Pearl Harbor lands new sub
Pearl Harbor apparently will get Texas before it gets Hawaii.
The Virginia Newport News reported today that the Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine -- USS Texas -- will be commissioned Sept. 9 in Galveston, Texas, and is likely to be stationed at Pearl Harbor.
And there is still the possibility that the USS Hawaii, the Navy's newest $2.6 billion Virginia class sub, also will be homeported here.
There was no immediate official confirmation on the homeporting of the Texas or the Hawaii, but Navy officials here privately say the possibility exists that both Virginia-class submarines could make Pearl Harbor their home.
On Saturday, the 377-foot USS Hawaii was christened in Connecticut with Gov. Linda Lingle breaking a bottle of champagne over its bow. The Hawaii won't be turned over to the Navy until next year.
Lingle and Rear Adm. John Donnelly, deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet, have said the sub, with the capability to operate in shallow water, could be berthed here.
Lt. John Gay, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, said that neither a homeport nor a commissioning date or place have been chosen for the Hawaii.
He also said that "no official decision" has been made on the homeport for the Texas -- one of six planned Virginia class submarines. However, he did say that there were discussions currently in Congress on where the Texas will be based.
The assignment of the Texas and the Hawaii and a Los Angeles class attack submarine, the USS Jacksonville, fit the pattern of the Pentagon's plans to shift the balance of the its sub fleet to the Pacific. The USS Jacksonville -- with a crew of 133 -- is supposed to report to Pearl Harbor in 2008, leaving its homeport of Norfolk, Va.
Of the Navy's fleet of 53 attack submarines, 25 are assigned to the Pacific fleet while 28 are in the Atlantic.
By 2010, the Navy wants 60 percent of its attack subs -- 31 -- in the Pacific and 21 assigned to the Atlantic Fleet.
At 377 feet the Texas is 17 feet longer than Los Angeles-class submarines. At 7,800 tons the Texas also is lighter than a 8,100-ton Los Angeles submarine.
The Virginia class subs are a new group of nuclear-powered attack boats being built jointly by Newport News and its partner, General Dynamics Electric Boat, in Groton, Conn.