Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Donald C. Winter announced Jan. 30 the names of three Virginia class submarines -- the Missouri, California and Mississippi.
The selection of Missouri honors the continuous support of the military by the people of the "Show Me State," and its leaders. Designated SSN 780, Missouri is the fifth ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state.
The last Missouri (BB 63), a U.S. Navy battleship, saw action in World War II, Korean War and the 1991 Gulf War. Missouri was also the site where Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and many other U.S. and Allied officers, accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II on Sept. 2, 1945.
The selection of California, designated SSN 781, honors the thousands of men and women from California who serve in today's armed forces, and the millions of Californian veterans and their families. As home to major Naval and Marine Corps installations, the selection of California also reflects the tremendous support provided to the Navy and Marine Corps by countless communities across the Golden State. This will be the seventh ship to bear the name California.
The selection of Mississippi, designated SSN 782, is dedicated to the state's long standing tradition of shipbuilding in support of our nation's defense. It also honors the indomitable spirit of the people of Mississippi who have made great strides in recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This fighting spirit will be an inspiration to all sailors who embark aboard Mississippi.
There have been four previous ships named Mississippi. The first Mississippi, a side wheeler, served as Commodore Matthew Perry's flagship for his historic voyage to Japan and fought with Admiral Farragut's forces on the Mississippi River during the Civil War.
These next-generation attack submarines will provide the Navy with the capabilities it requires to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. They will have improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable it to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.
Missouri, California and Mississippi will be able to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces.
Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; Special Forces delivery and support; mine delivery and minefield mapping. With enhanced communications connectivity, the submarines also will provide important battle group and joint task force support, with full integration into carrier battle group operations.
The Virginia class is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It 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.
These new, nuclear powered submarines are being built by General Dynamics Electric Boat (Connecticut) and Northrop Grumman Newport News (Virginia).