Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig announced today that the third submarine of the Virginia class, SSN 776, will bear the name Hawaii in honor of the rich heritage of submarines in the Pacific, and to recognize the tremendous support the Navy has enjoyed from the people of the 50th state. During a ceremony to be conducted Saturday, April 8, 2000, at 1 p.m., local time, at the Bowfin Submarine Memorial Museum in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Danzig will make the formal announcement. Today, more than 256,000 active duty personnel, family members, Defense Department civilians and veterans work and live in Hawaii - more than 20 percent of the state's population.
Danzig said: "Submariners are one of our greatest assets; so also are the people who appreciate and support them. Naming this submarine Hawaii recognizes both groups -- those brave men who have served here and the men and women who support them. A submarine is a lot like the state of Hawaii. Both are serene and beautiful, quiet and peaceful, yet they are both vitally important to U.S. national security. Like the people of Hawaii, a submarine is very much a part of its environment, is respectful of it, yet uses it to great advantage."
This will be the first commissioned ship to bear the name Hawaii, and will undergo construction at General Dynamics Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn. and Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., joining the fleet in 2007.
This next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia class, will provide the Navy with the capabilities it requires to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. Hawaii will have improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable it to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.
Virginia class submarines are able to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; special forces delivery and support; and mine delivery and minefield mapping. With enhanced communications connectivity, the submarine also will provide important battle group and joint task force support, with full integration into carrier battle group operations.
The boats of the Virginia class surpass the performance of any current or projected threat submarine, ensuring United States undersea dominance well into this century.
General characteristics information on the Virginia class submarine can be found at http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-ssn.html
Media interested in attending the ceremony should contact Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dave Werner, Naval Submarine Forces, Pacific, public affairs at (808) 473-0911.