US Navy receives 15th Virginia-class submarine Colorado (SSN 788)

General Dynamics has delivered the 15th Virginia-class submarine – future USS Colorado (SSN 788) – to the US Navy on September 21.

The submarine’s sponsor is Annie Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

According to the US Naval Sea Systems Command, Colorado is scheduled to commission in spring 2018, after beginning construction in 2012.

“Colorado’s delivery brings another Block III Virginia-class submarine to the fleet within budget. The submarine’s outstanding quality continues the Program’s tradition of delivering combat ready submarines to the fleet,” said Capt. Mike Stevens, Virginia-class submarine program manager. “The Colorado is the most capable Virginia-class submarine bringing advanced capabilities and technology to the Navy fleet.”

USS Colorado is the 15th Virginia-class submarine and the fifth of overall eight Block III submarines.

Block III submarines incorporate two tubes with twelve missiles instead of twelve separate missile tubes their sister ships had. This is a feature borrowed from the Ohio-class SSGNs.

Block III submarines from boat eleven onward will also feature a revised bow and a number of other changes.

The submarine will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned with the name Colorado. The first Colorado was a three-masted steam screw frigate that participated in the Union Navy’s Gulf Blockading Squadron that fought in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher. The second Colorado (ACR-7) was a Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser that escorted convoys of men and supplies to England during World War I. The third ship of her name, the lead ship of the Colorado class of battleships (BB-45), supported operations in the Pacific theater throughout World War II, surviving two kamikaze attacks and earning seven battle stars.