It took five years and $2.6 billion to build, and on Saturday the Navy finally unveiled the long-awaited USS North Dakota.
"From the Arabian Sea to the Polar Ice cap, North Dakota will operate undetected in the harshest environments on the planet as her crew protects the freedom of the seas and the interests of the United States," Vice Adm. Michael Connor said during the submarine's official commissioning Saturday.
The crew disembarks after taking positions on board for the commissioning of the U.S. Navy attack submarine USS North Dakota (SSN 784) Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 (AP Photo/The Day, Sean D. Elliot)
The North Dakota measures 377 feet long and has a 37-foot beam and a 32-foot draft. It can plunge more than 800 feet underwater while carrying up to 134 sailors. The vessel has been approved for such missions as hunting other submarines, hunting surface ships, delivering special operation troops, strike and irregular warfare, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance collection and de-mining operations.
Combining the best of the best technology from its predecessor submarines, the North Dakota features a modern, horseshoe-shaped Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar array and a pair of Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes that can carry a total of 12 missiles.
Further, the USS North Dakota has a nuclear reactor which means it won't need to refuel until 2047.
The Navy said the new submarine vessel will dive into the deep blue by the end of this year.
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