The crew and officers stood topside yesterday during the commissioning ceremony of USS Hawaii, the Navy's newest fast-attack submarine, at the U.S. Submarine Base in Groton, Conn. The USS Hawaii officially became part of the Navy yesterday, the third Virginia-class fast-attack submarine to join the fleet. CLICK FOR LARGE
Nuclear sub USS Hawaii joins fleet
GROTON, Conn. » The USS Hawaii officially became part of the Navy yesterday, the third Virginia-class fast-attack submarine to join the fleet.
The commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Submarine Base included hula dancers and military and government officials wearing leis. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle gave the boat's officers and crew the command to "Man our ship and bring her to life."
The $2.5 billion boat is the third in a group of 10 Virginia-class subs being built jointly by General Dynamics' Electric Boat shipyard and the Northrop Grumman shipyard in Newport News, Va. The USS Virginia was commissioned in Norfolk, Va., in 2004, and the USS Texas was commissioned in Galveston, Texas, in 2006. Officials say the class could eventually have about 30 submarines.
The Virginia-class submarines are being built to be longer but lighter than the previous Seawolf-class boats.
The commissioning pennant of the USS Hawaii broke at the masthead yesterday, at which point the submarine became a Navy command in her own right and took her place alongside the other active ships in the fleet during a ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn. CLICK FOR LARGE
The 377-foot submarine has a displacement of 7,800 tons and can travel at speeds greater than 25 knots, or 28.8 miles per hour. It can reach depths greater than 800 feet and will carry a complement of 134 officers and crew members.
The Hawaii's crew will be able to launch Tomahawk land-attack missiles and Mark 48 torpedoes, and can also conduct covert surveillance. It will also be able to deliver mines and map minefields, deliver and support special forces crews and work with other craft for anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, Navy officials said.
"She is purpose-built for uncertain times," said Adm. Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The Hawaii will be based in Connecticut for two years before moving to Pearl Harbor as part of a plan by the Navy to base a majority of its nuclear-powered attack submarines in the Pacific Ocean by 2010.
The submarine is the second craft named after the islands. The Hawaii, a surface warship, was launched Nov. 3, 1945, but never commissioned.
The entry of the newest Hawaii to the fleet comes as the USS Honolulu, another nuclear-powered attack submarine, is being retired.