Tag Archives: Newport News Shipbuilding

Alpha sea trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on May 26 that the newest Virginia-class submarine, USS John Warner (SSN-785), successfully completed its initial sea trials on Saturday. Sea trials are aggressive operational tests that demonstrate the submarine’s capabilities at sea. John Warner, the first Virginia-class submarine to be named for a person, is being built as part of a teaming arrangement between HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division and General Dynamics Electric Boat.

The Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) completed alpha sea trials on Saturday. All systems, components and compartments were tested. The submarine also submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and underwater (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)
The Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) completed alpha sea trials on Saturday. All systems, components and compartments were tested. The submarine also submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and underwater (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)

«Alpha sea trials represent the first underway test of the quality of the craftsmanship that went into the construction of this great vessel and the skill of the crew that operates her», said Jim Hughes, Newport News’ vice president of submarines and fleet support. «Both the ship and the crew performed incredibly well, resulting in extremely successful trials that enable the ship to advance directly into its next set of tests. The USS John Warner is now well on its way to being another successful and early Virginia-class delivery».

All systems, components and compartments were tested during the trials. The new submarine submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and underwater. USS John Warner (SSN-785) will undergo several more rounds of sea trials before delivery to the U.S. Navy by Newport News.

«The sea trials were a huge success», said Commander Dan Caldwell, the submarine’s prospective commanding officer. «The ship is in great material condition, and I could not be more proud of the way the crew performed. They have worked tirelessly for the last two years preparing to take this ship to sea, and it showed during sea trials. We look forward to completing the ship’s delivery and joining the operational fleet».

Construction of John Warner began in 2010. The boat is 99 percent complete and on schedule to deliver next month – more than three months ahead of its contracted delivery date.

 

Nuclear Submarine Lineup

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-774 Virginia EB 8-16-03 10-23-04 Portsmouth, New Hampshire
SSN-775 Texas NNS 7-31-05 9-9-06 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-776 Hawaii EB 6-19-06 5-5-07 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-777 North Carolina NNS 4-21-07 5-3-08 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-778 New Hampshire EB 6-21-08 10-25-08 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-779 New Mexico NNS 12-13-08 11-21-09 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-780 Missouri EB 12-5-09 7-31-10 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-781 California NNS 11-6-10 10-29-11 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-782 Mississippi EB 12-3-11 6-2-12 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-783 Minnesota NNS 10-27-12 9-7-13 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14
SSN-786 Illinois EB Under Construction
SSN-787 Washington NNS Under Construction
SSN-788 Colorado EB Under Construction
SSN-789 Indiana NNS Under Construction
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction
SSN-792 Vermont EB Under Construction
SSN-793 Oregon NNS Under Construction
SSN-794 (Unnamed)
SSN-795 Hyman G. Rickover
SSN-796 New Jersey
SSN-797 (Unnamed)
SSN-798 (Unnamed)
SSN-799 (Unnamed)
SSN-800 (Unnamed)
SSN-801 (Unnamed)
SSN-802 (Unnamed)
SSN-803 (Unnamed)
SSN-804 (Unnamed)
SSN-805 (Unnamed)

EB – Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut

NNS – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia

She will be the first in the class to be named after a person
She will be the first in the class to be named after a person

Keel for Indiana

The keel of the 16th Virginia-class attack submarine, named after the 16th largest state, was laid May 16 at Newport News Shipyard. She is the third ship to bear the name Indiana, and will be the first in almost 70 years to sail under the national colors with that name. It is said in the Navy Times that the ship’s sponsor, Diane Donald, the wife of retired Admiral Kirk Donald, a former director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, declared the keel «to be truly and fairly laid». Diane Donald authenticated the keel with her initials, which were welded onto a metal plate and permanently affixed to the ship.

Heather Johnson, a 37-year-old mother of four, has the honor of being the first female welder at Newport News Shipbuilding to weld the sponsor's initials on a Virginia-class submarine (Photo by John Whalen/HII)
Heather Johnson, a 37-year-old mother of four, has the honor of being the first female welder at Newport News Shipbuilding to weld the sponsor’s initials on a Virginia-class submarine (Photo by John Whalen/HII)

Construction on Indiana, the sixth of eight Block III variants, started in September 2012. The state is known as «the crossroads of America», and its namesake honors that motto well. She carries millions of parts from 5,000 suppliers located in all 50 states. Assembling these parts is what Jim Hughes, vice president for Submarines and Fleet Support, called «one of the biggest orchestras in the world». The symphony carefully played by 4,000 shipbuilders will now unite hull sections into a 377-foot/114.8 m military masterpiece that will crescendo with its 2017 commissioning, then slip into three decades of silent service.

Her missions will be many and multifaceted. The Virginia class has a large lock-in/lock-out chamber, and a reconfigurable torpedo room to accommodate more snake eaters. She will carry roughly three dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles. Traditional periscopes have been replaced by photonics masts with high-resolution cameras and infrared sensors. A fly-by-wire ship control system provides unmatched operation in shallow littoral areas.

A shipbuilder on a lift works on the stern unit of Indiana (SSN-789) at Newport News Shipbuilding in 2013 (Photo by Ricky Thompson/HII)
A shipbuilder on a lift works on the stern unit of Indiana (SSN-789) at Newport News Shipbuilding in 2013 (Photo by Ricky Thompson/HII)

While the Virginia class boasts these and other upgrades in weaponry and other tactical equipment, its biggest edge is in acoustics, said Commander Jesse Zimbauer, the ship’s skipper. Among its many advances, the Block III variant vastly improved passive detection by replacing the traditional sonar sphere with the Large Aperture Bow array. «We are building the future with this submarine», said Jesse Zimbauer, who «jumped on the opportunity» to be part of the pre-commissioning unit.

A keel laying is the symbolic beginning of building a ship, originating from the large structural beam, or keel, that serves as the foundation or spine of the ship’s hull. Although modular construction techniques mean that the ship is no longer built from the bottom up, the keel laying is still celebrated as a momentous event in the ship’s construction. During the keel laying ceremony, the ship’s sponsor authenticates the keel by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. The initials are then welded onto a plate that is permanently affixed to the ship.

Diane Donald, the Indiana's sponsor, looks over her initials on a steel plate held by welder Heather Johnson of Newport News Shipbuilding
Diane Donald, the Indiana’s sponsor, looks over her initials on a steel plate held by welder Heather Johnson of Newport News Shipbuilding

 

INDIANA (SSN-789) FACTS

  • Navy names SSN-789 in honor of the state of Indiana: April 13, 2012
  • Construction start: September 2012
  • Keel Authentication Ceremony: May 16, 2015
  • Ship’s sponsor: Ms. Diane Donald, wife of retired Admiral Kirk Donald
  • Number of NNS shipbuilders who support Indiana construction: 4,000
  • Officers and Crew: Currently, 57; At delivery 135; Commanded by Jesse Zimbauer
  • Indiana is about 48 percent complete and is on track to complete in summer 2017
  • Indiana is the 16th ship of the Virginia class
A unit for the Virginia-class submarine South Dakota (SSN-790) under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in 2014 (Photo by Chris Oxley)
A unit for the Virginia-class submarine South Dakota (SSN-790) under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in 2014 (Photo by Chris Oxley)

 

General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One S9G* nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.5156 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 12 individual VLS (Vertical Launch System) tubes or 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

A panorama of the shipyard shows the bow unit of Illinois (SSN-786) being moved to the sea shuttle (right) June 24, 2014. Illinois is being delivered to the Navy by General Dynamics Electric Boat (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)
A panorama of the shipyard shows the bow unit of Illinois (SSN-786) being moved to the sea shuttle (right) June 24, 2014. Illinois is being delivered to the Navy by General Dynamics Electric Boat (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)