The U.S. Navy took delivery of PCU Mississippi (SSN 782) from General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) yesterday May 2, 2012 one year early to the submarine’s contract delivery date of April 30, 2013. PCU Mississippi took just more than 62 months to build, which set the record for the Virginia Class Submarine Program’s fastest delivery. Prior to delivery, Mississippi conducted Alpha and Bravo Sea Trials before successfully completing the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) Trials April 27. Mississippi will be commissioned June 2, in a ceremony in Pascagoula, Miss. The subsequent major Virginia-class milestone will be the PCU Minnesota (SSN 783) christening this fall.
GDEB delivered the submarine to the U.S. Navy 363 days ahead of contract schedule and more than $60 million below target cost. “Delivery came the most complete, combat-ready Virginia-class submarine yet delivered” said Rear Adm. David Johnson, Program Executive Officer for Submarines. Johnson said the Mississippi received the highest marks to date from the Navy’s independent assessor – the Board of Inspection and Survey. “As the demand signal for these multi-mission platforms increases, we are working to intelligently drive down schedule and put the world’s best submarines into the hands of the operators to execute missions of national importance.”
Johnson noted the Mississippi delivered almost three months faster than USS Missouri (SSN 780) – the last submarine delivered by GDEB. The submarine began construction in February 2007, and like all Virginia-class submarines, it is built under a unique teaming agreement between GDEB and Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) in Newport News, Va.
The submarine builder have also benefited from cost savings, said John Holmander, vice president and Virginia program manager for General Dynamics Electric Boat. “When compared with the lead ship of the Virginia Class, we have reduced our construction span time by two years, and implemented improvements that reduced construction labor hours by 30 percent” Holmander said. Electric Boat and its major subcontractor, Newport News Shipbuilding, have received contracts to build the first 18 submarines of a planned 30-ship Virginia Class under a unique teaming agreement. Mississippi is the ninth ship of the Virginia Class.
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.