Tuesday, December 16, 2008

US Navy Christens 6th Virginia Class Submarine New Mexico

The Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) is commissioned in front of nearly 1,700 guests and crewmembers, December 13. Cindy Giambastiani, the ship's sponsor and wife of retired Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, christened the submarine during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Todd A. Schaffer.)

Focus on Defense:

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Dec. 16, 2008 -- The Navy's newest Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) was christened Dec. 13 during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va.

Cmdr. Mark Prokopius, the ship's first commanding officer, stood by with his crew of 120 officers and Sailors as Mrs. Cynthia "Cindy" Giambastiani, wife of former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff retired Adm. Edmund P. Giambastianii, the ship's sponsor, christened the sub, bringing them one step closer to bringing the Navy's next Virginia-class submarine to life.

"When I look at this amazing submarine, I can't help but think of … three words – duty, honor and country," said Giambastiani. "Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be."

Giambastiani was also present to help lay the keel during an authentication ceremony held April 12.

Among the more than 1,700 guests and employees of Northrop Grumman Shipyard in attendance were three members of the first USS New Mexico (BB 40), the lead ship of a new class of battleships commissioned May 20, 1918, near the end of World War I.

Designed to meet the Navy's requirements in a post-Cold War era, Virginia-class submarines use advanced technologies to increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth. The 377-foot long Virginia-class submarines are capable of submerged speeds of more than 25 knots and can stay submerged for up to three months at a time.
The Virginia-class submarine's improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, as well as special warfare enhancements, will enable it to meet the Navy's multimission requirements.

Northrop-Grumman Newport News and General Dynamics Electric Boat partnered in building the first 10 submarines of a class expected to reach 30. New Mexico, the sixth boat in the Virginia Class, is slated for commissioning in late 2009.

(Report by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Todd A. Schaffer.)

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