GROTON, Conn. (WPRI) – The Navy’s newest submarine was christened Saturday morning in Groton.
The USS South Dakota, SSN-790, is the Navy’s newest Virginia-class attack submarine. Her keel was laid in April of last year at General Dynamics Electric Boat’s facility in North Kingstown.
Senator Jack Reed, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, attended the ceremony along with elected officials from South Dakota and Connecticut. Reed said in a news release that he helped secure $5 billion in funding for Virginia-class submarine construction in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
The South Dakota is the 17th submarine of her class to be commissioned, and will now begin sea trials to make sure she is ready to join the Navy’s fleet.
The Virginia-class submarines are replacing the aging Los Angeles-class submarines, the first of which entered service in 1976, at a cost of about $2.7 billion each. They are 377 feet long with a displacement of 7,700 tons and a crew of 135. The submarines are powered by a nuclear reactor and are capable of diving to at least 800 feet and reaching speeds of at least 25 knots while submerged. They carry a variety of missiles and torpedoes.