The USS Illinois
Thousands of shipyard employees worked tirelessly from all over the nation to complete the newest member of the Navy’s fleet. It’s a 2.7 billion dollar submarine which was sponsored by First Lady, Michelle Obama. The submarine will be named the USS Illinois, SSN 786. It will be in active service after its commissioning ceremony in October 29th, 2016.
Michelle was asked by US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in 2012 to be the USS Illinois’ sponsor.
‘Naval tradition holds that a sponsor’s spirit and presence guide the ship and her crew throughout the life of the ship.
‘Illinois and her crew are blessed to have such a wonderful sponsor and I am grateful Mrs. Obama accepted my invitation to serve as sponsor for this submarine.’ Mabus said in a 2012 statement.
‘I’m always inspired by the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Navy, as well as the families who support them.
‘This submarine is a tribute to the strength, courage, and determination that our Navy families exhibit every day.’
Christened By The First Lady
Instead of the previous 12 small tubes used for launching missiles, the 13th member of the Virginia class, has a redesigned bow with 2 large tubes that will be used to launch Tomahawk missiles.
The Illinois was named after Michelle Obama’s home state. It was christened last year by the First Lady. Michelle Obama christened the sub with a customary bottle of champagne broken across the submarine’s hull. She has been invited back to “bring the ship to life”. This will take place at the commissioning ceremony in October.
Fifteen more Virginia-class submarines have been ordered. Ten of these are already under construction. The last of the 15 ars expected to be delivered in 2023. Construction on the Illinois began in March of 2011. The production of took place in Rhode Island and in Virginia. The pieces were then shipped to Groton. The sub was finally assembled at Electric Boat’s headquarters.