(Article appears courtesy of Naval Submarine Support Center, New London)
Gloria Valdez, ship sponsor and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, smashed a bottle of champagne from a Vermont vineyard against the Navy’s newest fast-attack submarine, Saturday, Oct. 20, christening it the Vermont as the vessel prepares to join the fleet.
Commander, Submarine Forces, Vice. Adm. Charles “Chas” Richard, thanked both the shipbuilders and crew of Vermont for working to make the Virginia-class submarine the greatest submarine in the world. He also noted the level of responsibility Cmdr. Henry Roenke had been tasked with in bringing the crew together in pursuit of “Freedom and Unity” and the excellent choice that had been made in naming Ms. Valdez as ship’s sponsor.
“Vermont will safely operate in harm’s way in the most challenging environments on Earth because the best shipbuilders on Earth built her,” said Richard.
Constructing what will possibly be the most advanced and technologically complex weapons system ever put to sea is a major undertaking spanning more than five years.
“However, this fantastic ship is nothing without this crew – and shipmates, we need you,” said Richard. “Combatant Commanders are constantly asking for more submarines, because there are extremely important missions to do; many of which only you can do.”
Fast-attack submarines like Vermont are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare – from open ocean anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, to projecting power ashore with Special Operation Forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
“It is the Navy’s responsibility to prevent challengers from using the sea to threaten the United States,” said Richard. “And the Submarine Force’s share of this responsibility continues to grow as threats designed to deny us the oceans proliferate. But you can get in, on scene unseen, and gain access otherwise denied to the greater Joint force. Congratulations team on being part of this tremendous challenge.”
Vermont will be the 19th Virginia-Class, nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine, but is the first Block IV of ten to be built under the $17.6 billion contract. The submarines are being built in a partnership between Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. Construction of Vermont began in April 2014.
Vermont is 377 feet long with a beam of 34 feet. Virginia-class fast attack submarines have a crew of approximately 132 made up of 15 officers and 117 enlisted Sailors.