General Dynamics Electric Boat, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), announced today it held a keel laying for the Virginia-class submarine Tang (SSN 805) at its facility in Quonset Point. The keel laying is a ceremonial event in which the initials of the ship’s sponsor are welded onto a plate to be attached to the submarine. It marks a milestone in the construction of a ship. The submarine will be the third ship in the U.S. Navy to carry the name Tang. The first USS Tang was a Balao-class submarine, SS 306, credited as the most successful U.S. submarine of WWII, sinking the most tonnage of any U.S. submarine—33 enemy ships—on five war patrols over the course of just 14 months.
The ship’s sponsor, Mimi Donnelly, is the daughter-in-law, wife and mother of U.S. Navy submariners. She was accompanied at the ceremonies by her husband, retired Vice Admiral Jay Donnelly. Speaking to the audience of Navy personnel, invited guests and Electric Boat employees, Donnelly expressed her appreciation for the technical expertise and exacting standards required to construct a Navy submarine. The keynote address was delivered by Vice Admiral William Houston, Commander, Submarine Forces. In his remarks, to the shipbuilders he stressed the importance of their work. Donnelly joined Electric Boat welder Alison Fasulo of Warwick, R.I. to help weld her initials onto a steel plate, which will be permanently mounted in a place of honor on the completed vessel. At the completion of the weld, Donnelly authenticated her initials and declared the keel “true and fairly laid.”
“This ship represents our ongoing commitment to provide the Navy with the most capable and lethal submarines it needs to ensure our country’s freedom in an increasingly contested undersea arena. It takes a diverse team of talented and dedicated professionals to design, engineer and build these remarkable machines, and each one of us comes to work every day knowing the safety of our sailors depends on the work we do,” said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat.
“All of you have made direct contributions towards protecting our Nation. You have designed and built a fleet of Virginia-class submarines that are at the cutting edge of technology and craftsmanship. Because of you, our Nation’s Submariners stand ready to compete and win in all domains when called upon,” said Vice Admiral William Houston.
Tang is the 32nd submarine in the Virginia class designed for the full range of 21st-century mission requirements, including anti-submarine and surface ship warfare and special operations support. Tang will be equipped with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM). The VPM comprises four large-diameter, vertical payload tubes in a new hull section inserted into the existing Virginia-class submarine design. The tubes enable the submarine to deliver a variety of capabilities, including weapons, unmanned undersea vehicles, and other undersea payloads. General Dynamics Electric Boat is the prime contractor and lead design yard for the Virginia class and constructs the ships in a teaming arrangement with Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. General Dynamics Electric Boat designs, builds, repairs and modernizes nuclear submarines for the U.S. Navy. Headquartered in Groton, Connecticut, the company employs more than 21,000 people.