Skip to comments.Navy's newest fast-attack sub, North Carolina, is christened(4th Virginia class)
Posted on 04/24/2007 5:00:13 AM PDT by MARKUSPRIME
NEWPORT NEWS - Under a cloudless Carolina-blue sky, shipbuilders and the Navy on Saturday celebrated the christening of the North Carolina, the nation's newest fast-attack submarine.
"May God bless her and all who sail in her," said ship sponsor Linda Bowman, a Navy wife for 38 years.
She smashed a bottle of American sparkling wine on the bow's "breaker bar," splattering the bubbly on her face and down the front of her blue suit.
Bowman pumped her fists over her head, laughed as she spotted herself dry with a towel and then exchanged a high-five with her husband, retired Adm. Frank L. "Skip" Bowman, the former director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion.
Earlier, the morning's festive mood gave way to a solemn moment of silence for Monday's shooting victims at Virginia Tech.
"We celebrate during a time of mourning and loss," said Mike Petters, president of shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Newport News, who called Monday's shootings a "senseless and horrific tragedy."
More than 350 of the company's employees are Virginia Tech graduates. "It's a place where future shipbuilders are grown - some of the very best shipbuilders in the world," Petters said.
During the ceremony, the current crew's 115 sailors stood in formation, outfitted in dress whites, with arms folded behind their backs.
The North Carolina, estimated at $2.6 billion in 2005 dollars, is the fourth ship in the Navy's new Virginia-class of submarines. Northrop Grumman's Newport News sector is building the subs in a partnership with General Dynamics' Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. The two yards have moved closer to the Navy's target cost of $2 billion each.
Navy officials who spoke Saturday applauded the shipbuilders and the new submarine's capabilities.
"At her top speed, she will make less noise than most of our submarines do at 5 knots," said Vice Adm. John Donnelly, commander of Naval Submarine Forces. "Her firepower, stealth and ability are tailored perfectly to meet maritime challenges of the future."
The nuclear-powered submarine is the fourth U.S. Navy vessel to be named North Carolina. A handful of former crew members of the World War II-era battleship North Carolina, on display as a floating museum in Wilmington, N.C., attended the ceremony.
"I'm happy to see them carrying on the proud name of the USS North Carolina," said Denny Jones, 80, of Jamestown, Ky., who served on the battleship from 1944- 46.
The submarine, which is about 88 percent complete, will be launched into the James River on May 5 with a scheduled December delivery date to the Navy.
“At her top speed, she will make less noise than most of our submarines do at 5 knots,” said Vice Adm. John Donnelly
The next four VA Class subs have even more improvements. No country on earth has the production expertise to crank out these babies like the US does.
For someone in the Navy, can you explain the decision to shift to state names from ballistic missile subs to attack subs, which always used to be named for cities?
Nice touch to have a long “serving” Navy spouse do the honors!
Actually, the state names used to be reserved for battleships (New Jersey, Missouri, etc.). With the Ohio class ballistic missile sub, the Navy determined that the FBMs were “capital” ships and thus worthy of state names. Since they’re not building any more boomers right now, I guess the old rule is out the window. There were also two classes of nuclear powered guided missile cruisers that had state names. The old Virginia class, and the South Carolina.
Way back in the mists of time, BBs were named for states and cruisers were named for cities. There were three battleships named Iowa, for example.
They should make a new type of battleship, and the names of the states in the Union should be used for those. Currently, the “big” ships are aircraft carriers. President’s names can be used for capital ships, but the most respected ships in the Navy should be the ones with state names. And not much offense to submarines, but they aren’t the most respected ships in the fleet. (though at least it isn’t a tugboat).
Submarines are the best form of naval power projection though. :)
Submarines were once named after fish. I was on the diesel sub USS Jallao (SS-368).
“They should make a new type of battleship”
Battleships are obsolete.
I find that statement hard to believe myself.
No offense, but oh what planet is that statement true? :-)
People signed up for subs a t a rate so high they forced people into the surface fleet when I was in. A PO 3rd lass on a sub was usually about 20 yrs old. In the surface Navy he was usually about 30.
No kidding. I don’t know what technology we’ve developed to be able to do that, but it would be revolutionary.