Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) welcomed the crew of the newest Virginia-class submarine, Minnesota, today as it moved aboard and enjoyed its first meal in the ship's galley. Sharing in the celebration were Ellen Roughead, the ship's sponsor, and her husband, former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, who dined together with approximately 120 crew members in the ship's crew's mess.
The submarine is in the final stages of construction and testing at HII's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division. Minnesota, the last of the block II Virginia-class submarines, is more than 96% complete and is on track to deliver in late spring. Construction began in February 2008, and Minnesota was christened on Oct. 27, 2012. The submarine's next significant construction milestone is initial sea trials, an aggressive series of operational tests that demonstrate the submarine's capabilities.