USS Colorado SSN-788
The newest Virginia-class attack submarine, USS Colorado (SSN 788), was commissioned at Naval Submarine Base New London, March 17, 2018. It is the 15th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet.
The Navy christened its newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine, the future USS Colorado (SSN 788), during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, 03 Decembe 2016 at General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. The Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. His daughter, Anne Mabus, served as the ship’s sponsor.
“The christening of the future USS Colorado is an example of our enduring partnership with our nation's shipbuilders, and this ceremony marks a milestone along the journey to add another submarine to our Navy fleet—a fleet that will reach more than 300 ships by 2019,” Mabus said. “Colorado and its crew will, for decades to come, carry the American spirit and the name of this great state around the world as a testament to the hard work and patriotism of those who built SSN 788 and the people who call Colorado home.”
Colorado (SSN 788) is the 15th Virginia-class fast attack submarine and the fifth Virginia-class Block III submarine. The ship began construction in 2015 and is scheduled to commission in 2017. This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea superiority well into the 21st century.
The submarine is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned with the name Colorado. The first Colorado was a three-masted steam screw frigate that participated in the Union Navy's Gulf Blockading Squadron and that 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.
Colorado has the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping; and special forces delivery and support.
Colorado is a part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce acquisition costs. Colorado features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs) each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.
Colorado also has special features to support Special Forces, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of personnel and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. Also, in Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms, which are maneuvered by a video game controller. Through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture, and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain at the cutting edge for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.
Virginia-class submarines, built under a unique teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News, are 7,800 tons and 377 feet in length, have a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. They are built with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship—reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.
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