The US Navy has officially commissioned the USS Vermont (SSN 792) the 19th Virginia Class fast-attack submarine to join the fleet as the production pace continues to gather tempo.
Although the traditional public commissioning ceremony was cancelled due to public health restrictions on large public gatherings, the Navy commissioned USS Vermont administratively and transitioned the boat to normal operations.
Meanwhile, the Navy is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the ship’s sponsor, crew and commissioning committee.
Vice Admiral Daryl Caudle, Commander, Submarine Forces, said Vermont’s entry to service marks a new phase of American undersea warfare dominance for a global Submarine Force that is ready to deter, defend and defeat threats to our nation, allies and rules-based international order.
“This warship carries on a proud Vermont legacy in naval warfare and unyielding determination stretching back to the birth of our nation,” VADM Caudle said.
“To her crew, congratulations on completing the arduous readiness training to enter sea trials and prepare this ship for battle. I am proud to serve with each of you! Stand ready to defend our nation wherever we are threatened – honouring your motto – FREEDOM AND UNITY.”
Vermont's commanding officer, Commander Charles Phillips III, highlighted Vermont's accomplishments over the past several weeks getting through initial sea trials.
The hard work and dedication of the entire team the past few years was evident in the successful execution of at-sea testing, he said.
“We recognise just how important the submarine force is during this era of great power competition. As part of the nation's maritime asymmetric advantage over our competitors, we are ready to perform whatever duty is most needed,” CMDR Phillips said.
CMDR Phillips added he is especially thankful to the crew and their families, ship sponsor Valdez, and the USS Vermont Commissioning Committee, led by Debra Martin, for all their hard work and support of the crew.
USS Vermont is the third US Navy vessel to bear the name of the Green Mountain State. The first Vermont was one of nine 74-gun warships authorised by Congress in 1816.
The second Vermont, Battleship No. 20, was commissioned in 1907 and first deployed in December that year as part of the “Great White Fleet”. She was decommissioned on 30 June 1920.
Vermont 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; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.
The submarine is 114.9 metres long, has a 10.3-metre beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 243 metres and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.
The boat's construction began in May 2014, and it will provide the Navy the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea superiority well into the 21st century.
Vermont is the first the first of 10 Virginia Class Block IV submarines.
Block IV submarines incorporate design changes to reduce total ownership cost, as well as allow the Navy to increase the time between maintenance stops and the number of deployments.