Naval Warfare

US Navy to Christen Virginia-class Attack Submarine USS Idaho (SSN 799)

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US Navy to Christen Virginia-class Attack Submarine USS Idaho (SSN 799)

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US Navy to Christen Virginia-class Attack Submarine USS Idaho (SSN 799)
US Navy to Christen Virginia-class Attack Submarine USS Idaho (SSN 799)

The U.S. Navy will christen its newest Virginia-class attack submarine, the future USS Idaho (SSN 799), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony March 16, at General Dynamics Electric Boat, in Groton, Connecticut. The Honorable Nickolas H. Guertin, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) for Research, Development, and Acquisition (RDA), will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Senior representatives from the Navy, the shipbuilders, Congress, and the state of Idaho are also expected to speak. In a twist on the time-honored Navy tradition of breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow, the Submarine’s Sponsor, Ms. Teresa Stackley, will christen the boat with water she has collected from several lakes in Idaho. Stackley is the daughter of a Navy Sailor and is the spouse of the Honorable Sean Stackley, a former Naval officer who served as ASN (RDA) from 2008 to 2017.

The submarine, which began construction in 2017, will be the 26th Virginia-class fast attack submarine and the fifth U.S. Navy ship to be christened with the name Idaho. The last ship named Idaho was battleship BB 42, commissioned in 1919. Though landlocked, the state of Idaho prides itself in its rich Naval history and continuing contributions to the fleet. The Navy’s Acoustic Research Detachment on Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho’s largest and deepest body of water, is a state-of-the-art facility that supports research, development, testing, and evaluation of submarine acoustic stealth technology and propulsor design. Lake Pend Oreille is a critical body of water to the U.S. Submarine Force.

Ships sponsor Terry Stackley christens the pre-commissioning unit (PCU) Idaho (SSN 799) during a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard facility in Groton, Conn., March 16, 2024.
Ships sponsor Terry Stackley christens the pre-commissioning unit (PCU) Idaho (SSN 799) during a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard facility in Groton, Conn., March 16, 2024.(U.S. Navy photo by John Narewski)

The Virginia class, or the SSN-774 class, is the latest class of nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines in service with the United States Navy. Designed by General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Virginia class incorporates the latest in stealth, intelligence gathering, and weapons systems. Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations forces support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority well into the 21st century.

Virginia-class submarines are scheduled to replace older Los Angeles-class submarines, many of which have already been decommissioned. Virginia-class submarines will be acquired through 2043, and are expected to remain in service until at least 2060, with later submarines expected to operate into the 2070s. On 14 March 2023, the trilateral Australian-British-American security pact known as AUKUS announced that the Royal Australian Navy would purchase three Virginia-class submarines as a stopgap measure between the retirement of their conventionally powered Collins-class submarines and the acquisition of the future SSN-AUKUS class submarines. If the SSN-AUKUS fell behind schedule, Australia would have the option of purchasing two additional Virginia-class submarines.

Spectators gather to observe a christening of the pre-commissioning unit (PCU) Idaho (SSN 799) during a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard facility in Groton, Conn., March 16, 2024
Spectators gather to observe a christening of the pre-commissioning unit (PCU) Idaho (SSN 799) during a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard facility in Groton, Conn., March 16, 2024. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Karsten)

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