Huntington Ingalls Industries christened pre-commissioning unit New Jersey (SSN 796) at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. Susan DiMarco, who is a New Jersey resident, retired dentist and wife of former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, serves as the ship’s sponsor and performed the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the submarine’s bow during the ceremony. The ceremony took place outside of Newport News Shipbuilding’s Module Outfitting Facility and was attended by more than 1,800 guests, including Newport News Shipbuilding employees who are building New Jersey, members of the submarine’s crew, Navy personnel and other government officials, including Jeh Johnson.
New Jersey (SSN-796), a nuclear powered Virginia-class Block IV attack submarine, will be the third U.S. Navy vessel named for the state of New Jersey. The Virginia class, also known as the SSN-774 class, is a class of nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines, in service in the United States Navy. The main improvement of the Block IV over the Block III is the reduction of major maintenance periods from four to three, increasing each boat’s total lifetime deployments by one. Designed by General Dynamics’s Electric Boat (EB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Virginia-class is the United States Navy’s latest submarine model, which incorporates the latest in stealth, intelligence gathering, and weapons systems technology. Virginia-class submarines are designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions, including anti-submarine warfare and intelligence gathering operations.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, of Virginia, and U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, of New Jersey, both delivered remarks. Other speakers included New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy; Jay Stefany, acting assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition; Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe Jr., director of the Navy’s strategic systems programs; and Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat. Ceremony participants included U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, of Virginia; Capt. Andrew P. Johnson, commanding officer of Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Newport News; and Cmdr. Carlos Otero, the ship’s prospective commanding officer. Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former chief of naval operations, provided the keynote address.
The company reached the pressure hull complete milestone in February, meaning that all of the ship’s hull sections were joined to form a single, watertight unit. This was one of the last major milestones before the christening, and is floated off to a pierside berth for additional outfitting and testing at a future date. New Jersey is the 23rd Virginia-class submarine and the 11th to be delivered by Newport News Shipbuilding. It is first submarine designed with a modification for gender integration. Construction began in March 2016 and is 82% complete. The submarine is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in late 2022. Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder.