Commissioning of USS Virginia Ushers in New Era of Undersea Warfare
Commissioning of USS
Virginia Ushers in New Era of Undersea Warfare
JOC (SW/AW) Mark O.
Piggott, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet
Norfolk, Virginia -- (NNS)
- The first nuclear-powered
Virginia-class fast-attack submarine,
USS Virginia (SSN 774), was
commissioned Oct. 23 at Norfolk Naval Station here.
Mrs. Lynda Johnson Robb, the daughter
of former President Lyndon Johnson and the sponsor of USS Virginia (SSN 774),
announces to the crew to "man the ship, and bring her to life" at the
commissioning ceremony of the newest class of fast attack submarines Oct. 23,
Navy photo by PHAN Timothy Bensken
Naval Submarine Forces, Vice Adm. Charles L. Munns gave
the order to commission
Kern, you and your men have much to be proud of, but also more work to do,"
Munns said. "You must steer Virginia around this dangerous and uncertain world.
Guard her stealth, use her endurance, harvest her sensors, and make ready her
firepower. I expect you to dominate any assignment from open-ocean to the
Navy photo by JO2 Christina M. Shaw
Virginia is the ninth U.S. naval vessel to be named for the "Old Dominion."
Virginia-class submarine is the Navy's first delivered major combatant designed
with the post-Cold War security environment in mind. She embodies the
war-fighting and operational capabilities required to dominate the littorals
while maintaining undersea dominance in the open ocean.
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner said he was proud to have the lead ship of the class
named for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
"Virginia's support of the United States Navy goes back to the founding of our
country when the first USS Virginia was commissioned in 1777," Warner said.
"Virginia values its long-standing relationship with the Navy and is proud so
many vessels call the Commonwealth home."
tools like the USS Virginia and other Virginia-class fast-attack submarines,
this nation will continue to have the best equipped and best trained military in
the world," he concluded.
innovative agreement, General Dynamics Electric Boat is producing the
Virginia-class submarines as part of a team effort with Northrop Grumman Newport
News. Virginia has improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and
special warfare enhancements that enable it to meet the Navy's multi-mission
requirements. With a modular design, the Virginia class will be able to
accommodate technology upgrades throughout the life of the class.
this submarine and its capabilities at sea," Clark said
Chief of Naval
Operations Adm. Vern Clark. "Virginia is designed
to take care of and defeat the enemies of the 21st century."
bring her greatest capability - her stealth - into the war-fighting calculus in
a way that will tremendously complicate life for our future and potential
enemies and greatly enhance our own war-fighting capabilities," he added.
is 377 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 34 feet, a navigational draft of
32 feet, displaces approximately 7,800 tons submerged, can dive to depths
greater than 800 feet, and can sustain speeds of more than 25 knots when
to Virginia's Commanding Officer, Capt. David C. Kern, his proudest moment was a
foggy day in Groton, Conn., when he first took Virginia to sea.
was thick as I stood on the sail of Virginia, returning from our first underway,"
Kern explained. "Her engines pulsing with power, her crew having operated the
boat for the first time. On that day, I was filled with pride for the
accomplishments of this crew."
taken to sea the world's most complex and innovative submarine, delivered within
months of a date set nearly 10 years earlier," he added, "initiating the most
successful set of sea trials ever accomplished by the lead ship of a submarine
can attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and
conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters and other
sea forces. Virginia also has superior anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare
capabilities, is able to provide special forces delivery and support, and can
conduct mine delivery and minefield mapping.
the principal speaker at the commissioning ceremony, spoke of the responsibility
of the men who will serve aboard Virginia.
not be the steel and the technology that's been put together so magnificently by
these two yards," Warner said. "You, the crew, will decide the record of history
and accomplishment of this ship."
you this trust," he continued, "it shows our deep respect for the training that
you have had and the capabilities you will perform magnificently."
will be home-ported in Groton, Conn. Ten of a projected 30 Virginia-class
submarines are under contract to be built by General Dynamics Electric Boat and
Northrop Grumman Newport News. PCU
Texas (SSN 775), PCU Hawaii
(SSN 776) and PCU North
Carolina (SSN 777) are currently under construction and are scheduled to
join the fleet over the next three years.
nation is a leader in the world, and the entire world looks to us to lead in the
cause of freedom," Warner added. "We cannot ever blink, we cannot ever flinch,
we cannot yield. We must remain strong and lead the world, and this ship will
very definitely play a role in that war on terror."