The second Block IV Virginia Class submarine has entered service with the US Navy.
USS Oregon (SSN 793), the US Navy’s latest Virginia Class submarine, was commissioned into service during a ceremony on Saturday (28 May), held at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.
This is the third US Navy vessel to be named after the state of Oregon, and the first in over a century.
The ceremony was attended by Governor Kate Brown of Oregon; US Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut’s 2nd District; Tommy Ross, performing the duties of assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition; Admiral James Caldwell, director, naval nuclear propulsion program; and Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat.
“There is no doubt the importance this boat, named after the great state of Oregon, will play in the future of our nation’s security,” Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said.
“This crew is vital to our undersea mission, and I look forward to all of their successes.”
USS Oregon, which is the second Block IV Virginia Class submarine to enter service, is 115 metres long and has a 10-metre beam.
The vessel is capable of diving to depths greater than 240 metres and operating at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.
The nuclear-powered vessels are designed to perform anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and mine warfare missions.
The vessel has a crew of approximately 136 Navy personnel.
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Along with the United Kingdom’s Astute Class vessel, the Virginia Class platform is currently under consideration by the Commonwealth government’s Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins Class fleet.
The taskforce’s considerations are expected to include requirements for design, construction, maintenance, infrastructure, industry capacity, nuclear safety, environmental protection, crewing and training.
The Task Force will also advise on building timeframes, costs and supply needs.