GDEB lays keel for US Navy’s 24th Virginia-class submarine

General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) held a keel-laying ceremony for future USS Iowa (SSN 797), the 24th unit in the US Navy’s Virginia-class of nuclear-powered attack submarines.

Iowa is also the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. The last ship to bear the name was the lead ship of Iowa-class battleships which saw action in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the Gulf War.

Former USS Iowa (BB-61) is now a museum at the Port of Los Angeles.

The newest Iowa is being built under a teaming agreement between General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division wherein both companies build certain portions of each submarine and then alternate deliveries.

The submarine will be delivered from GDEB’s Groton, Connecticut, shipyard.

SSN 797 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.

Illustration: US Navy photo of sister boat USS Indiana (SSN 789) during trials

Photo: Photo: GDEB