The U.S. Navy placed its 10th Virginia-class attack submarine in active service at a Sept. 7 commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va.
The stealthy, 7,800-ton, nuclear-powered USS Minnesota will carry a crew of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel. Navy officials said the multi-purpose, 377-foot-long vessel, which was built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries, will play a vital role in U.S. military operations.
“It will serve our nation for the next four decades, sailing the seven seas from the frigid Arctic and the polar ice cap to the tropical waters of the South Pacific -- on patrol, providing presence,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said.
“This ship, as with all its sister ships that go under the sea, can go anywhere in the world,” said Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations. “They dominate. We own the undersea domain.”
Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles and MK48 ADCAP torpedoes, Virginia-class subs perform anti-submarine, anti-ship and mine warfare; strike land targets; insert and recover special operations forces; and gather intelligence information. They cost about $2.7 billion apiece.
Besides the 10 that have been commissioned, eight more are under construction or under contract, and two more are included in the Navy’s fiscal 2014 budget request pending in Congress.
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