The Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Hawaii (SSN 776) currently berthed at the Electric Boat Shipyard is decorated for her christening ceremony. Hawaii is the third Virginia-class submarine to be christened, and the 1st major U.S. Navy combatant vessel class designed with the post-Cold War security environment in mind and embodies the war fighting and operational capabilities required to dominate the littorals while maintaining undersea dominance in the open ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Mark Jones
The Navy’s newest attack submarine Hawaii was commissioned Saturday, May 5, during a ceremony in 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 Aloha State and in honor of the rich heritage of submarines in the Pacific theater.
Adm. Gary Roughead, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle is the sponsor of Hawaii, the state’s namesake submarine. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Lingle gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
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 operations 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.
“The addition of USS Hawaii to the fleet provides needed capability to meet the challenges of the future,” said Navy Secretary Donald
C. Winter. “This ship’s stealth, endurance, flexibility, and lethality, combined with a highly trained and ready crew, make for the most robust undersea warfare capability in the world.”
Capt. 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 was built by the shipbuilder team of General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Conn., and Northrop Grumman Newport News. The submarine is 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. Hawaii is 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.