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Newest Nuclear-Attack Submarine Passes Tests
By U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Feller / Navy Region Northeast Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn., Nov. 23, 2004 – Precommissioning Unit Jimmy Carter, the nation’s newest nuclear-attack submarine, returned to General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Shipyard Nov. 19 after successfully completing its Alpha Sea Trial.

The Alpha Sea Trial is the first underway period designated for propulsion-plant and tightness-dive testing.

See Caption.
Precommissioning Unit Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) departs General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard Nov. 16, 2004 to begin the Alpha Sea Trials. Jimmy Carter, the third and last of the Seawolf-class fast attack submarines, is the only one outfitted with a 100-foot-long hull extension providing it with a wealth of new capabilities that make it a true multi-mission platform. Photo courtesy of General Dynamic Electric Boat

“During her trials, we put her through a full range of speed and depth capability, plus we tested out the majority of her systems that are essential for the safe operation of the ship,” said Adm. Kirkland Donald, director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion, embarked upon Jimmy Carter for the trial, “and it was an unqualified success.”

For three days prior to the underway test, Jimmy Carter's crew pushed through a gauntlet of trials and tests, doing everything from emergency blows, to operating at test and maximum operating depths.

Donald lauded Jimmy Carter Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Kelso and his crew for their performance.

“I’ve had the opportunity to observe the crew through the entire breadth and depth of the trials,” he said. “It is clear they have invested the time they need to in training, and

making sure they understand the capabilities of the shipand how to operate it. And they showed that in the finest sense throughout the trials.

“I couldn’t be more impressed – not only in how well they did, but in how steep the learning curve was, establishing their sea legs and getting ready to bring this fine ship back to sea,” he said.

Kelso also praised the sub and the crew, noting that Jimmy Carter pushed and expanded his two decades of submarine experience.

“Jimmy Carter is definitely an awesome ship,” he said. “It met all my expectations, and it’s certainly the deepest and fastest I’ve ever been on a submarine.

“I’m extremely proud of my crew. Over the last month, everything has really come together, and I want to congratulate the men and women of (Electric Boat Shipyard) for building an outstanding submarine,” said Kelso.

John Casey, president of General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Shipyard, also praised the crew for their performance during the Alpha Sea Trial.

“To spend time with those men was inspirational, to see the way they took that ship to sea and embraced the technology and made it part of their very souls,” said Casey.

Jimmy Carter is the third and final submarine of the Seawolf class. Unlike its siblings, USS Seawolf and USS Connecticut, Jimmy Carter is fitted with a 100-foot-long hull extension, providing it with a wealth of new capabilities that make it a true multi-mission platform.

Jimmy Carter has a unique open ocean interface that allows the deployment of remotely operated vehicles, which will be able to retrieve and deploy weapons, countermeasures and sensors.

The submarine is also special operations-friendly and can accommodate a dry deck shelter or an advanced SEAL delivery system for special operations forces. It has a reconfigurable cargo area, which allows for storage of supplies, and includes a command center suite for mission planning. The submarine can berth up to 50 special operation forces personnel.

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