US Navy to commission Virginia-class submarine USS Illinois

The U.S. Navy is set to christen its thirteenth Virginia-class submarine USS Illinois on October 29.

The christening ceremony will take in Groton, Connecticut, where the boat was built by General Dynamics Electric Boat.

What makes USS Illinois stand out is that it is a Block III Virginia ship incorporating two tubes with twelve missiles instead of twelve separate missile tubes – a feature borrowed from the Ohio-class SSGNs. Block III submarines from boat eleven onward also feature a revised bow and a number of other changes.

Construction on USS Illinois started in June 2014 with U.S. first lady Michelle Obama as the ship’s sponsor. The first lady christened the boat on October 10, 2015.

Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. First Lady Michelle Obama will serve as the ship’s sponsor and give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

“USS Illinois is one of the most technologically advanced platforms in the world,” said the Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy. “This submarine represents not only the Navy’s lasting connection to the state of Illinois but also the American innovation and manufacturing skill that have given us such a powerful advantage, making us the most powerful expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known.”