Wednesday, December 10, 2008

US Navy to Christen Submarine New Mexico

In this file photo, welder and burner specialist Kim Kerins burns the initials of ship's sponsor Cindy Giambastiani into the keel of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine PCU New Mexico (SSN 779), April 12, 2008, as prospective commanding officer Cmdr. Robert Dain watches during the keel authentication ceremony at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard. The keel authentication ceremony is a major milestone for the shipyard, showing the near completion of the submarine. (Photo By Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Xander Gamble.)

Focus on Defense:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2008 -- The U.S. Navy will christen its newest attack submarine, New Mexico, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, during a 10 a.m. EST ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va. Rep. Heather A. Wilson Of New Mexico will deliver the ceremony's principal address.

Designated SSN 779, New Mexico is named in recognition of the people of the 'Land of Enchantment'. The submarine began construction under a unique teaming arrangement between Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat in 2004. The battleship New Mexico (BB-40) (1918-1946), the only other ship named after the 47th state, earned six battle stars for World War II service, which included providing shore bombardment support for landings in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and at Guam, Tinian, Saipan, the Philippines and Okinawa.

The sixth Virginia-class submarine, New Mexico is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; battle group support; and mine warfare missions . By doing so, New Mexico will directly enable five of the six Navy Maritime Strategy Core Capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

Cmdr. Mark A. Prokopius, a native of Seven Hills, Ohio, is the prospective commanding officer and will lead a crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel.

The 7,800-ton New Mexico is 377-feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths of greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.

Additional information about this class of submarine is available online at the U.S. Navy Attack Submarines - SSN fact file Web page.

(From a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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