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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 667-00
October 31, 2000

NAVY TO CHRISTEN NEW CLASS OF OCEAN SURVEILLANCE SHIP

The U.S. Navy will christen the first of its new class of ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS 23) at Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Miss., during a 1 p.m. CST ceremony on Wed., Nov. 1, 2000.

H. Lee Buchanan III, assistant secretary of the Navy, Research, Development and Acquisition, will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Leah Gansler, wife of Jacques S. Gansler, under secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, and Margareta Augustine, wife of Norman Augustine, former chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corp., will serve as ship's co-sponsors. In time-honored Navy tradition they will break bottles of champagne across the bow to formally name the ship.

Ocean surveillance ship names convey positive traits of capability or accomplishment. This is the second ship to carry the name Impeccable. The first Impeccable (AM 320) was a minesweeper (1944-1947). To strengthen the American fleet units in Korea, Impeccable was recommissioned in 1952. In February 1955, the ship was reclassified MSF-320 and in October 1955 was again decommissioned. Impeccable received three battle stars for World War II service and two for Korean service.

Surveillance ships serve as a stable platform to gather underwater acoustical data. Impeccable was specifically designed to deploy two underwater listening devices called surveillance towed-array sensor system (SURTASS) used to augment the Navy's antisubmarine warfare capability. The SURTASS mission is to gather ocean acoustical data and through electronic equipment onboard, process and provide rapid transmission of antisubmarine warfare information via satellite to shore stations for evaluation and analysis.

Built on a small water plane area twin hull design for greater stability at slow speeds in high latitudes under adverse weather conditions, Impeccable is larger and faster then her predecessor Victorious class ship. This ship is 281 feet in length, has a beam of 95.9 feet, displaces 5,370 long tons, and is capable of sustaining speeds up to 12 knots.

Built by Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Miss., and operated by the Navy's Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., the ship is always forward deployed - having no homeport, and is crewed by approximately 20 civilian mariners, 10 technicians and up to 20 Navy personnel.

Media interested in attending the ceremony should contact Liane Young at the Office of Naval Research at (703) 696-0749.

Additional information on ocean surveillance ships is available on line at http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-tagos2.html.