A keel laying ceremony for the Navy's second attack submarine of the Virginia class will be held Friday, July 12 at 11:30 a.m. EDT. The ceremony for Texas (SSN 775) will be hosted by Northrop Grumman Newport News at their facility in Newport News, Va.
Secretary of the Navy Gordon England will introduce U.S. Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia, senior-ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who will be the keynote speaker. Other distinguished guests include Northrop Grumman Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Office Kent Kresa, Northrop Grumman Newport News President Tom Schievelbein, General Dynamics Electric Boat President Mike Toner, Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner, U.S. Sen. George Allen of Virginia, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry Scott.
Attending as the submarine's sponsor, First Lady of the United States Laura Bush will have her initials welded to the hull as the keel authenticator for the ceremony. The keel that will be authenticated for Texas is part of the stern of the ship.
The Navy's next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia class, will provide the U.S. Navy with the capability required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. Texas will have improved stealthiness, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements, which will enable it to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.
Texas will be able to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other naval 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, Texas will also provide important battle group and joint force support, with full integration into carrier battle group operations.
The Virginia class of attack submarines surpasses the performance of any current or projected threat submarine, ensuring U.S. undersea dominance well into the next century.
Northrop Grumman Corporation's Newport News sector is teamed with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build the first four ships of the Virginia Class. Texas is the second ship of the class and it is the first to be built at Newport News. Texas is anticipating a christening date in 2004 and joining the fleet upon being commissioned in 2005.