Governor expects
new sub at Pearl

But the Pentagon says
it's too early to predict
USS Hawaii's home

WASHINGTON » Gov. Linda Lingle says she believes one of the Navy's newest Virginia-class subs, the $2.6 billion USS Hawaii, will be home-ported at Pearl Harbor.

Lingle flew to a Rhode Island shipyard last August to participate in a keel-laying ceremony for the third ship in the Virginia class of nuclear attack submarines. She also carved her initials on a metal plate that will be part of the 377-foot submarine.

Lingle made the comments in delivering a 17-page defense of the strategic value of the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission on Monday.

Lingle noted: "There are 17 Los Angeles-class attack submarines and 12 cruisers, destroyers, and frigates home-ported at the Naval Station, adjacent to the shipyard.

"Additionally, the new Virginia-class submarine, USS Hawaii, will likely be home-ported at Naval Station Pearl Harbor."

But Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Brackenbury, Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said this week "it's way too early in the process," noting that it will not be until after 2007 when a port selection will be made. "We are expecting the sub to be completed in 2007," she said, "then it will go on a year-long shakedown cruise."

Still, Rear Adm. John Donnelly, deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, earlier this year also predicted the possibility that the Navy's newest nuclear-powered sub, with the capability to operate in shallow waters, could be berthed here. He predicted that two more Los Angeles-class nuclear attack subs could be sent to Pearl Harbor.

That would tip the balance of the Navy's sub fleet, which is split nearly evenly between West and East coasts.

Some Navy officials say they don't expect the number of subs at Pearl to go beyond the current level of 17. That could mean that one of Pearl Harbor's subs, which includes USS Honolulu, could be assigned to Guam, which has three nuclear subs. Apra Harbor is now the home of USS San Francisco, USS Corpus Christi and USS Houston.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, in discussing the military value of Pearl Harbor during base closure deliberations last week, said he has been told that Guam's contingent will grow to four.

Davis, who is stationed at the Pearl Harbor sub base, said he didn't know of any plans to increase the number of subs at Guam.

Assessing the threats in Asia and other areas in the Pacific, Inouye said in an interview that the United States has to be prepared "in order to maintain our status and be able to deter others from taking foolish steps."

"The one military system -- weapon system that we have -- that is becoming essentially necessary is stealth. Whether it is aircraft or ships is stealth ... the best stealth system we have today is the submarine."

The Virginia class was developed after the Navy re-examined its sub program following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The subs are designed to be a cheaper alternative to the Seawolf class and work both in the deep ocean and in shallow waters as a special weapons platform.

Its improvements include improved sensors mounted on its bow, hull and sail, as well as towed sensors, which will allow it to detect large objects such as quiet diesel electric submarines, and smaller objects, including mines.

The Hawaii will not have a traditional periscope. Two photonics masts mounted on the exterior will provide digital images, including color and infrared, directly onto screens in the command station.

Mrs. Joseph Rider Farrington christened USS Hawaii at the launching Nov. 3, 1945, at the New York Shipbuilding Corp. yards in Camden, N.J.

Second USS Hawaii
under construction

The submarine will be the second ship in the U.S. Navy to be named USS Hawaii.

The first USS Hawaii, the third Alaska-class cruiser, similar to a battle cruiser, was launched Nov. 3, 1945, and was sponsored by Mrs. Joseph R. Farrington, wife of the delegate from the territory of Hawaii, but never commissioned.

It was one of the projected class of six ships, of which only two were completed, that were designed to cope with the large German pocket battleships and Japanese armored cruisers.

But the reduction in defense expenditures after World War II suspended construction of the Hawaii. When work was suspended in September 1947, the Hawaii was 84 percent completed.

At one time there were plans to convert Hawaii to the Navy's first guided-missile ship. But in 1959, the Hawaii was sold for scrap.

USS Hawaii

Length: 377 feet
Displacement: 7,800 tons
Maximum diving depth: Greater than 800 feet
Speed: 25-plus knots
Cost: About $2.6 billion
Crew: 134 officers and enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles, Mark 48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes, advanced mobile mines, and unmanned undersea vehicles.

Virginia-class submarines

USS Virginia (SSN-774), commissioned and in service
USS Texas (SSN-775), under sea trials; delivery in
USS Hawaii (SSN-776), under construction; delivery in 2007
USS North Carolina (SSN-777), named December 11, 2000; delivery in 2006
USS New Hampshire (SSN-778), has been ordered for delivery in 2010
USS New Mexico (SSN-779), has been ordered for delivery in 2010

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