota is the 10th ship of the Virginia class and the last under the second, or block II, contract. The submarine is on track to deliver to the Navy in late spring 2013, ahead of its April 2014 contract delivery date. The ship will be commissioned shortly thereafter.

“When Minnesota delivers next year, every block II boat will have delivered early to its contract delivery date,” said Rear Adm. Dave Johnson, program executive officer for submarines. “Added together, the shipbuilders delivered these submarines 42 months early and Minnesota is well on track to push that number into the 50s.”

Minnesota’s christening marks the final major milestone for the Virginia class in 2012. In May, the Navy took delivery of USS Mississippi (SSN 782) nearly a year early to its contract delivery date. Mississippi was commissioned on June 2. The Navy also began construction on PCU Colorado (SSN 788) and PCU Indiana (SSN 789) on March 2 and Sept. 2 respectively. Additionally, the Navy released the request for proposals for the block IV construction contract on Sept. 5.

Virginia class submarines are designed to dominate the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

Naval Today Staff,October 30, 2012; Image: US Navy