The Navy’s newest attack submarine Hawaii will be christened Saturday during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Conn.
The third submarine of the Virginia class, SSN 776, will bear the name Hawaii to recognize the tremendous support the Navy has enjoyed from the people of the 50th state and in honor of the rich heritage of submarines in the Pacific theater.
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle will serve as sponsor of SSN 776, the state’s namesake submarine. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Lingle christens the ship by breaking a bottle of champagne over the submarine.
Hawaii has improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable it to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements. Hawaii’s capabilities include: anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, special forces delivery and support, and covert mine warfare. In addition to these mission areas, Hawaii will be able to strike targets ashore with precision Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other maritime forces. With enhanced communications connectivity, the submarine also will provide unique, fully-integrated strike group and joint task force support.
Cmdr. David A. Solms, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., is the ship’s commanding officer and will lead a crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel.
The 7,800-ton Hawaii is 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. Hawaii is also designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship – reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.
Hawaii will ensure the United States maintains undersea dominance, in both deep and shallow waters, well into this century.
Additional information about this class of ship is available online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4100&tid=100&ct=4.