It is rare that something described as having an "immeasurable" impact in the military finishes construction early -- and under budget. But the USS Mississippi, which was commissioned over the weekend, can make this claim.
According to the Clarion Ledger, the vessel, which is a member of the Virginia Class submarines, is one of the "most sophisticated attack submarines in U.S. history." The USS Mississippi is the fifth of the nuclear subs that cost about about $2.6 billion each. It is reported that the USS Mississippi cost only $2 billion and took only 62 months to build. The Clarion Ledger reports many having proud words on the commissioning ceremony and the sub:
“That is a very emotional part of the event,” says Lauren Pitre, a 1995 graduate of West Point High School who serves as the Virginia class program office acquisition manager. “You then see the crew run on board. It definitely gives you chills.”
“The impact it brings to our fleet is immeasurable,” says Master Chief William Stoiber, chief of the USS Mississippi. “We’ve reduced the number of (active) submarines but not the total number of missions we’re required to perform. This submarine will take up a lot of the slack.”
Watch this Fox 10 report on the ceremony:
The commissioning took place on Saturday in Pascagoula, Miss. Here's the intended purpose of the subs according to the Navy's press release:
Virginia-class submarines are designed to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters, while conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; special operation forces; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower, and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
"The Submarine Force and the fleet have eagerly anticipated this day," Rear Adm. David Johnson, program executive officer for submarines, said in a statement. "USS Mississippi provides the Navy with unique and unparalleled capabilities and joins the fleet at a time when submarines are being called upon to perform vital national security tasking around the globe."
Naval Technology describes this class of subs as "multimission nuclear-powered [submarines] for deep ocean anti-submarine warfare and littoral (shallow water) operations." Here are some more specs on the subs from Naval Technology:
- Length: 377 feet
- Beam 34 feet
- Displacement: 7,300 tons dived
- Steering and diving control: four-button, two axis joystick
- Acoustics: Lower noise levels using anechoic coatings, isolated deck structures and upgraded propulsor design.
- Weaponry: 12 vertical missile launch tubes; 4 533mm torpedo tubes; capability to launch 16 Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missiles; capacity for 26 mk48 ADCAP mod 6 heavyweight torpedoes
- Countermeasures: AN/WLY-1 by Northrop Grumman; AN-BLQ-10 electronic support measures system (radar processing, threat warning) by Lockheed Martin
- Advanced sonar and navigation radar
- Boeing LMRS long-term mine reconnaissance system
See more photos of the USS Mississippi here.
[H/T Business Insider]