Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig announced his decision today to name the fourth submarine of the Virginia-class for the state of North Carolina.
"More than half a century has elapsed since a U.S. Navy ship has borne the name, "North Carolina," said Danzig. "With over two thousand of North Carolina's sons and daughters having joined the Navy and Marine Corps this year and more than forty-five thousand sailors and Marines currently serving in the state, I find it more than fitting to honor this great state and its brave sons and daughters by naming our newest fast attack submarine, the "North Carolina.""
This will be the fourth ship of the Navy to carry the name North Carolina. The original was USS North Carolina (1820-1836), the second (ACR 12) (1908 - 1921), and the third (BB 55) (1940 - 1947). North Carolina received 12 battle stars for World War II service.
North Carolina (SSN 777) will be built by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn., and Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., and will join the fleet in December 2006.
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. North Carolina 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.
General characteristics information on the Virginia class submarine can be found at http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-ssn.html.