NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- The Navy celebrated the keel laying of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John Warner (SSN 785) at Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding (HII -NNS) in Newport News, Va., March 16.
The submarine is named for former five-term U.S. Senator from Virginia and Secretary of the Navy John Warner.
In a time-honored Navy tradition, the initials of Jeanne Warner, the submarine's sponsor, were welded onto a steel plate that will be permanently affixed to the submarine's hull. Mrs. Warner is a long-time supporter of military families and is active in many local Virginia-based charities. Making the ceremony unique, the submarine's namesake also had his initials welded onto the plate.
"The Navy and the submarine force are honored to have Mrs. Warner serve as the sponsor for the future USS John Warner," said Capt. David Goggins, Virginia-class program manager. "The event marks the first major construction milestone for the submarine and helps forge a special bond between Mrs. Warner, her submarine, and her crew that will last for years to come." John Warner's keel laying is the submarine's first major event since it began construction in March 2010. The submarine is on track to continue the Virginia-class program's trend of delivering submarines early to their contract delivery dates and meeting the incredibly stringent standards expected of U.S. submarines.
"John Warner's keel laying is a special day for our Navy, the Commonwealth of Virginia and our shipbuilding partners," said Rear Adm. David Johnson, Program Executive Officer for Submarines. "Building the Virginia class is a team effort and the skill and commitment of the entire shipbuilding team is evident in the first-time quality and operational successes of these front-line platforms."
John Warner is the 12th submarine of the Virginia class and the second of the block III construction contract. Virginia-class submarines are built under a unique construction contract between HII-NNS and General Dynamics Electric Boat.
Warner's keel laying is the first of several major shipbuilding milestones for the Virginia-class program in 2013. PCU Minnesota's (SSN 783) commissioning is scheduled for Sept. 7 and PCU North Dakota's (SSN 784) christening is expected this fall. PCU Delaware (SSN 791) will begin construction Sept. 2.
Virginia Class submarines are designed to dominate 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.