Northrop Grumman Corporation (NSYE:NOC) reached a construction milestone by launching the Virginia-class submarine California (SSN 781) at the company's shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va. on Nov. 14. "Launch is a special milestone in the life of a submarine, this is the first time she's put into the water," said Becky Stewart, vice president of submarines and fleet support for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. "California is 88 percent complete. This event means we're one step closer to delivering the ship well ahead of the contract delivery date."
On Nov. 11, shipbuilders used a transfer car system to move the 7,800-ton ship out of the construction facility to the floating dry dock. Two days later, the floating dry dock was submerged, successfully launching California into the James River. Once in the water, tugboats moved California to the shipyard's submarine pier where final outfitting and testing will take place.
California, the eighth ship of the Virginia class, is named after the "Golden State." The ship was christened on Nov. 6, 2010. Upon delivery to the Navy in 2011, it will be the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, providing undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding is teamed with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build Virginia-class submarines.