Preserving Peace,
Prepared for War

The U.S. Navy with assistance from the submarine’s sponsor Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, commissioned and brought to life the newest Virginia class submarine, USS Washington (SSN-787), during a ceremony on board Naval Station Norfolk, October 7.

USS Washington Brought to Life, Commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk
USS Washington Brought to Life, Commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk

Washington, named in honor of the 42nd state, is the 14th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine to join the U.S. Navy’s operational fleet. Elisabeth Mabus expressed how proud she was of the crew and their families.

«I know, though you are all eager to set out on the Washington, this like all naval service will requires you to be away from your families for long stretches, so thank you to the families», said Mabus. «In a very real sense you are plank owners of this ship as well».

Mabus 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.

Washington is the fourth of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are built with new Virginia Payload Tubes (VPT) 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/53.34 cm 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 m diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.

«We won’t know what challenges we will face as a nation in 10, 15 or 20 years, but we know because of the work being done now at Newport News and Electric Boat and by the Sailors who call this ship home, USS Washington will be prepared for whatever is to come», said Mabus.

USS Washington (SSN-787) commanding officer, Commander Gabriel Cavazos, highlighted the Washington’s capability to dominate the undersea domain and enable military success in any engagement.

«As I have told the crew on many occasions, they are the most important component of the ship. They give the ship its personality and warfighting spirit. Without the crew, Washington would not be the warfighting platform she was built to be; however, combine the two, and, together, we are the Blackfish», said Cavazos.

«Today USS Washington is alive and stands ready for mission. Thank you for being here to celebrate this momentous occasion with us», said Cavazos.

Washington is the fourth U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to be named honoring the State of Washington. The previous three ships were an armored cruiser, (ACR-11), which served from 1905 to 1916, the battleship (BB-47) a Colorado-class battleship launched in 1921 and sunk as a gunnery target in 1924 after her construction was halted, and the battleship (BB-56) credited with sinking more enemy tonnage than any other U.S. Navy battleship during World War II, serving from 1941 to 1947.

USS Washington (SSN-787) is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW); Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW); delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); and mine warfare. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.

The submarine is 377 feet/114.8 m long, has a 34-foot/10.36 m 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 Washington began September 2011; the submarine’s keel was authenticated during a ceremony on November 22, 2014; and the submarine was christened during a ceremony March 5, 2016.

The submarine's sponsor was Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
The submarine’s sponsor was Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus

 

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/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.3632 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 2 × 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)
USS Washington is the U.S. Navy’s 14th Virginia-Class attack submarine and the third commissioned Navy ship named for the State of Washington (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)
USS Washington is the U.S. Navy’s 14th Virginia-Class attack submarine and the third commissioned Navy ship named for the State of Washington (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)

 

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 10-07-17  Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

Pre-Commissioning Unit Washington (SSN-787) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk after completing sea trials. Washington is scheduled to be commissioned October 7, 2017 at Naval Station Norfolk

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