Christening of Montana

In its first ceremony celebrating the U.S. Navy’s newest fast-attack submarine in front of a virtual audience, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) christened pre-commissioning unit Montana (SSN-794) on September 12, 2020 at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.

USS Montana (SSN-794)
With one solid swing, the ship’s sponsor, former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell christened the Virginia-class submarine USS Montana (SSN-794) as (from left) the ship’s commanding officer Captain Michael Delaney and Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin look on (Photo by Matt Hildreth/HII)

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on the size of public gatherings, the christening ceremony was hosted virtually at Newport News’ Module Outfitting Facility.

«Yes, we are disappointed we couldn’t host the normal pomp and circumstance today, and that our shipbuilders and their families couldn’t be here in person to witness history. But as shipbuilders, we know the show must go on», said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding. «Our work doesn’t stop for a pandemic, just as the Navy’s mission never ends. It is our honor, our duty and our calling to keep the wheels of shipbuilding turning, and in doing so, bring Montana one step closer to her ultimate mission of defending the United States of America».

Boykin also applauded the work and craftsmanship of more than 10,000 shipbuilders from Newport News and its partner, General Dynamics Electric Boat who continue to assemble Montana. She also acknowledged the support of the supplier base – more than 5,000 companies in all 50 states – that provided parts and materials critical to Montana’s construction.

Former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, the ship’s sponsor, smashed a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to mark the christening of the submarine that honors the state of Montana.

«I am grateful to the shipbuilders and dedicated Navy officers and crew for building and readying Montana for service to our nation and the world», Jewell said. «It is a privilege to bless and christen this incredible submarine, and to join the current and future submariners as their shipmates for life».

The virtual event included pre-taped segments where maid of honor Mariah Gladstone, of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, recited a Native American blessing and members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, of Flathead Indian Reservation, performed a traditional Native American honor song. Representative Robert C. Scott, of Virginia; members of the Montana congressional delegation including Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, as well as Representative Greg Gianforte; and General Dynamics Electric Boat President Kevin Graney also offered pre-recorded remarks celebrating the ship’s milestone.

Vice Admiral Richard P. Snyder, the U.S. Navy’s inspector general, also was in attendance.

In his keynote address, Acting Undersecretary of the Navy Gregory J. Slavonic said: «Montana will enhance our fleet with next generation stealth, surveillance and special warfare capabilities. This powerful platform is proof of an ironclad relationship between the U.S. Navy and industrial partners who form the backbone of our maritime strength. While this submarine has the capacity to project power on the surface and undersea, it’s important to recognize the people in every stage of bringing this ship to life because our people make a difference. Montana is proof of what teamwork of all the people – civilian, contractor and military – can accomplish together».

PCU Montana is the second U.S. Navy warship bearing the state’s name. The first USS Montana (ACR-13) was an armored cruiser built at Newport News Shipbuilding and launched in 1906. During the ceremony, a replica of the bell that sailed on the first Montana was rung. The bell will be formally presented to the crew at the ship’s commissioning, and will be part of the submarine for its entire service life.

«Today is an exciting day for the Navy and the crew as our sponsor christened the Navy’s newest Virginia-class submarine, the Montana», said Captain Mike Delaney, commanding officer of the pre-commissioning unit. «While the coronavirus precluded most of the crew’s participation in this ceremony, it in no way diminishes the great accomplishment. I couldn’t be prouder of the way the crew of Montana alongside our shipbuilding partners have adapted to the new normal and focused on responsibly living up to our mission. This is not all too surprising given the innate resiliency and toughness I’ve seen my whole career in the submarine force. This submarine, like all the individuals who have contributed to getting it to this major milestone, will stand as a reflection of strength through adversity».

Three of Montana’s crew members hail from the state of Montana.

Construction of Montana began in 2015 under a teaming agreement with Electric Boat. The submarine achieved pressure hull complete earlier this year, and is about 85% complete. USS Montana (SSN-794) is scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Navy in late 2021.

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division supports national security missions around the globe with unmanned systems, defense and federal solutions, and nuclear and environmental services. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 42,000 people operating both domestically and internationally.

USS Montana (SSN-794)
The christening ceremony of submarine USS Montana (SSN-794) took place at Newport News Shipbuilding division’s Modular Outfitting Facility in front of a virtual audience on September 12, 2020 (Photo by Ariel Florendo/HII)

 

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 IV

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-792 Vermont EB 10-20-18 04-18-20 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-793 Oregon EB 10-05-19
SSN-794 Montana NNS 09-12-20
SSN-795 Hyman G. Rickover EB Under Construction
SSN-796 New Jersey NNS Under Construction
SSN-797 Iowa EB Under Construction
SSN-798 Massachusetts NNS Under Construction
SSN-799 Idaho EB Under Construction
SSN-800 Arkansas NNS Under Construction
SSN-801 Utah EB Under Construction

 

Montana Christening Ceremony

Leave a Reply