Keel Laying of Utah

On September 01, 2021, Electric Boat (EB) held a keel laying ceremony for the 28th ship of the Virginia class, the submarine USS Utah (SSN-801), at Quonset Point. EB senior staff, including President Kevin Graney and Vice President for QP Operations Sean Davies, joined U.S. Navy leadership, EB employees, and members of the USS Utah (SSN-801) commissioning committee to mark this important construction milestone.

USS Utah (SSN-801)
Quonset Point employee Steven Tavares, an X-Ray Welder in Dept. 921, welds Ship Sponsor Kate Mabus’ initials into the Keel Plate that will be installed on the Utah

Utah will be the second U.S. Navy vessel named after the «Beehive State», the first being a Florida-class battleship (BB-31) commissioned in 1911. BB-31 served during the Mexican Revolution, World War I, and provided a covering force for Allied convoys near Britain in 1918.

The battleship met its fate during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 where it was moored as an anti-aircraft gunnery training ship. «The six torpedoes used on Utah could have potentially destroyed a third or fourth battleship, further crippling U.S. naval power in the Pacific and changing the course of the war», said Graney. «Today the hull of Utah remains at Pearl Harbor as a memorial to the 58 officers and crew who lost their lives that day. May the spirit of those brave souls guide the future crew of the second USS Utah, whose keel-laying today celebrates the ceremonial birth of the ship. In the days of wooden ships, the start of construction was marked by the laying of the first timber – the backbone of the vessel». Graney explained how this tradition has been modified to reflect current manufacturing methods and the cylindrical shape of modern submarines, also noting that the bottom centerline of these ships is referred to as the keel.

Ship Sponsor, Ms. Kate Mabus, delivered her remarks and expressed her dedication to the future crew of the USS Utah (SSN-801). «This Utah will be a fitting tribute to those who served on the original USS Utah. I recognize the responsibility I have as sponsor to be a part of this submarine’s life. I am immensely excited to meet the sailors that will serve on the Utah, and the Captain who will command her. As a plank owner and honorary member of the first crew, I will be connected with the Utah for the decades she serves in the fleet. As we lay the keel today, I also want to celebrate the amazing ship builders here at Electric Boat as well as those at Huntington Ingalls in Newport News, Virginia who are building the other parts».

Steven Tavares, an X-Ray welder in D921 was selected to weld the sponsor’s initials on the keel plate that will permanently be installed in the USS Utah (SSN-801). Tavares joined EB in 2013 as an entry level welder in D915 after working in the concrete/masonry industry for 11 years. He was selected for his high weld acceptance rate, as well as the quality and complexity of the welds he performs.

After verifying her initials on the plate that will be installed in the Utah for the entire service life of the boat, Ms. Mabus concluded the event with the declaration, «I declare this keel to be well and truly laid».

 

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 07-31-21
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

 

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