The Navy’s newest fast-attack submarine will be named for the nation’s first state.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Monday that SSN-791 – sponsored by Second Lady Jill Biden – will be the USS Delaware.
“The name Delaware has been prominent and honored throughout our great naval history, but it is a name that has been out of the fleet for too long,” Mabus said, noting that the last USS Delaware was a coal-burning, steam-powered battleship, decommissioned in 1923.
The Virginia-class sub will be built for traditional submarine warfare, such as attacks against other subs and surface targets, but also will have the ability to gather intelligence and deliver Navy SEALS to their missions undetected, Mabus said.
Biden, who was joined at the ceremony by her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, said she is honored to sponsor the submarine as a military mom. Beau Biden, the attorney general for the state of Delaware, is a major in the Delaware Army National Guard. The couple’s other son, Hunter, will be commissioned as a Navy ensign later this year. Biden’s father also served in the Navy.
Biden said she is always inspired by the strength and resilience of military families, and that she looks forward to meeting the sailors and families who will serve on the USS Delaware.
“Wherever the Delaware goes, all around the world, a little piece of my heart will go with her,” she said.
Many Americans don’t realize what sailors do, partly because “when the Navy is doing our job, we are most often a long, long way from home,” Mabus said.
“That’s why we name some of our ships for states and other places in America, as a reminder of home for those who serve, and a visible representation of America in every port around the globe,” he said.
Delaware does not build or host any Navy ships or aircraft, though many World War II warships were built in the state. Construction on the USS Delaware will begin next year, with a shared contract between Huntington Ingalls Industries in Virginia and General Dynamics’ Electric Boat in Connecticut, Mabus said. The sub is slated to begin service in 2018.