New attack submarine en route to its new home at Pearl Harbor


POSTED: Sunday, September 20, 2009

The 377-foot USS Texas—the second in the Virginia class of attack submarines—left the East Coast last week bound for its new home port at Pearl Harbor.

The Pacific Fleet's Submarine Force will not say exactly when the $2.7 billion Texas will join its sister ship the USS Hawaii, which arrived at Pearl Harbor on July 23 to kick off the state's 50th anniversary of statehood. The Navy cited its policy of not disclosing information on warship movements.

The 7,800-ton Texas is the fourth ship in the Navy to be named after the state. It left New London Naval Submarine Base at Groton, Conn., on Wednesday for Hawaii, a Pacific Fleet Submarine Force spokesman said.

Besides the Hawaii and the Texas, the Navy plans to station the Virginia-class USS North Carolina at Pearl Harbor. It was commissioned in May 2008.

During the ceremonies welcoming the USS Hawaii to Pearl Harbor, Rear Adm. Douglas McAneny, commander of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force, hinted that a fourth Virginia-class sub, the USS California, which has been under construction since 2006, might join the Pacific Fleet after it is delivered to the Navy in 2013.






        » Class: Virginia-class attack submarine

        » Sponsor: Laura Bush

        » Commissioned: Sept. 9, 2006

        » Motto: ”;Don't Mess with Texas”;

        » Displacement: 7,900 tons

        » Length: 377 feet

        » Speed: 29 mph

        » Complement: 134 officers and men

        » Armament: Tomahawk cruise missiles and MK-48 torpedoes

        Source: U.S. Navy

The contract to build the Texas was awarded to Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard in Virginia in 1998. Its keel was laid on 2002, and the sub was christened in 2004 by then-first lady Laura Bush in Galveston, Texas. It joined the Atlantic Fleet in 2006.

The sub and its crew of 134 sailors is led by Cmdr. Robert Roncska.

In July, Gov. Linda Lingle noted that home-porting just one Virginia-class submarine at Pearl Harbor meant an economic windfall of $17 million annually by keeping the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard busy.

The Navy has said that by the end of 2009, 31 of the U.S. Navy's 53 fast attack submarines will be in the Pacific, with 18 home-ported in Pearl Harbor, two more than currently assigned.

Sixteen Los Angeles-class submarines—the predecessor of the Virginia-class boats—are berthed at Pearl Harbor. Plans call for 20 Virginia-class submarines to be built to replace the aging Los Angeles-class subs, which were pressed into service three decades ago. Earlier this month the Navy announced that production problems will delay the commissioning of the New Mexico and Missouri attack submarines, also Virginia class, until next year.

The first ship of the class, USS Virginia, was delivered in 2004.