Delaware Joins Fleet

The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Delaware (SSN-791), the 18th Virginia-class attack submarine, April 4.

The Virginia-class attack submarine USS Delaware (SSN-791) transits the Atlantic Ocean after departing Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding division during sea trials in August 2019 (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of HII by Ashley Cowan/Released)

Although the traditional public commissioning ceremony was canceled for public health safety and due to restrictions on large public gatherings, the U.S. Navy commissioned USS Delaware (SSN-791) administratively and transitioned the ship to normal operations. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the ship’s sponsor, crew and commissioning committee.

«This Virginia-class fast-attack submarine will continue the proud naval legacy of the state of Delaware and the ships that have borne her name», said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. «I am confident that the crew of this cutting edge platform will carry on this tradition, confronting the many challenges of today’s complex world with the professionalism and agility the American people depend on from the warriors of the silent service».

Vice Admiral Daryl Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, said he is pleased to welcome the ship to the U.S. submarine fleet and contribute to its unmatched undersea warfighting superiority.

«The U.S. Navy values the support of all those who contributed to today’s momentous milestone and will look for a future opportunity to commemorate this special event», Caudle said. «The sailors of USS Delaware hail from every corner of the nation and from every walk of life. This crew, and the crews who follow, will rise to every challenge with unmatched bravery and perseverance to ensure the U.S. Submarine Force remains the best in the world».

The ship’s sponsor, Doctor Jill Biden, offered congratulations to everyone who played a role in delivering USS Delaware (SSN-791) to service.

«I know this submarine and her crew of courageous sailors will carry the steadfast strength of my home state wherever they go», she said. «The sailors who fill this ship are the very best of the Navy, and as you embark on your many journeys, please know that you and those whom you love are in my thoughts».

Delaware’s commanding officer, Commander Matthew Horton, said today marks the culmination of six years of hard work by the men and women who constructed the submarine and are preparing her to become a warship. He said he is especially thankful to the crew and their families, Doctor Biden, the USS Delaware (SSN-791) Commissioning Committee and the U.S. Navy League of Hampton Roads for all their hard work and support.

«As we do our part to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the future, today marks a milestone for the sailors who serve aboard USS Delaware (SSN-791). Whether they have been here for her initial manning three years ago, or have just reported, they all are strong, capable submariners ready to sail the nation’s newest warship into harm’s way», Horton said. «I am equally proud of the families who have stood by through the long hours of shift work, testing, and sea trials and supported our mission with patriotism and devotion».

This is the first time in nearly 100 years the name «Delaware» has been used for a U.S. Navy vessel. It is the seventh U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to bear the name of the state of Delaware. Delaware 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 33 feet/10.0584 m, 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. Delaware’s keel was laid April 30, 2016, and was christened during a ceremony October 20, 2018. It is the final Block III Virginia-class submarine, before the next wave of Block IV deliveries.

 

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 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

 

Nuclear Submarine Lineup

 

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 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16 10-07-17 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16 03-17-18 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17 09-29-18 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-790 South Dakota EB 10-14-17 02-02-19 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-791 Delaware NNS 10-20-18 04-04-20 Norfolk, Virginia

 

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