Illinois Commissioning

The U.S. Navy with assistance from the First Lady Michelle Obama commissioned and brought to life the newest Virginia class submarine, USS Illinois (SSN-786), during a ceremony attended by more than 2,500 at Naval Submarine Base, New London on October 29, 2016.

Sailors assigned to the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN-786) salute after bringing the ship to life during a rehearsal for the submarine's upcoming commissioning ceremony scheduled for October 29. Illinois is the U.S. Navy's 13th Virginia-Class attack submarine and the fourth U.S. Navy ship named for the state of Illinois (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Darryl I. Wood)
Sailors assigned to the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN-786) salute after bringing the ship to life during a rehearsal for the submarine’s upcoming commissioning ceremony scheduled for October 29. Illinois is the U.S. Navy’s 13th Virginia-Class attack submarine and the fourth U.S. Navy ship named for the state of Illinois (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Darryl I. Wood)

Illinois, named in honor of the 21st state, is the 13th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine to join the Navy’s operational fleet.

The first lady, who is the ships sponsor, expressed how proud she was of the crew and their families. «Thank you for giving me the incredible privilege of being associated with you and with your families and with the Illinois for the rest of my life. I will continue to keep you in my prayers every single day and keep you in my thoughts, and know that you have a sponsor that cares deeply». Obama gave the order to «man our ship and bring her to life» before the crew of about 130 men ran across the brow, onto the vessel.

«There are many out there who have been waiting a long time to address you-not as a PCU, but as a United States Ship-the USS Illinois-a warship», said key note speaker, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson.

USS Illinois (SSN-786) is the third of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are built with new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities. The first 10 Block I and Block II Virginia-class submarines have 12 individual 21-inch/0.53-meter diameter vertical launch tubes able to fire Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS). The Block III submarines are built with two-larger 87-inch/2.2-meter diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.

USS Illinois Commanding Officer, Commander Jessie Porter, highlighted the Illinois’ capability to dominate the undersea domain and enable military success in any engagement. «Over the coming years, this submarine -and others like her-will continue the impressive legacy that our submarine forbearers have established in making our country more secure», said Porter. «The Illinois has joined the fleet», said Porter. «The crew of Illinois has assumed our watch-a watch that will continue for the next 30 years-always waiting for the call, always ready».

During the ceremony, Obama had the opportunity to announce Illinois’ Sailor of the Year, Petty Officer First Class Ryan Mock.

The first USS Illinois (BB-7) was a battleship commissioned in 1901 and was part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet that circumnavigated the world in 1907, introducing America as a global power.

USS Illinois (SSN-786) is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.

The submarine is 377 feet/114.8 m long, has a 34-foot/10.36-meter beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet/244 m and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots/28 mph/46.3 km/h submerged. It will operate for over 30 years without ever refueling. Construction on Illinois began March 2011; the submarine’s keel was authenticated during a ceremony on June 2, 2014; and the submarine was christened during a ceremony October 10, 2015.

USS Illinois Joins U.S. Navy’s Fleet

 

General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G* nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.06 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.36 m
Displacement Approximately 7,835 tons/7,961 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 12 individual VLS (Vertical Launch System) tubes or 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)

* – Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories

The future USS Illinois (SSN-786) conducts sea trials (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat/Released)
The future USS Illinois (SSN-786) conducts sea trials (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat/Released)

 

Nuclear Submarine Lineup

 

Block I

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-774 Virginia EB 8-16-03 10-23-04 Portsmouth, New Hampshire
SSN-775 Texas NNS 7-31-05 9-9-06 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-776 Hawaii EB 6-19-06 5-5-07 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-777 North Carolina NNS 4-21-07 5-3-08 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

EB – Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut

NNS – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia

SSN – Attack Submarine, Nuclear-powered

The emblem of the USS Illinois (SSN-786)
The emblem of the USS Illinois (SSN-786)

 

Block II

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-778 New Hampshire EB 6-21-08 10-25-08 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-779 New Mexico NNS 12-13-08 11-21-09 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-780 Missouri EB 12-5-09 7-31-10 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-781 California NNS 11-6-10 10-29-11 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-782 Mississippi EB 12-3-11 6-2-12 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-783 Minnesota NNS 10-27-12 9-7-13 Norfolk, Virginia
First lady Michelle Obama christens submarine named after her home state of Illinois
First lady Michelle Obama christens submarine named after her home state of Illinois

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16
SSN-788 Colorado EB Under Construction
SSN-789 Indiana NNS Under Construction
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction
Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN-786) raise the flags during the rehearsal for the upcoming commissioning ceremony of USS Illinois, the U.S. Navy’s newest submarine on October 29 (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Darryl I. Wood/Released)
Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN-786) raise the flags during the rehearsal for the upcoming commissioning ceremony of USS Illinois, the U.S. Navy’s newest submarine on October 29 (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Darryl I. Wood/Released)

Leave a Reply