The Navy commissioned the fast-attack submarine USS Oregon (SSN 793) in a traditional ceremony held Saturday, May 28, at Naval Submarine Base New London. The Memorial Day Weekend event for USS Oregon – the second of the Block IV Virginia-class subs – represented the first in-person submarine commissioning ceremony since the commissioning of the USS South Dakota (SSN 790) on Feb. 2, 2019. Because of restrictions on large gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 commissionings of USS Vermont (SSN 792) and USS Delaware (SSN 791) were completed administratively, with ceremonies held at later dates in 2021 and 2022 to celebrate the milestones retroactively.
SSN 793 is the third U.S. Navy ship launched to bear the name Oregon, but first in more than a century. The first, named after the Oregon Territory before Oregon became a state, was a brigantine in service from 1841-1845. The second was an Indiana-class battleship commissioned in 1896 and ultimately decommissioned for the final time in 1919. USS Oregon is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam and is able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots. The submarine Oregon was previously christened in a traditional ceremony at General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, on Oct. 5, 2019.
Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
Block IV Virginia-class submarines incorporate design changes focused on reduced total ownership cost. By making these smaller-scale design changes to increase the component-level lifecycle of the submarine, the Navy will increase the periodicity between depot maintenance availabilities and increase the number of deployments. Blocks I-III Virginia-class submarines are planned to undergo four depot maintenance availabilities and conduct 14 deployments. Block IV design changes are intended to reduce planned availabilities by one to three, and increase deployments to 15.