USS Indiana (SSN 789) Commissioning

The official crest of the Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Indiana (SSN 789). (U.S. Navy graphic/Released) The newest Virginia-class attack submarine, USS Indiana (SSN 789), will be commissioned at Port Canaveral, Florida, Sept. 29, 2018. It will be the 16th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet.

As the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, the submarine can operate in both littoral and deep ocean environments and presents combatant commanders with a broad and unique range of operational capabilities. Indiana is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of Special Operations Forces (SOF), strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine warfare.

Indiana is a part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce acquisition costs. Indiana features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs) each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

Indiana also has special features to support Special Forces, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of personnel and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. Also, in Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms, which are maneuvered by a video game controller. Through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain at the cutting edge for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.

SSN-789, which was built at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, will be 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, have a beam of 34 feet and operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the boat, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

Diane Kerr Donald, wife of retired Navy submariner Adm. Kirkland Donald, is the ship’s sponsor. Diane was a long serving member of the Submarine Force spouse organizations. She actively supported, organized and ran charity events and projects to raise funds for the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation and other organizations. In 2003, Diane served as President of Dolphin Scholarship Foundation and continued her passionate leadership of an organization dedicated to funding and awarding college scholarships for children of submariners. In following years, she continued as an advocate for Dolphin Scholarship Foundation and the Submarine Force at large, and as a strong supporter for the civilians and Sailors of Naval Reactors.

The submarine Indiana will be the fourth planned, and third commissioned U.S. Navy vessel to bear the Indiana name.

It is the first not designed as a heavy battleship. The first USS Indiana (BB 1) first served from 1895-1903, most notably […]

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