WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy will christen its newest attack submarine North Dakota, Nov. 2, during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony at a General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Conn.
Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander, Submarine Forces, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Katie Fowler, wife of retired Vice Adm. Jeff Fowler, will serve as the ship's sponsor, break a champagne bottle against a plate welded to the hull, and officially christen the ship North Dakota.
The North Dakota, designated SSN 784, honors the state's citizens and veterans as well as their military support from the Frontier Wars through the Cold War and the Global War on Terrorism. Seventeen North Dakotans have been awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in combat.
"The work of the more than a thousand shipyard craftsmen and engineers who built this boat has helped make the fleet stronger and our nation safer," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "Their dedication and expertise has the world's most advanced submarine on track to deliver in early 2014, giving the North Dakota the shortest construction span of any Virginia-class submarine to date."
The North Dakota is the second ship named in honor of North Dakota, and will be the 11th Virginia-class submarine when it is commissioned in 2014.
Next-generation attack submarines allow the Navy to maintain undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. They have improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.
The North Dakota will have 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; special forces delivery and support; and mine delivery and minefield mapping.
The Virginia-class is 7,800-tons, 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship - reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.
To view the ceremony via live webcast, please go to: www.navy.mil