The Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England announced today in Albuquerque, N.M., that the Navys next Virginia-class submarine will be named New Mexico in recognition of the Land of Enchantment and the people of New Mexico. The new nuclear powered attack submarine, designated SSN 779, began construction in 2004, by Northrop Grumman Newport News, Newport News, Va., and General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Conn.
One previous ship was named in honor of the 47th State of the Union. The battleship New Mexico (1918-1946), earned six battle stars for World War II service, which included providing shore bombardment support for landings in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and at Guam, Tinian, Saipan, the Philippines and Okinawa.
England credited the strong support of the people of New Mexico and the Navy League as well as the states congressional delegation and the governors office. The support of the people of a community or state is an important factor in naming our nations warships. We appreciate the enthusiastic support that the people of New Mexico have shown our sailors and their families, England said.
The Navys Virginia-class submarines are designed for battlespace dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions as well as open-ocean, blue water missions. Capable of launching Tomahawk missiles and deploying with special operations forces such as the Navy SEALs, the superior capabilities of Virginia class will ensure the United States maintains undersea dominance, in both deep and shallow waters, well into this century.
For more information on Virginia class submarines visit: http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-ssn.html .