The keel of the 15th Virginia-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine named for Colorado was laid at the Rhode Island manufacturing plant for General Dynamics Electric Boat Division on Saturday, March 7, at 1:30 pm. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams represented the state at the keel laying ceremony.
The construction milestone for SSN-788 was being marked at the North Kingstown shipyard. Annie Mabus, daughter of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, is the ship’s sponsor. She authenticated the keel by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. The initials were welded and the plate was permanently affixed to the ship.
By the way, the submarine doesn’t have a traditional keel that runs the length of the ship. USS Colorado is built in modules. Construction on the nuclear-powered fast attack submarine began in 2012. Colorado is slated to be delivered in 2017. When complete, the USS Colorado (SSN-788) will be a high-tech attack submarine. It is the third Navy ship to bear the name Colorado. The first was an armored cruiser commissioned in 1905. The second USS Colorado was a battleship that took part in the invasion of Tarawa during World War II.
USS Colorado is so-called Block III submarine. The Third Block of the Virginia-class submarine began construction in 2009. Block III submarines feature a revised bow with a Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar array, as well as technology from Ohio-class SSGNs (two Virginia Payload Tubes each containing 6 missiles). The horseshoe-shaped LAB sonar array replaces the spherical main sonar array, which has been used on all U.S. Navy SSNs since 1960. The LAB sonar array is water-backed – as opposed to earlier sonar arrays, which were air-backed – and consists of a passive array and a medium-frequency active array. Compared to earlier Virginia-class attack submarines about 40% of the bow has been redesigned.
|Builder||General Dynamics Electric Boat|
|Propulsion||One S9G nuclear reactor, one shaft|
|Length||377 feet/114.8 m|
|Beam||33 feet/10.0584 m|
|Hull Diameter||34 feet/10.5156 m|
|Displacement||Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged|
|Speed||25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h|
|Diving Depth||800+ feet/244+ m|
|Crew||132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted|
|Armament: Tomahawk missiles||two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles|
|Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes||4 torpedo tubes|
|Weapons||MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)|