Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division delivered the newest Virginia-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine, the future USS Indiana (SSN 789), to the U.S. Navy on June 25, 2018.
The future USS Indiana is the 16th Virginia-class submarine built as part of the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and the eighth delivered by Newport News.
“We are proud to deliver Indiana to the Navy,” said Dave Bolcar, Newport News’ vice president of submarine construction. “For the nearly 4,000 shipbuilders who participated in construction of the boat, there is nothing more important than knowing that this vessel will support the Navy’s missions.”
The initial contract for the construction of Indiana was awarded on 22 December 2008. Her keel was laid on 16 May 2015 and she was launched on 9 June 2017. She was christened on 29 April 2017 and sponsored by Diane Donald, wife of Admiral Kirkland H. Donald, USN (ret).
The future USS Indiana is scheduled to be commissioned later this year. The vessel will be the third U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to be commissioned with a name honoring the state of Indiana.
Designed to operate in both coastal and deep-ocean environments, Indiana has a broad and unique range of capabilities, including 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.
USS Indiana is the sixth of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce acquisition costs. Indiana features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes each capable of launching six Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles (LACM), among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.
Indiana has special features to support SOF, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. Also, in Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. Through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain at the cutting edge for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.