Newport News Shipbuilding Launches Submarine Montana

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Virginia-class submarine USS Montana christening ceremony
In this photo provided by Huntington Ingalls Industries, the ship's sponsor, former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, right, christens the Virginia-class submarine USS Montana, also known as SSN 794, as the ship's commanding officer Capt. Michael Delaney, left, and Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin, look on during its christening ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 in Newport News, Va. (Matt Hildreth/Huntington Ingalls Industries via AP)

Newport News Shipbuilding has launched the submarine Montana into the James River, a milestone in the years of work building the Navy’s next Virginia-class boat.

The launch last month means the Montana is now 92% complete — and watertight. It cleared the way for tugboats to nudge the submarine from the floating drydock to an outfitting pier.

At that pier, shipyard workers will make final tweaks and refinements to the Montana’s systems over the next several months of testing those systems and of certification of its crew.

Those refinements, testing and certifications are the final step in a process that started in 2015 and that will end with the Montana’s delivery to Navy later this year.

“For our shipbuilders, launching Montana signifies five years of hard work, commitment and dedicated service,” said Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction.

The 7,800-ton submarine is the 21st submarine of the Virginia class. The subs are built in an unusual teaming agreement between the Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat of Groton, Conn. The two yards each build pieces of the submarine, then take turns in final assembly and delivery to the Navy. Some 10,000 shipbuilders at Newport News and Electric Boat worked on the Montana.

Last year, the Navy assigned a larger share of the work on Virginia class submarines to Newport News, in an effort to the new Columbia-class ballistic submarine program on track. While Electric Boat is taking the lead on the Columbia program, Newport News last year won a $2.2 billion contract to build six module sections for each of the Navy’s first two Columbia-class submarines.

Virginia-class boats are nuclear-powered fast attack submarines that replace the Los Angeles class boats the shipyard and Electric Boat built between 1971 and 1996.

This article is written by Dave Ress from Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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