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U.S. Navy Christening Newest SSN John Warner

The U.S. Navy is christening its newest Virginia-class attack submarine John Warner (SSN 785), during a 6:30 p.m. EDT ceremony at Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Virginia, on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, according to a DOD release.

Former Senator John Warner will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Senator Warner’s wife Jeanne will serve as ship’s sponsor and break a bottle of sparkling wine against a plate welded to the hull to officially christen the ship John Warner.

USS John Warner, designated SSN 785, will honor the five-term United States Senator from Virginia who also served as secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974.

“The christening of the future USS John Warner is not only a celebration of a dedicated sailor, Marine and public servant, but also of what has been accomplished in building this powerful warship – of the hard work of the thousands of shipyard workers, engineers, and defense craftsmen who contributed, and of what the future holds for the USS John Warner and the crew who sail aboard her,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

USS John Warner, designated SSN 785, will honor the five-term United States Senator from Virginia who also served as secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974.

John Warner crest

The official crest of the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John Warner (SSN 785). U.S. Navy photo illustration by Jim Sikora

The Virginia-class attack submarines replace the Los Angeles class attack submarines, and are planned to provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the 21st century, including improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that enable them to carry out multiple missions.

The John Warner will be able to attack targets ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles as well as 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 operations forces delivery and support; and mine delivery and minefield mapping.

Virginia-class submarines weigh 7,800 tons and are 377 feet in length, have a 34-foot beam, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. They are designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

The ceremony will be broadcast live via live webcast at www.navy.mil.