The Navy will christen the attack submarine, the future USS Delaware (SSN 791), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Newport News, Virginia.
The principal speaker will be United States Senator Tom Carper from Delaware. Dr. Jill Biden, former second lady of the United States, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow and state, “In the name of the United States, I christen thee.”
“Today’s christening marks an important milestone in the life of the future USS Delaware, moving the submarine from a mere hull number to a boat with a name and spirit,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “This submarine honors the contributions and support the state of Delaware has given to our military and will stand as a testament to the increased capabilities made possible through a true partnership between the Department of the Navy and our industry teammates.”
The future USS Delaware, designated SSN 791, is the seventh ship to bear the name of “The First State.” The first Delaware served in the American Revolution, the second in the Quasi War with France. The third was burned to prevent her from falling into the hands of the Confederate Navy. The fourth served blockading duties through the end of the Civil War. Little is known about the fifth, other than she was a screw steamer that began life with another name before being renamed Delaware on May 15, 1869. The sixth Delaware was a battleship commissioned Apr. 4, 1910, that served in the Atlantic and Caribbean. During World War I, she provided convoy escort and participated in allied naval exercises. She was decommissioned Nov. 10, 1923.
The future USS Delaware is the 18th Virginia-class attack submarine and the eighth and final Virginia-class Block III submarine. The ship’s construction began in September 2013 and will deliver in 2019. Delaware will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority well into the 21st century.
Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.