U.S. Navy to Christen Newest Virginia-Class Submarine Future USS Montana

The U.S. Navy will christen one of its newest Virginia-class fast attack submarines, the future USS Montana (SSN 794), on Sept. 12.

The christening will be done during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony held at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division’s facility in Newport News, Virginia.

The principal speaker of the christening ceremony will be Under Secretary of the Navy (Acting) Gregory J. Slavonic. Ms. Sally Jewell, former Secretary of the United States Department of Interior (DOI), will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow and state, “in the name of the United States I christen thee.”

“The future USS Montana will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom,” said Slavonic. “She stands as proof of what teamwork – from civilian to contractor to military – can accomplish. I am confident USS Montana and her crew will ensure our Navy remains safe and strong to proudly serve our nation’s interest for decades to come.”

SSN 794, which was formally named USS Montana on Sept. 2, 2015, honors the Treasure State. She will be the second commissioned warship bearing the name. The first USS Montana (ACR-13), an armored cruiser, was also built at Newport News Shipbuilding and commissioned July 1908. She served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, landed Marines during unrest in Haiti in 1914 and escorted convoys during World War I. She was decommissioned in 1921.

The future USS 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 NNS. Montana’s ship’s motto is “Do or Die, Big Sky”. She will have a complement of 135 officers and crew.

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. A contract modification for three Virginia-class submarines – the future USS Oregon (SSN-793), future USS Montana (SSN-794), and future USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-795) – was initially awarded to GDEB for $594.7 million in April 2012. On December 23, 2014, they were awarded an additional $121.8 million contract modification to buy long lead-time material for the three Virginia-class submarines.

Construction of future USS Montana began in April/May 2015 at NNS. The keel for the boat was laid on May 16, 2018 and 4,000 NNS shipbuilders are supporting her construction. The boat is expected to be delivered in late 2020.

Construction of future USS Montana (SSN-794) nears completion in the Modular Outfitting Facility, January 2020. Photo Credit: Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII).

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 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.

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