The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine, USS Indiana (SSN 789), during a ceremony at the Navy Port at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Port Canaveral, Florida on Sept. 29.
The principal speaker of the ceremony was U.S. Representative Jim Banks from Indiana. Diane Donald, wife of retired Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion from 2004 to 2012, served as the ship’s sponsor. She gave the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!” in a time-honored Navy tradition.
USS Indiana is the 16th Virginia-class fast attack submarine and the sixth Virginia-class Block III submarine. This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority well into the 21st century.
Indiana is a part 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.
The submarine, which began construction in 2012, will be the third U.S. Navy ship to be christened with the name Indiana. The first Indiana (BB 1), the lead ship of her class of battleship, served in the North Atlantic and later participated in the blockade of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The second Indiana (BB 58) was a South Dakota-class battleship that earned nine battle stars for her service in the Pacific Theater in World War II. The ship fought in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and participated in the invasions of Tarawa, Kwajalein, and Okinawa, and bombarded Saipan, the Palau Islands, the Philippines, and Iwo Jima. Indiana earned nine battle stars for service in World War II.
Indiana was constructed by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in partnership with the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics (GDEB) in Newport News, Virginia, with the initial contract 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).
Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; 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.