The U.S. Navy received delivery of two ships in the same day Thursday, gaining both a nuclear submarine and a new support ship.
The submarine Minnesota (SSN 783) was delivered from Newport News Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). The Minnesota is the tenth SSN 774 Virginia-class submarine and the last Block II version to be built.
The Virginias are built under a 50-50 teaming arrangement with General Dynamics Electric Boat, with each shipbuilder alternating in the final assembly of each sub.
HII trumpeted the delivery, nearly 11 months ahead of contract schedule.
“This is a success story of the teamwork between the crew and shipbuilder,” Cmdr. John Fancher, commanding officer of the Minnesota, said in a press release. “The team reached the finish line together with quality craftsmanship by the shipbuilder, coupled with a crew that was given the opportunity to train as necessary to operate the submarine to its fullest extent during the combined trials.”
The Minnesota is sponsored by Ellen Roughead, wife of retired Adm. Gary Roughead, the former chief of naval operations.
Construction of the submarine began in February 2008, and a christening ceremony was held Oct. 27, 2012. A commissioning ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 7 at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., and the sub will be homeported at Naval Submarine Base Groton, Conn.
Further south in Mobile, Ala., Austal USA delivered the second Joint High Speed Vessel, Choctaw County (JHSV 2), to the Navy for operation by the Military Sealift Command.
The Pentagon is buying 10 all-aluminum JHSVs for high-speed logistics use, and the vessels could prove capable of a number of missions.
The Choctaw County’s civilian mariners will sail away the ship later this summer.
At the same shipyard, the Millinocket (JHSV 3) was rolled out June 4 from its building shed, transferred to a floating drydock, and launched June 5 into Mobile Bay. The ship will continue fitting out before running sea trials late this year.
Late on June 6, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus also announced the names of five ships — two more Littoral Combat Ships and the last three JHSVs.
The LCSs are USS BILLINGS (LCS 15), a Freedom-class ship, and TULSA (LCS 16), built to the Independence-class design. Contract awards for both ships were announced March 4, BILLINGS to Lockheed Martin for construction at Marinette Marine, Marinette, Wisc., and TULSA to Austal USA. The ships are to be delivered in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Mabus also completed naming the 10 JHSVs with the selections of YUMA (JHSV 8), BISMARCK (JHSV 9) and BURLINGTON (JHSV 10). Construction contracts for the YUMA and BISMARCK were awarded to Austal USA on Feb. 24, 2012, and the BURLINGTON contract on Dec. 20, 2012. BISMARCK, first intended to be completed for the U.S. Army, originally was named SACRIFICE, but most of the JHSV Army names were cancelled when all the ships were transferred to the Navy.
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