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Five Things to Know About USS Illinois (SSN 786)

The Virginia-class attack submarine USS Illinois (SSN 786) was commissioned during a ceremony at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, Oct. 29, 2016, which you can watch here.

Here are five things that you should know about the U.S. Navy’s newest fast attack submarine:

1. Namesake: USS Illinois is named after the 21st state added to the Union.

USS Illinois (BB 7) is anchored off New York City, 1905. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
USS Illinois (BB 7) is anchored off New York City, 1905. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The submarine is the first Navy vessel named for the state since the battleship Illinois (BB 7) was commissioned in 1901. The first USS Illinois was a battleship and was part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet that circumnavigated the world in 1907, introducing America as a global power.

2. Sponsor:

First Lady of the United States and Illinois native, Michelle Obama is the ship’s sponsor and was in attendance for the commissioning.

The previous submarine sponsored by a first lady was USS Texas (SSN 775), which is sponsored by Laura Bush and commissioned Sept. 9, 2006.

The ship sponsor for USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), a Sea-Wolf class submarine, is former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Feb. 19, 2005.

3. Size and endurance:

SSN-786 is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged while displacing approximately 7,800 tons submerged. It will operate for more than 30 years without ever refueling.

GROTON, CT (Aug. 1, 2016) The future USS Illinois (SSN 786) conducts sea trials. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat/Released)
GROTON, Conn. (Aug. 1, 2016) The future USS Illinois (SSN 786) conducts sea trials. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat/Released)

4. Capability:

Illinois is the third Block III submarine of the Virginia-class.

GROTON, Conn. (Oct. 27, 2016) Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN 786) raise the flags during the rehearsal for the upcoming commissioning ceremony of USS Illinois, the Navy's newest submarine on Oct 29. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Darryl I. Wood/Released)
GROTON, Conn. (Oct. 27, 2016) Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN 786) raise the flags during the rehearsal for the upcoming commissioning ceremony of USS Illinois, the Navy’s newest submarine on Oct 29. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Darryl I. Wood/Released)

The Virginia class has been improved to enhance littoral operations. The class has special features to support Special Operation Forces, including a reconfigurable torpedo room that can accommodate a large number of Special Operation Forces and all of their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. The class also has a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. Traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. The Block III submarines have replaced the 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two 87-inch Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. The VPTs simplify construction, reduce acquisition costs and provide for more payload flexibility than the smaller VLS tubes due to their added volume.

5. Missions:

SSN-786 is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.

 

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2016) An informational graphic describing the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Illinois (SSN 786). The boat will be commissioned Oct. 29 in Groton, Conn. (U.S. Navy graphic illustration by Petty Officer 2nd Class George M. Bell/Released)
WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2016) An informational graphic describing the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Illinois (SSN 786). The boat will be commissioned Oct. 29 in Groton, Conn. (U.S. Navy graphic illustration by Petty Officer 2nd Class George M. Bell/Released)

Welcome SSN-786 and its Sailors to the fleet by leaving a comment below.

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