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News Release


Release No: 385-97
July 17, 1997


The fastest, quietest, most heavily armed nuclear-powered attack submarine in the world, Seawolf (SSN 21), will be commissioned during a ceremony at 11 a.m. (EDT), Saturday, July 19, 1997, at Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Conn.

Seawolf is the first "top to bottom" new attack submarine design since the Skipjack Class in the early 1960s. The benchmark for underwater excellence, three Seawolf Class submarines have been authorized by Congress. Its inherent stealth, coupled with state-of-the-art sensors and advanced combat systems make it one of the world's most formidable weapons systems.

Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton is the principal speaker for the commissioning and his wife, Margaret O. Dalton, is the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Dalton will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

As the Navy continues to operate "ForwardFrom the Sea," Seawolf's flexibility and impressive capabilities provide the Navy with an undersea weapons platform to operate in any scenario against any threat, from under arctic ice to shallow water. With mission and growth capability far beyond Los Angeles Class submarines, Seawolf's robust design supports missions such as surveillance, intelligence collection, special warfare, covert cruise missile strike, mine warfare, and anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare. Seawolf is a highly capable littoral warfare ship, that sets the standard for submarine technology into the next century.

Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, Seawolf can target about 75 percent of the earth's land mass for strike missions and can target surface ships at long range. Seawolf also carries the Mark 48 Advanced Capability torpedo, the best in the world. With twice as many torpedo tubes and a 30 percent increase in weapons magazine size compared to the 688-class submarines, Seawolf is eminently capable of establishing and maintaining battle space dominance.

  • This submarine was named in commemoration of two previous submarines, SS-197 and SSN 575. The name comes from a solitary fish with strong, prominent teeth and projecting tusks that give it a savage look. The first Seawolf (SS 197) was commissioned in 1939 and patrolled in
  • the Pacific Ocean. It earned 13 battle stars during World War II, sank 17 enemy ships, and was
  • lost in action in December 1944. The second Seawolf (SSN 575) was commissioned in 1957 and was the second nuclear powered submarine to enter naval service - - the first being USS Nautilus. This submarine logged more than 13,700 nautical miles without surfacing from August to October 1958, demonstrating to the world the independence and sustained submerged capability of nuclear-powered submarines. SSN 575 operated with USS Enterprise beginning in April of 1964 as part of the world's first nuclear-powered task force and served with distinction until decommissioning in March 1987.

Capt. David McCall, USN, is the commanding officer of Seawolf with a crew of 14 officers and 120 enlisted personnel. Upon commissioning, Seawolf will join the submarine force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and will be homeported in Groton, Conn. Seawolf is 353 feet long, has a beam of 40 feet, displaces approximately 9,150 tons submerged, 8,060 tons surfaced, and can dive to depths greater than 800 feet. One nuclear reactor and two geared steam turbines power the submarine to speeds in excess of 25 knots when submerged.

There will be an opportunity to tour the ship and speak with the Seawolf commanding officer and crewmembers on Friday, July 18, from 1-4 p.m. For admittance to the shipyard, media should contact Lt. John Wallach at the Submarine Group Two public affairs office at (860) 449-3148 for accreditation. Press kits will be available Friday. On the day of commissioning, the last bus transporting media guests to the site will leave at 10:15 a.m. Please plan to arrive no later than 9:30 a.m. to allow time to register and receive clearance badges for entry into the shipyard. Media will need to bring a photo ID.

For additional information, contact Lt. Wallach at (860) 449-3148 or on cellular phone at (860) 460-1012.

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