Groton, Connecticut - The Navy will commission its newest fast attack submarine, the future USS Colorado (SSN 788), during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, March 17, at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.
The principal speaker will be U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado. Annie Mabus, daughter of 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, will serve as the ship's sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
"USS Colorado is a true marvel of technology and innovation, and it shows the capability that our industrial partners bring to the fight," said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. "Today's world requires undersea platforms designed for dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions, and I am confident Colorado will proudly serve in defense of our nation's interests for decades to come."
The future Colorado, which began construction in 2012, is the 15th Virginia-class fast attack submarine and the fifth Virginia-class Block III submarine. Colorado will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned with a name honoring the state of Colorado. The first Colorado was a three-masted steam screw frigate that participated in the Union Navy's Gulf Blockading Squadron and fought in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher with then-Lt. George Dewey serving as her executive officer. In the early years of the 20th century, the second Colorado (ACR 7) was a Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser that escorted convoys of men and supplies to England during World War I. The third ship of her name, the lead ship of the Colorado class of battleships (BB 45), supported operations in the Pacific theater throughout World War II, surviving two kamikaze attacks and earning seven battle stars.
This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea superiority well into the 21st century. Block III Virginia-class submarines feature a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles.
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.