WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Wherever the USS Delaware goes after she is launched in 2018, a "piece of my heart will go with her," said Dr. Jill Biden, who will sponsor the Navy's newest Virginia-class fast-attack submarine.
The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS California is photographed during sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean, June 30, 2011. The Navy's newest submarine, USS Delaware, will be the same class as the California. U.S. Navy photo by Chris Oxley
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden and a native of Delaware, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the name of the nuclear-powered submarine during a ceremony at the Pentagon today.
"I am honored to sponsor the USS Delaware," Biden said. "One of the best parts of serving as second lady is the chance to meet so many members of our military. I am always inspired by their strength and resilience. No matter what challenges they face, our men and women in uniform serve with courage and distinction. They are the reason we have the best, most-powerful military in the world.
"It's our duty to make sure they have everything they need to stay safe and do their jobs," she continued. "They need the very best equipment and technology that we can provide them with and soon that will include the USS Delaware."
Delaware's Sen. Tom Carper and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn also attended the ceremony announcing the submarine's name.
Vice President Joe Biden also attended the ceremony and donned a blue ball cap bearing the name of the submarine.
This is the seventh U.S. Navy ship named Delaware, Mabus said. The last USS Delaware was a coal-burning dreadnought that was decommissioned in 1923. The newest Delaware is designed to handle traditional submarine missions -- finding and sinking enemy submarines and surface ships and launching missiles at targets on land, the secretary said.
"But, Delaware will have some non-traditional capabilities as well -- gathering intelligence and delivering Navy SEALs, undetected, to their missions," he added.
Construction of the USS Delaware will begin next year and will be shared by two shipyards -- Huntington Ingalls in Virginia and General Dynamics Electric Boat in Connecticut.
The submarine is designed to operate decades, Mabus said.
"There will be sailors who serve on Delaware who are not yet born," he added.
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