WASHINGTON (NNS) -- USS Virginia (SSN 774) returned to homeport at Submarine Base in New London, Conn., April 13, after completing the namesake class' first full six-month deployment.
Virginia spent most of her deployment in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Persian Gulf while making port calls in Rota, Spain; Souda Bay, Greece; Fujairah, United Arab Emirates; and Aksaz, Turkey.
"Virginia met the highest expectations during her first full-length deployment," said Capt. Michael Jabaley, Virginia-class program manager. "She left homeport, and spent 75 consecutive days at sea prior to her first port visit, executing important tasking for her deployed commanders. The fleet and support organizations, such as Submarine Squadron 4, Naval Submarine Support Facility New London, and Regional Support Group Groton, all worked very hard to ensure she was ready to go. With a deployed operational tempo of 85 percent — the highest of any boat in the Atlantic — it's clear the hard preparatory work paid off. The design of this class, the maintenance support structure, and the ability of the fleet to superbly operate it, have all been proven."
While Virginia's recently completed deployment is the class's first full-length patrol, Virginia and sister submarines, USS Hawaii (SSN 776) and USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), each completed shorter-duration missions prior to undergoing their Post-Shakedown Availabilities (PSAs).
"PSA is the last major repair and upgrade opportunity before a multi-year, multi-deployment period of the ship's life," said Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. William Hilarides. "With the pre-PSA deployments, and now Virginia's six-month patrol, the value of these ships is being fully realized by the combatant commanders."
Before the end of the year, two more Virginia-class submarines, Hawaii and USS Texas (SSN 775) will depart from their homeport of Pearl Harbor on their initial regular-length deployments. Additionally, the Navy will commission Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Missouri (SSN 780), July 31, marking the second time since 1996 the Navy has commissioned two submarines of the same class in the same year. USS New Mexico (SSN 779), the sixth ship of the class, was commissioned March 27, after delivering to the Navy four months ahead of the contracted delivery date. Other upcoming Virginia-class events include PCU California's (SSN 781) christening this fall, PCU Mississippi's (SSN 782) keel laying this summer, and PCU Minnesota's (SSN 783) keel laying this winter.
For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.