HII Prepares for Launch of U.S. Navy Virginia-Class Submarine Future USS Montana (SSN 794)
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has transferred the recently christened U.S. Navy Virginia-class fast attack submarine, the future USS Montana (SSN 794), to the floating dry dock at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division in preparation for the ship’s launch.
During a three-day process that began Saturday, Oct. 3, the 7,800-ton submarine was successfully raised off its keel blocks and transported out of a construction facility using a transfer car system. Once the submarine was positioned in the floating dry dock, shipbuilders began to make final preparations to ensure Montana can be launched into the James River for the first time in November.
Once in the water, Montana will be moved to a pier for execution of the waterborne test program and crew certification.
“Moving Montana to the floating dry dock is an important accomplishment for the 10,000 shipbuilders who, through the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat, have collaborated to get us to where we are today,” said Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction. “It signifies that the submarine is prepared to start the next and final stage of its construction before going to sea.”
Montana was christened by former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell during a ceremony in front of a virtual audience on Sept. 12, and the submarine is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in late 2021.
SSN 794, which was formally named USS Montana on Sept. 2, 2015, honors the Treasure State and is the second commissioned warship bearing the name. The first USS Montana (ACR-13) was an armored cruiser built at Newport News Shipbuilding and launched in 1906.
The future USS Montana (SSN 794), now pre-commissioning unit (PCU) Montana (SSN 794), is the 21st boat of the Virginia-class; the third of the ten Block IV Virginia Class boats; and the 10th of the class to be delivered by HII Newport News Shipbuilding.
Construction of future USS Montana began in 2015 at NNS. The keel for the boat was laid on May 16, 2018 and 4,000 NNS shipbuilders are supporting her construction. The submarine achieved pressure hull complete earlier this year, and is about 85% complete. Montana is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in late 2021.
Block IV Virginia-class submarines include design changes to Reduce Total Ownership Cost (RTOC) and increase operational availability by decreasing the planned number of depot availabilities from four to three. The submarines displace 7,835 tons, with a hull length of 377 feet and a diameter of 34 feet. They are capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet while carrying Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Virginia class submarines are being built by General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and HII’s NNS division under a teaming agreement, with Electric Boat serving as prime contractor.
The submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare (ASW); anti-surface ship warfare (ASuW); strike warfare; special operation forces (SOF) support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.
Virginia class submarines are replacing the U.S. Navy’s older Los Angeles Class submarines as they retire.
Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding already have delivered 19 Virginia-class submarines to the Navy including the first Block IV variant – USS Vermont (SSN 792). All of the remaining nine Block IV submarines are currently under construction.