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Keel Laying to Be Held in Rhode Island for New Submarine

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. -- The keel of the nation's 17th Virginia-class attack submarine named for South Dakota is being laid at the manufacturing plant for General Dynamics' Electric Boat.

The milestone is being marked Monday at a Rhode Island shipyard.

Deanie Dempsey is the ship's sponsor. She's the wife of retired U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In a Navy tradition, she is expected to write her initials on a metal plate, which will be made permanent by a welder and later mounted on the submarine.

The submarine doesn't have a traditional keel running the length of the ship. It's built in modules.

Senior naval officers and politicians are attending.

Groton, Connecticut-based Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia build attack submarines under a teaming agreement.

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