NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy's newest Virginia-Class submarine, Pre-Commissioning Unit California (SSN 781) built by Northrop Grumman and General Dynamic's Electric Boat, will be christened on Saturday, Nov. 6, during an 11 a.m. ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va.
The event, which is closed to the public, will be streamed live online: http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/Northrop_Grumman/101109/.
California, the seventh ship to bear the name of the "Golden State," honors the citizens of the state, the thousands of men and women from California who serve in today's Armed Forces, and the millions of Californian veterans and their families. As home to major Naval and Marine Corps installations, California's selection also reflects the tremendous support provided to the Navy and Marine Corps by countless communities across the Golden State.
Donna Willard, wife of Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, will serve as ship's sponsor. The Honorable Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment, will deliver the ceremony's keynote address. Pfannenstiel is a former chairman of the State of California Energy Commission.
Cmdr. Dana A. Nelson, a native of Clinton, Conn., will be the ship's commanding officer, leading a crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel. A 1992 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, Nelson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Construction on California began Feb. 15, 2006 with keel authentication occurring May 1, 2009. According to the shipbuilder, the submarine is approximately 90 percent complete. The majority of the construction work left is related to compartment completion, pier-side testing and exercising the ship's systems to prepare for sea trials, which are planned for Spring 2011.
The submarine's motto is Silentium Est Aureum, which is Latin for Silence Is Golden.
California is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Adept at operating in both the world's shallow littoral regions and deep waters, California will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
The 7,800-ton submarine California is being built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. At 377-feet long, California is slightly longer than a football field. She has a 34-foot beam, will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. California is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs and increasing underway time.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.