HII lays keel for US Navy’s 23rd Virginia-class submarine

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding held a keel authentication ceremony for the US Navy’s Virginia-class attack submarine New Jersey (SSN 796) on March 25.

New Jersey is the 23rd Virginia-class fast attack submarine. Construction began in March 2016 and is about 42 percent complete. The boat is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2021.

Susan DiMarco, a retired dentist, community volunteer and wife of former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, is the ship’s sponsor. She chalked her initials onto a metal plate.

The submarine is named after the city of New Jersey where USS Holland, the navy’s first submarine, was designed and constructed in October 1900.

SSN 796 belongs to the Block IV submarines which incorporate improvements that allow them to spend less time undergoing maintenance. They are scheduled to undergo three major maintenance overhauls during their lifetime, compared to their predecessors’ four, enabling them to perform an additional deployment. The submarines are built under a $17.8 billion contract awarded in April 2014 with General Dynamic Electric Boat as prime contractor.

Photo: Photo: Ashley Cowan/HII