By Journalist 3rd Class Steven Feller, Commander, Navy Region Northeast Public Affairs
With a swing of the Korbel and a blessing for “all who sail in her,” Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter christened PCU Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard on June 5.
Mrs. Carter, Former President Jimmy Carter, their daughter Amy and a crowd of more than 4,500, came to bear witness to the christening of the third and last Seawolf-class submarine.
“This is a wonderful day for me, and to see my wife break the champagne on undoubtedly the finest, and formidable, ship in the world was a great honor for me," said former President Carter. "And to have my name on it, I am very grateful.”
Adm. Kirkland Donald, commander, Naval Submarine Forces, told the crowd of the eagerness of the crew to get Jimmy Carter out to sea. He also praised the crew for all their personal and professional accomplishments.
“We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of this fine ship to our fleet and the remarkable capability that she’ll bring. This crew is very eager to get under way,” said Donald. “Over 40 Sailors earned their ‘dolphins’ (while training aboard other submarines), and they have a perfect retention rate of 100 percent and an exceptional advancement rate well above the Navy’s average. Eighteen of their enlisted Sailors have been selected into officer commissioning programs. I think it’s reflective of the caliber of this crew and the fact that Jimmy Carter is the recipient of the 2003 Atlantic Fleet Golden Anchor Award.”
Electric Boat President and General Dynamics Vice President John Casey was equally excited to have Jimmy Carter join the fleet.
“This is an exciting day to be in the submarine business,” Casey said. “This ship I’m standing on this morning represents a remarkable achievement for Electric Boat, the Navy and our nation. Five years ago, this vessel’s distinguishing characteristic, the Multi-Mission Platform, existed only in the minds of a few. Today, this notion has become a reality, providing this ship and submarine force with astounding capabilities.”
The Multi-Mission Platform (MMP) is the submarine’s most celebrated feature. Specifically, the platform is a hull extension, making the 453-foot-long PCU Jimmy Carter 100 feet longer than the other two Seawolf-class submarines, USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and USS Connecticut (SSN 22).
“The key to this production has been the Integrated Product and Process Development approach – also known as the Design/Build approach,” said Casey. “An entire 100-foot, 2,500-ton hull section, nearly as complex as an entire Los Angeles-class submarine has come from concept to construction and integration with the overall ship in just under five years. That’s an amazing accomplishment.”
The MMP provides Jimmy Carter with a wealth of capabilities. It has an ocean interface that allows for the operation of a Remotely Operated Vehicle, which will be able to retrieve and deploy weapons, countermeasures and sensors. It’s also Special Operations-friendly. Jimmy Carter can accommodate a Dry Deck Shelter or an Advanced SEAL Delivery System
for Special Operations Forces (SOF). It has a Reconfigurable Cargo Area, which allows for stowage of SOF supplies, and it features a Command Center Suite for mission planning. The Jimmy Carter can also berth up to 50 SOF personnel.