General Dynamics Electric Boat, a business unit of General Dynamics (GD), announced it hold a keel-laying ceremony for the future submarine USS Arizona (SSN-803) on December 7, 2022, at its facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The keel laying is a ceremonial event in which the initials of the ship’s sponsor are welded onto a plate to be affixed to the submarine. It marks a milestone in the construction of a ship.
The submarine will be the first U.S. Navy warship to carry the name Arizona since the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39), sunk in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. Several armored-piercing bombs struck the ship, including one which exploded the forward magazines. The sunken hull is a permanent memorial to the 1,177 officers and crewmen who were killed in the attack.
«We are proud to observe this milestone in the construction of the submarine USS Arizona (SSN-803), a ship which symbolizes the legacy and courage of those who died that fateful day serving their country, a legacy we must never forget», said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat. «The capabilities provided by this ship will enhance the reach of America’s warfighters to preserve our nation’s freedom».
The ship’s sponsor, Nikki Stratton, welded her initials onto a steel plate to be permanently mounted in a place of honor on the completed vessel. Stratton is the granddaughter of Donald Stratton, who served on the battleship during the 1941 attack. Badly burned, he was discharged in 1942 and sent home, but successfully reenlisted in 1944 and returned to the Pacific Theater to fight in campaigns in New Guinea, the Philippines and the Battle of Okinawa. He worked throughout life to help honor the memory of Pearl Harbor and those who gave their lives in service to their country. Stratton died in February 2020 at the age of 97.
The Arizona will be the 30th ship of the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class fast attack submarines and the first to be equipped with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM). The VPM comprises four large-diameter, vertical payload tubes in a new hull section inserted into the existing Virginia-class submarine design. The tubes enable the submarine to deliver a variety of capabilities, including weapons, unmanned undersea vehicles, and other undersea payloads.
General Dynamics Electric Boat is the prime contractor and lead design yard for the Virginia class, which is the first class of U.S. Navy submarines produced for post-Cold War missions. It is designed to be more cost-effective and modular construction enables it to be equipped to perform a wider range of mission capabilities than previous classes. The company’s construction teammate is Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.
|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||460 feet/140 m|
|Beam||33 feet/10 m|
|Hull Diameter||34 feet/10.4 m|
|Displacement||Approximately 10,200 tons|
|Speed||25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h|
|Diving Depth||800+ feet/244+ m|
|Crew||135: 15 officers; 120 enlisted|
|Armament: Tomahawk missiles||two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
four 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Modules (VPMs), each capable of launching 7 Tomahawk cruise missiles or 3 hypersonic 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
|SSN-802 Oklahoma||EB||Under construction|
|SSN-803 Arizona||EB||Under construction|
|SSN-804 Barb||NNS||Under construction|
|SSN-805 Tang||EB||Under construction|
|SSN-806 Wahoo||NNS||Under construction|